50 Great ASC Administrators to Know

Note: Administrators are listed in alphabetical order.

Margaret Acker (Blake Woods Medical Park Surgery Center, Jackson, Mich.)
Ms. Acker is CEO of Blake Woods Medical Park Surgery Center, a three-OR, multi-specialty center in Michigan. Blake Woods’s surgeons perform around 6,000 cases annually. Ms. Acker has been with Blake Woods since July 2000. Prior to coming to the ASC, she was a director at a home health agency and also worked as a floor nurse, a nursing supervisor and a clinical nurse manager in acute care.

Blake Woods has seen a lot of growth and success under Ms. Acker’s leadership. “We have done major work in improving our efficiencies through physician and staff initiatives and well as a significant remodel of the physical plant,” she says. “We moved to EMR 15 months ago and have automated our inventory, all the while keeping our patient satisfaction in the 95th percentile or better. It seems that there is always some project to complete to make the center better for patients, surgeons and staff.”

The role of an administrator is ever-changing and fairly demanding, according to Ms. Acker. “Doing the job right keeps me intellectually engaged all the time. This business is dynamic, and one must keep on top of all the new information and implement requirements as dictated. I am a business major turned nurse, so I get to marry the clinical and operational.”

Ross Alexander, MBA (Surgery Center of Fort Collins, Fort Collins, Colo.)
Mr. Alexander is administrator at The Surgery Center of Fort Collins, a multi-specialty ASC which is owned and managed by a group of surgeons, Poudre Valley Health System and Surgical Care Affiliates. SCFC originally was a HealthSouth facility prior to physicians buying the controlling interest in 2000. Mr. Alexander began at SCFC in 2003 as its business manager but was promoted to administrator one year later when his predecessor took a position with an ASC management company. He has previously worked for the Wyoming Department of Health and Poudre Valley Health. Mr. Alexander also served as a practice administrator for short period prior to joining SCFC.

Mr. Alexander has also worked alongside EVEIA HEALTH Consulting & Management to educate payors in SCFC’s market about the value of ASCs and to methodically update the center’s payor contracts. “By improving contracts, we have been able to create a win-win situation for SCFC and payors to move certain procedures from more costly inpatient venues to SCFC thus providing more cost effective high quality care at our center,” he says.

What Mr. Alexander enjoys most about being an administrator is the variety of the job. He says, “I like the diversity of challenges faced everyday and take pride knowing that I am involved in an industry that is part of the healthcare-cost solution.”

Amy Allard (Ramapo Valley Surgery Center, Ramsey, N.J.)
Ms. Allard is administrator of Ramapo Valley Surgery Center, which opened in fall 2005. Surgeons at RVSC perform around 4,500 cases annually. She has been with RVSC since early in its construction phase, which proved to be a huge opportunity for her. “This was a great experience, as one rarely has the opportunity to be involved in the genesis of a center, much less able to set things up in a way that you would want to have your clinical areas. The down side is that you have to live with your own mistakes. Thankfully, I did not make too many.”

Ms. Allard says she tries to instill a sense of ownership for her staff members and provides a supportive environment that allows staff members to perform admirably even when she is not at the center. For this reason, she has included all levels of staff in many of the center’s initiatives. “Our cost containment efforts involve all of the staff.  Our staff is invested in avoiding waste and maintaining our equipment and instruments as if they are there own. The staff is very involved in performance improvement initiatives which not only gets the job done but makes people more aware of their responsibilities, and the outcomes of their actions.”

Brent Ashby (Audubon Surgery Center, Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Mr. Ashby is the administrator of Audubon Surgery Center, Audubon ASC at St. Francis and Women’s Surgical Center, all located in Colorado Springs, Colo. Mr. Ashby has been with Audubon Surgery Center since it opened in June 2000, and he opened the two other ASCs in Sept. 2008. Previously, Mr. Ashby was the administrator of the Provo (Utah) Surgical Center for seven years. He also practiced law at a large firm in Phoenix.

