17 years as 'captain of the ship': What one administrator has learned so far

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Seventeen years as administrator of Boston Out-Patient Surgical Suites has given Greg DeConciliis, CASC, a deep understanding of the "art of communication" and handling outpatient migration.

Mr. DeConciliis, who is also the president of the Massachusetts Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, spoke with Becker's ASC Review on what he's learned in his 17 years as "captain of the ship."

Editor's note: This interview was edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Question: What's the most important thing for an administrator to know?

Greg DeConciliis: You're responsible for everything. In other words, you can delegate, you can have other employees that do certain tasks, but at the end of the day, you're responsible. This isn't a job for somebody who just sits in their office, doesn't like being involved in things and doesn't really know what's going on. When stuff hits the fan, you're to blame. It all comes down on you, because you're responsible for the facility.

Q: What's the biggest challenge you encounter in your day-to-day?

GD: Physician and employee management. In regards to physicians, you have to walk a fine line when communicating information appropriately so you don't over communicate— because then they don't pay attention to half the stuff you say. But you also want to make sure you get information out to them so they're aware of certain things. Communication is an art. You have to be good at it. 

I always say that the administrator should have some kind of a champion — somebody that can help disseminate information and determine if it's appropriate or not. I think the biggest challenge is employee retention and employee management. It's a very fragile group, especially the younger employees that come aboard. We've had a lot of generational diversity talks. People want to feel valued, and they have different ways they feel valued. 

Job satisfaction hinges on these things. That's also an art — to try and keep employees. You want to retain your employees, because you often find that when competing with the hospitals and hospital systems, they're paying a lot more than an ASC because they have deeper pockets. 

Q: What has been the biggest shift in the ASC industry in the past 17 years?

GD: Handling the constantly evolving surgical procedures and advancing surgical care in the sense that you're doing higher acuity procedures. You always have to be on the ball for that next procedure that everyone's doing. You want to stay ahead of the game.

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