How 3 ASCs are handling COVID-19-related staffing challenges

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ASC Focus outlined how three ASCs are addressing staffing challenges in the wake of COVID-19-related shutdowns:

1. The Surgicenter of Kansas City (Mo.). Physicians are logging long hours as they work through higher-than-normal case volumes, but they're doing so with fewer staff; nonclinical employees are taking vacation time as normal. To address staffing challenges, SCKC has been able to share staff with seven sister ASCs in the Kansas City metro area.

2. St. Joseph (Mo.) Center for Outpatient Surgery. St. Joseph Center for Outpatient Surgery cut its pro re nata staff in April and May, when case volumes were halved. Because it doesn't have a majority hospital owner, the center qualified for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and was able to keep its full-time staff. All of the center's PRN workers were brought back in mid-June. One employee resigned to minimize risk to her family, but the center has since hired a financial specialist and a receptionist. The ASC has worked to foster a sense of safety by testing all patients for COVID-19 at its partner hospital and installing glass barriers in the reception area.

3. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic (Houston). During standstills in March and April, Kelsey-Seybold avoided furloughs by reassigning staff to other areas within the organization where they could assist with clinical or administrative duties. Once Texas' lockdown ended, the ASC gradually increased volumes. It is now maintaining 90 percent of normal volumes to prepare for the possibility that someone calls off; this would leave the center short-staffed if it were operating at full capacity. In the past two months, the ASC has hired five nurses from local hospitals. Five administrative positions were made remote.

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