Under Mr. Ashby’s leadership, the surgery centers have been able to undertake several initiatives that have led to their success. “We have a staff profit-sharing program that allows the employees to feel like owners when it comes to profit distributions. They have a greater sense of ownership with this program,” he says.

Mr. Ashby and the centers have also refused to contract with payors who are unwilling to offer reasonable payment rates, particularly for orthopedic procedures and implants.

Mr. Ashby’s favorite aspect of serving as an administrator is developing and maintaining a vision for the future in a market that is constantly on the move. “Because healthcare is ever-changing, I find it a challenging and stimulating endeavor to plan ahead to better position our facilities for success,” he says.

Lisa Austin, RN, CASC (Peak One Surgery Center, Frisco, Colo.)
Ms. Austin is the administrator for Peak One Surgery Center located in Frisco, Colo., and is vice president of operations, Western region for Pinnacle III and has opened a variety of surgery centers. Ms. Austin is also a board member of the Colorado Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and chairs the emergency preparedness committee for ASCs in Colorado. She is currently serving a term on MedAssets’ Surgery Center Advisory Board.  

Ms. Austin credits the center’s success to her staff. “We have a great, mature group of nurses who have been in the community for many years,” she says. In addition, the staff and physicians have no “class system,” according to Ms. Austin. “When everyone comes into work, they are focused on patient care. It’s a close-knit community.”

When it comes to working as an administrator, Ms. Austin enjoys the opportunities and challenges that changes such as preparing for accreditation or the new CMS Conditions for Coverage pose. “There is always a sense of panic, and then we plan how we can make it happen,” she says. “I love to be involved and learning from the staff. Not a day goes by where I don’t learn something.”

Timothy Beluscak II (Jacksonville Beach Surgery Center, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.)
Mr. Beluscak is the administrator of Jacksonville Beach Surgery Center, a four-OR, multi-specialty surgery center that opened in 2001. Jacksonville Beach is part of the Symbion Healthcare family of surgery centers. Mr. Beluscak originally worked for Jacksonville Beach from Jan. 2001-Oct. 2005, and returned in Aug. 2009 in his current role as administrator. He previously served as director of outpatient surgery and endoscopy at Shands Jacksonville (Fla.) Medical Center.

Mr. Beluscak enjoys the patients, employees and physicians at Jacksonville Beach, which make his job exceptional. Through their efforts, he has installed several programs to add to the success of the center including physician marketing, community education, LOP marketing and service delivery programs.

For Mr. Beluscak, seeing a product from start to finish is one of the aspects of his job that he enjoys most. He is also proud of the exceptional commitment Jacksonville Beach’s staff has to its community and its patients. He says that the center will continue to grow and plans on investigating and initiating outpatient services that were recently added to the approved list by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sandy Berreth, RN, MS, CASC (Brainerd Lakes Surgery Center, Baxter, Minn.)
Ms. Berreth is the administrator of Brainerd Lakes Surgery Center located in Baxter, Minn. She has been in ASC management for 10 years, but her career has spanned many facets of the healthcare industry. She worked for 12 years in the “open heart room,” and for 10 of those years in she was in a middle manager position. After earning another degree, she started an ASC for the hospital where she worked before earning yet another degree and arriving at her current position.

When it comes to managing her staff, Ms. Berreth says, “I’m obsessive-compulsive, and I expect my staff to feel the same passion I feel about the highest quality healthcare and customer service.” She notes that she has a list of accountabilities and competencies that her staff is held responsible to know and implement. “The best and smartest [people] will work their hardest if they know they are valued. They will be your resources for best initiatives that will lead to the best and safest care.”

She says that her favorite part of working as an administrator is having the “ability to change what needs to be changed.” As she explains, “It’s the Serenity Prayer in practice: Change what can be changed, accept what has to be accepted and have the wisdom to know the difference.”

