What's the ideal leadership model for ASCs?

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From physician-centered to laissez-faire leadership, eight ASC leaders spoke with Becker's ASC Review on the ideal leadership model for ASCs. 

Here are their answers:

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

Fred Simmons. CEO of Clearwater (Fla.) Cardiovascular Consultants: In my opinion, the best leadership model will be physician-led ASCs. As nonhospital groups — independent and private equity-backed — continue to grow, they will develop physician-led ASCs that will be very responsive to the market and generate returns for their owners while providing services in the most cost-effective and convenient environments as appropriate. Many of these new ASCs will be single-specialty ASCs that will focus on their specialty services with the volumes that will allow them to provide high-quality services at the lowest cost.

Karen Wood. Administrator of Advanced Pain Management Center and Cedar Hills Surgery Center (Portland, Ore.): I believe that there needs to be two tiers of leadership — a strong, experienced director of nursing and a strong, business-oriented administrator. They should be dedicated to the ASC, and their attention should not be divided by other related entities. I also believe there should be a strong medical director who actively participates in both policy and operational issues.

Sam J.W. Romeo, MD. General partner at Tower Health & Wellness Center (Turlock, Calif.): Physician-led, patient-centered — we must reverse the payer-led, investor-centered direction that all healthcare, including "procedural care" (hospitals and ASCs), has become. Solvency is important, but return on investment must be assessed after efficient, friendly, empathetic, patient-centered care has been achieved.  

Jose Rivera-Gonzalez. Administrator of TriCounty Heart Institute (The Villages, Fla.): Leadership models are contingent upon the vision and purpose being evident and defined. I believe the best leadership model for an ASC is laissez-faire leadership. It's highly controversial, but I am a firm believer in this leadership style. Any other type of leadership will not be able to evolve quickly and adapt.

Curtis Collins. COO of Palmetto Surgery Center (Columbia, S.C.): Our ASC consists of a chief operating officer and chief nursing officer reporting directly and independently to the five-member governing board. We have been doing this over the last year and a half, and it has enhanced the clinical and administrative relationships to a common mission regardless of position. The CNO and I share an office together so that we can collaborate throughout the day on opportunities for improvement.

Andrew Lovewell. Administrator of the Surgical Center at Columbia (Mo.) Orthopaedic Group: I think the ideal leadership model for an ASC can change from organization to organization. In my opinion, there are some fundamental necessities to ensure the success of any organization in regards to leadership. A good leader needs to be able to take a step back and make sure what they are doing is for the good of the organization, the employees and the patients. There are a few simple things that go a long way in leadership: communication, transparency, culture, trust, etc. — typical things you find in any good leadership book.

Shane Ricks, RN. Administrator of Millennium Surgery Center (Meridian, Idaho): Interdependent leadership. Interdependent leadership is about multiplying the power and resources of all four interrelated levels of leadership in an organization — self, people, team and organization — to achieve optimal energy and performance and accelerated business growth.

Gabriel Figueroa, CASC. Administrator of Manhattan Reproductive Surgery Center (New York City): I think it’s the same for the ASC as it is for any organization. A team must be aligned, starting with its core beliefs and values; it must share one common mission. I think what we try to do, and one of the core tenets of our philosophy, is to create a positive environment within the team. Leadership is something that must happen at every level. Fostering an environment where everyone on the team understands how they impact the success or failure of reaching the objective, whatever that may be, is essential to achieving it. Leaders must be willing to check their egos, be humble and listen to what the team has to say. This doesn’t mean decisions are made by committee, it means empowering your people to learn to have ownership of what they’re doing. You don’t get that by saying, "It’s my way or the highway." You get that by saying, "That’s an interesting perspective, I hadn’t thought of it like that." Lastly, you must do, not just talk. It’s great to say all the above, but without action, it’s meaningless. 

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