ASC leaders' top priorities 

Ten ASC leaders joined Becker's to discuss their top priorities through the end of the year. 

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

John Martin, MD. Gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.):

  1. Access, access, access! Demand is high for elective, semi-urgent and urgent cases, while staffing remains a challenge
  2. Maintaining patient satisfaction and quality of care in spite of high volume, high demand, access bottlenecks and staffing challenges
  3. Keeping staff and physician morale high through this period of record demand, pressures on access, lingering COVID absences and uncertainties, and staffing challenges
  4. Staff recruitment
  5. Staff retention

Pankaj Vashi, MD. Chief of Gastroenterology/Nutrition Department and Vice Chief of Staff at Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chicago: My priority for the rest of this year is to continue to make people aware of the importance of screening for colon cancer. Due to the pandemic, there has been a significant drop in the number of people getting screening colonoscopies done. The impact of this could be an increase in colon cancer's incidence over the next decade. The earlier age (45) for screening has also increased the need for more providers. Noninvasive screening tests like Cologuard and FIT tests should be considered in average risk patients.

Julie Billingsley. Director of Patient Care Services for Orthopedics & Neurosciences at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and Lake Ridge Ambulatory Surgery Center (Woodbridge, Va.): We will continue to evaluate vendor options for medications, materials and services in order to mitigate cost increases. Our team has done a remarkable job with staffing challenges, and we intend to adopt this new staffing matrix, reflecting the positive changes in culture and hiring practices. Keeping an eye on market growth opportunities for 2023, and planning for such, will also be a priority through the rest of this year.

Amber Mitchell, MD. Neurologist at Nuvance Health (Kingston, N.Y.): Be efficient with tasks and avoid procrastination. Time is the most precious commodity.

Christy Bray Ricks. Vice President of Provider Talent at Ardent Health (Nashville, Tenn.): To continue building and centralizing our provider talent team in order to best position us for future success. As a multi-state healthcare organization, my team is distributed across the country so I rely on structured and intentional touchpoints in order to address my team's needs as well as those of the communities we serve.

Clarence Foster, MD. Physician Advisor at St. Rose Dominican San Martin Hospital (Las Vegas): Right now we are battling three things: low hospital census, high seven-day readmission rates and finding ways to lower the cost of hospital care.

Alopi Patel, MD. Assistant Professor of the Department of Anesthesiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York City): My top priority through the end of the year is to grow my social media presence and brand called The Female Pain Docs. It is a platform I am passionate about as we focus on women's health based topics via social media and podcasting

John Woodward Jr., MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at Orthopaedic Physicians of Colorado (Englewood): Keep the volume up as the flu season is on the way.  Keep the staff working a full schedule. Work a little harder to make up for lost productivity over the last year. Improve the supply chain issues that have continued to plague health care.

Mark Mattar, MD. Director of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital's IBD Center (Washington, D.C.): My secret to success stems from the framework of transformational servant leadership. Leading in a successful GI practice in a health system as we come out of a pandemic brings its own special challenges. At the end of the day, we focus on the people. We prioritize patient care without compromising associate wellness. We work as a team to evaluate each of the provider's needs and how we can help them work toward our common mission. This isn't easy, but when you pay attention to the needs of the team and act on them, we all succeed.

Chris Blackburn, BSN. Administrator of South Kansas City SurgiCenter (Overland Park): Increase volume by retaining staff and recruiting surgeons

Mark Mineo. Director of the Millard Fillmore Surgery Center (Williamsville, N.Y.): My top priority is to get fully staffed throughout the ASC so we can start the new year with volume growth and continue to recruit new surgeons.

Omar Khokhar, MD. Gastroenterologist in Bloomington, Ill.: Facilitating access to colonoscopy screening remains a priority. Colorectal cancer screening rates nationwide are still short of our goal of 80 percent. Getting to that number requires a team effort: patient education and awareness, prompt primary care physician referrals, seamless scheduling and a great patient experience throughout the process. Medicine is undergoing a "Starbucks" moment — we need to improve our experience.

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