Steven Blom, RN, MAHSM, CASC (Specialty Surgery Center, San Antonio, Texas)
Mr. Blom is the administrator at the Specialty Surgery Center, a multi-specialty surgery center that specializes in ENT, ophthalmology, podiatry and pain management. The center opened in 1998 and moved to a new location in Oct. 2005. Currently, the center performs around 9,400 procedures annually. Mr. Blom started his career as an ICU nurse and progressively moved up the management ladder. He spent most of his career in critical care and cardiac catheterization labs. He also serves as a board member for the Texas ASC Society and as a regional director for National Surgical Care.

Mr. Blom oversaw the construction of the center’s new facility in 2005. “It was a great opportunity to start from scratch,” he says. He also notes that the project was completed on time, cutting down on the amount of time the surgery center was closed. “We were shut down for a weekend,” he says. “We closed the doors on the old location on Friday and were back to work at the new location on Monday.”

One of Mr. Blom’s favorite aspects about being an administrator is the people he gets to works with on a daily basis. The Specialty Surgery Center has a very high staff retention rate, he says. “It seems like the only time we lose people are when they move out of state,” he says. Mr. Blom has also been able to recruit new physicians to the center. “We started at nine and currently have 23 physicians who use the center,” he says.

Bonnie Brady, RN (Specialty Surgical Center, Sparta, N.J.)
Ms. Brady is the administrator of Specialty Surgical Center, a multi-specialty, two-OR ASC that has been licensed by New Jersey and Medicare since 2008. She has served as administrator of SSC since May 2008. She previously served as a regional director of nursing serving three ASCs.

Adding technology has been one advancement Ms. Brady feels has contributed to SSC’s success since she came on board. She says, “I think the addition of practice management software has been a big jump into the future. We are adding the EHR feature by June of this year. Through the billing module in the system, I can observe day-to-day how the center is doing financially. We also feature online registration and satisfaction surveys for patients.”  

Ms. Brady has also established several community outreach programs at SSC, including as kids’ day, teddy bear clinics and open houses. Recently, the center also served as the Sussex County drop-off and collection center for the Haitian relief effort.

SSC’s staff is an important part of the center’s success, according to Ms. Brady. “I appreciate their energy and desire to be better at everything they do. Recently, I had an open house, and the best comment I heard was that our center was alive with excitement,” she says.

Ms. Brady loves her job because it allows her to watch the center grow, with the support of its “progressive board of directors and physicians on staff.” SSC has recently added new specialties, such as spine, and physicians and staff members like to stay on top of the newest procedures and equipment.

T. Taylor Burnett (The Plastic Surgical Center of Mississippi, Flowood, Miss.)
Ms. Burnett is CEO of The Plastic Surgical Center of Mississippi, a physician-owned surgery center that opened after the surgeons were “tired of long wait times and less than perfect outcomes in the hospitals where they were working,” according to Ms. Burnett. Surgeons perform around 12,000 cases annually. Ms. Burnett has been with The Plastic Surgical Center since it opened in August 2003. She started her career as a marketing major and later pursued a career in nursing and worked PRN in at her local hospital. Ms. Burnett worked her way up to outpatient surgery manager, and from there, to the director for surgical services. She gained her first ASC experience as the pre-op and PACU manager in an outpatient facility. Over time, she became director of nursing and then followed her surgeons to open their own facility.

Ms. Burnett says that each staff member is also given the ability to “make it right” with any patient. She says, “If there is an issue or problem, then they are to do whatever is within their power to fix it. Rarely, do these minor problems pass the first staff member, as they take ownership of fixing these problems. We are extremely proud of our staff.”

The quality and efficiency of the ASC setting are Ms. Burnett’s favorite parts of her role as administrator. “I love my job and love being able to effectively bring about change and have excellent patient outcomes. The cherry on top is satisfied staff and surgeons that are home with their families in time to help with homework or coach their child’s team,” she says.

Mary Ann Cooney, RN (Riverside Outpatient Surgery Center, Columbus, Ohio)
Ms. Cooney is the administrator of Riverside Outpatient Surgery Center in Columbus, Ohio, a multi-specialty facility with six ORs and one minor procedure room. ROSC performed over 6,150 cases in 2009. The specialties at the facility include general surgery, gynecology, hand and upper extremity, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management, plastic surgery and urology. The center has progressed from a small physician-owned center until it was acquired by Riverside Methodist Hospital. Currently, ROSC is joint venture between OhioHealth and the group of physicians. The facility is managed by Health Inventures.

Ms. Cooney began her career in nursing and gained valuable experience in the hospital setting prior to joining the surgery center in 1981 as the administrator. According to Ms. Cooney, the mission of ROSC is to deliver quality, individualized patient/family-centered care in a cost effective manner throughout the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative phases of the surgical intervention. Ms. Cooney embraces the overall philosophy at ROSC to provide a professional service commitment in partnership with patients, families, and other members of the healthcare team.

Rebecca Craig, RN, CASC (Harmony Surgery Center, Ft. Collins, Colo.)
Ms. Craig is CEO of Harmony Surgery Center, a multi-specialty ASC that performs around 900 cases monthly. She has been with the center since it opened nearly 10 years ago. She began her career as a registered nurse, working at a rural hospital in the OR, PACU, gastroenterology and pain management areas. She worked at Harmony as clinical director before moving into the CEO role in 2001. She also worked to open a second ASC, MCR Surgery Center, in Loveland Colo., which is a joint venture with Poudre Valley Health System.

A commitment to focused service and high quality care for patients and physicians is one of Ms. Craig’s favorite parts of working at Harmony. “We are very efficient and very good at the services we offer as evidenced by our quality outcomes and our patient and physician satisfaction rates of 96 percent. Because we are so efficient in our operations, I love the opportunity that ASC have to be a part of the healthcare solution. I feel the ASC industry will play a key role in healthcare reform. We are able to meet the need for quality, timely access and cost effective surgical and procedural care.”

Leading Harmony gives Ms. Craig the opportunity to work with a talented team of physicians and staff members. She says, “I feel the future is very bright for Harmony Surgery Center — we have very committed physicians, a great team of ASC-minded staff and a strong and healthy partnership with an amazing health system!”

Deborah Lee Crook (Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center, St. Charles, Ill.)
Ms. Crook is the administrator of Valley ASC, a seven-OR, multi-specialty surgery center that opened in 1987 as the first free-standing center in Illinois. The center also opened an attached post-surgical recovery care center in 1998. Ms. Crook has been with Valley ASC since 1993 as a pre-op nurse. She served as director of nursing at Valley’s post-surgical recovery care center before becoming administrator of both facilities in 2006. Ms. Crook began her career as a staff nurse, with experience in cardiac and ICU nursing.

New technology and continued education are two initiatives that Ms. Crook say have added to her center’s success. “We have been graced with a corporate partner that has these venues that I didn’t have access to before,” she says. New technology has allowed the center to streamline processes and increase efficiencies at the center.

Ms. Crook enjoys that she is part of a progressive group of physicians and staff members at Valley ASC. “Everybody provides quality care first and foremost and that never waivers,” she says. “I’ve been lucky to have a board of directors that believe that if quality is there, the rest will come natural and who are willing to take a chance on new ideas.”

When it comes to her role as administrator, Ms. Crook enjoys the daily challenges. “I’m never bored,” she says. “I’m constantly challenged and I learn something new all the time. Every day is a new chance for education.”

David Daniel (Lakeland Surgical + Diagnostic Center, Lakeland, Fla.)
Mr. Daniel is the CEO of LSDC, a large, independently-owned, freestanding, multi-specialty ASC that currently treats more than 19,000 patients annually, involving 32,500 procedures. Mr. Daniel is a retired Navy Captain, having served for 26 years in the Navy Medical Service Corps where he managed naval hospitals and clinics in a worldwide medical system. He has also served as administrator and COO of a large medical clinic and a physician group practice before coming to the LSDC. Mr. Daniel is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Association of Medical Assistants, as well as a diplomate in Healthcare Administration.

In his three years with LSCD, Mr. Daniel has reorganized its management structure and professionalized its non-physician staff. “I have established a new performance review and evaluation system, more efficient methods of patient care delivery and enhanced material management and plant services,” he says. “I also instituted management by goals and objectives and improved staff/physician communications and an employee recognition program.”

Mr. Daniel finds the large size and complexity of LSCD part of what makes his job interesting. “Its high quality, prominent position in the local healthcare community and excellent reputation make my job enjoyable. I work alongside an exceptionally professional and capable staff as colleagues and friends. It is very professionally fulfilling,” he says.

Joey Daugherty, RN (Total Pain Care, Meridian, Miss.)
Mr. Daugherty is the administrator of Total Pain Care, a single-specialty ASC that focuses on pain management procedures. The center is owned by Kenneth Staggs Jr., MD, and Eric Pearson, MD, and is managed by Practice Partners in Healthcare. Mr. Daugherty has worked at Total Pain since it opened in 2006 but started his career as registered nurse in the emergency room at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Miss. He also served as the department manger of the Pain Treatment Center at Rush before coming to Total Pain Care.

Creating flexible staffing models that enabled the center to use more part-time employees has helped Mr. Daugherty control costs at Total Pain Care. “In doing this we developed a plan where part-time and as-needed staff could earn some paid time-off hours. This has allowed us to staff the ASC primarily with part-time staff, therefore reducing cost while retaining experienced staff members,” he says.

Great physician ownership and dedicated staff members are what Mr. Daugherty enjoys most about his job. The expertise of the clinic’s two owners and staff members (some who have been with the physicians since they started their practice in 1995) allows the center to provide excellent pain management to patients in the area, according to Mr. Daugherty.

“Our facility also houses the private practice of our physicians. I serve as administrator of the practice and ASC,” he says. “I enjoy being able to help patients through the continuum of their pain care and provide the most cost effective and most convenient high quality care available.”

Eric Day, MBA, ATC, LAT (The Center for Special Surgery, San Antonio, Texas)
Mr. Day is the administrator at The Center for Special Surgery at the Texas Center for Athletes medical complex. He started his career as an athletic trainer in the Austin market for HealthSouth Corp. He made the transition into administration with the help and support of those he worked with and began to work with outpatient rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging centers. From there, he began working with orthopedists at ASCs and was able to learn about the different aspects of the business.

Mr. Day credits his “dedicated staff that provides great care to our patients” for its success. He notes that the center is always willing to try new things. “I have managers whom are very motivated and get the jobs done in a timely manner,” he says. “I have physicians whom are very supportive of the staff and the goals that we have set for the center. No day is exactly like the other at our center.”

Mr. Day loves his daily interaction with the people at the center and ensuring that patients leave the ASC happy with their experience. The Center for Special Surgery is doing well in a market that is “full of ASCs,” according to Mr. Day. “We are lucky that we are supported by the physicians in our building, and they keep the center going.”

Gregory P. DeConciliis, PA-C, CASC (Boston Out-Patient Surgical Suites, Waltham, Mass.)
Mr. DeConciliis is the administrator of Boston Out-Patient Surgical Suites. He is a licensed physician assistant and worked at New England Baptist prior to assuming the role of administrator at the center. He continues to remain on staff at the hospital and assists with surgical procedures at the center.

Mr. DeConciliis enjoys working with his staff. “We are very fortunate to have a nursing and technical staff that are not only intelligent and extremely proficient in their respective areas but also have an uncanny ability to make every single patient feel as if they are a family member. This has led to extremely high levels of patient satisfaction, with, on average, over 97 percent of patients rating their experience as ‘excellent’ and over 99.99 percent of patients rating their experience as at least ‘good,’” he says.

Mr. DeConciliis notes that no two days are the same at the center, a part of his job that he loves. “I find that every day I learn something new from someone or something but also hope that my close interaction with the staff and the surgeons help to keep them on track and add to their happiness in their jobs and also help to provide the best possible patient care that we all can as a team,” he says.

Vicki Edelman, RN (Blue Bell Surgery Center, Blue Bell, Pa.)
Ms. Edelman is the administrator of Blue Bell Surgery Center, a four-room, multi-specialty ASC that opened in Sept. 2008, and is managed by Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America. Ms. Edelman had been with Blue Bell since May 2008, during the construction phase of the center. She has been a nurse of 32 years, and her first management role was as assistant nurse manager at Philadelphia’s Albert Einstein Medical Center’s short procedure unit and admission discharge unit. Ms. Edelman has held other leadership roles at a community hospital in the short procedure unit, PACU and ambulatory care unit and at an endoscopy suite and center.

By adding mobile lab services and in-house pre-admission testing, Ms. Edelman says her center has been able support patient convenience and subsequent patient satisfaction, while allowing the center to retrieve proper preadmission information. She says, “Our clinical staff delivers exceptional quality care under the direction of our clinical manager. The facility overall has 99 percent patient satisfaction, functions efficiently and maintains significant cost savings measures.”

Ms. Edelman says her energetic, resourceful, dedicated staff is her favorite part about working at Blue Bell. “They are all part of my success, my challenges and the reason this center is a success. I am very proud of all their accomplishments and together we feel as if we have given birth to something very special,” she says.

Rose Eickelberger (Beacon Orthopaedics Surgery Center, Sharonville, Ohio)
Ms. Eickelberger is the director of surgical services at Summit Surgical Center and Beacon West Surgical Center, part of Beacon Orthopaedics. The first surgery center opened in May 2003, and surgeons at the centers perform orthopedic, pain management and spine procedures. A seconded center was added in 2006, and 12 surgeons currently practice at both centers. Each surgical center has two OR suites, procedure rooms and the capability of 23-hour stay.

Ms. Eickelberger began at Beacon in May 2006. Previously, she was the director of nursing at the Cincinnati (Ohio) Eye Institute for eight years after serving as assistant director for six years. She also has experience working in the intensive and coronary care units in a local hospital.

While at Beacon, Ms. Eickelberger has been involved in the development of the center’s spine program and the opening of the second surgical center. She has also worked on cross-training staff for better utilization across the centers. This cross-training has allowed staff members to work better as one group. She says, “One of my favorite things about the center is the teamwork that has developed among all the staff.”

Carolyn Evec, RN, CNOR (The Surgery Center at Beaufort, Beaufort, S.C.)
Ms. Evec is the administrator at The Surgery Center at Beaufort (S.C.). Prior to coming to the center, Ms. Evec opened a surgery center in Missouri and served as the nurse manager at that location for 2.5 years. She has 30 years of nursing experience and primarily worked in the OR. She has held various management positions including director of surgery, director of medical and surgical services, vice president of patient services and director of rural health clinics.

Ms. Evec has helped improve efficiency at her center in many ways. “With the help of the staff, we developed an ordering system for supplies that now involves all of the staff and eliminated a part-time staff position,” she says. “We now order supplies two days a week, and it takes only about an hour to complete the process.”

Ms. Evec says, “I love the privilege and challenge of being involved in all aspects of the operations of the center. Coming from a clinical background, I have really enjoyed learning and being responsible for the business side of operations as well. I enjoy the fact that every day is different and that I have the ability and support of the medical staff to affect change when needed.”

Alisa Fischer, CASC (St. Augustine Surgery Center, St. Augustine, Fla.)
Ms. Fischer is the administrator of St. Augustine Surgery Center. The center was formally owned by a hospital corporation and purchased in May 2006 by Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America. Ms. Fischer joined the center in July 2006 during what she calls “a very challenging start-up.” She says, “The center was still trying to get its Medicare number and billing [systems] arranged. In addition, our primary commercial payor sent our payments to the prior owner, and it took several months to retrieve and correct this.” Ms. Fischer also served as an administrator at HCA and BayCare Health System.

St. Augustine’s staff and its team attitude are Ms. Fischer’s favorite parts at the ASC. This attitude took three years of dedication from the staff, according to Ms. Fischer. She says, “Employees participate in QI meetings, preparing and presenting data from each of their responsibilities. In addition to this, with the building now looking pristine, we are proud to work here and show the work environment to others.”

Ms. Fischer says she loves her job. “It is the highlight of my career,” she says. “But I would have to say what I love most are the curve balls. I love dealing with the problems. It makes the job interesting and challenging. In any given day, there are several different types of problems. Prioritization is a must. If problems exist and are not taken care of, they escalate.”

Michael Gossman, BSBA, CASC (Cedar Lake Surgery Center, Biloxi, Miss.)
Mr. Gossman is the administrator at the Cedar Lake Surgery Center in Biloxi, Miss. Before coming to Cedar Lake in 2005, he served as administrator at Methodist Ambulatory Surgery Center in New Orleans, where he oversaw the start-up of the center, supervising construction, staffing, writing policies and establishing supply levels. He also established the Lake Forest Surgery Center in New Orleans.

In 2004, Mr. Gossman founded the Mississippi Ambulatory Surgery Association with a small group of supporters and served as its president from 2004-2008. “During that time, we managed to introduce a bill into the legislature regarding prompt payment of insurance claims,” he says. “While it did not pass, it allowed all of us to understand the process. We also successfully halted some major negative changes to workers’ compensation reimbursement for ASCs and are now able to sit with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Committee as they make their decisions which will affect us.” Currently, the association includes 18 centers and is a major sponsor in the Gulf States ASC Conference & Trade Show, now in its second year.

Mr. Gossman enjoys working with the “great group of professionals who are constantly striving to do their jobs better,” he says. “We get an unbelievable number of complimentary patient survey cards which we post for all to see. It’s very satisfying to have patients want to come to your center for surgery. My staff makes my day everyday.”

Judy Graham (Cypress Surgery Center, Wichita, Kan.)
Ms. Graham is administrator of Cypress Surgery Center, a free-standing, multi-specialty ASC that opened in Dec. 2000. In 2006, the physicians that founded Cypress entered into a joint venture with Symbion Healthcare. Ms. Graham has been with Cypress for 9.5 years, since construction began. She has a strong clinical background in the operating room and ambulatory surgery and previously served as an OR manager and a clinical director in ASCs before moving into the role of administrator.

Ms. Graham has faced many challenges, including developing a partnership between a privately owned center and a corporate partner. She says, “It was of the utmost importance for us to find a corporate partner that held the same high standards and to also accomplish a seamless transition for our physicians and employees — change always makes everyone nervous.”

When it comes to Cypress’ success, Ms. Graham says, “Our employees have always been the source of our success, and it has been such an honor and privilege to lead them the past 9.5 years. Cypress is very fortunate to have a great group of physicians who work well together and treat the staff with dignity and respect.”

Ms. Graham says, “I like being responsive to our patients, physicians and staff. I enjoy marketing Cypress because I believe strongly in all we have to offer our patients and physicians. I have always believed if we can get them in the Facility just once, we will usually always get them back.”

Amanda Gunthel (Wilton Surgery Center, Wilton, Conn.)
Ms. Gunthel is the administrator of Wilton Surgery Center. The center opened in Aug. 2005 and is currently in a partnership with National Surgical Care and Stamford Hospital. Ms. Gunthel has been with Wilton since its inception — from the CON process through opening. Before taking on the role of administrator, she worked for four years as director of practice management and development for the healthcare management firm that first opened the center. “Helping the center to grow and guiding it through the transitions of the past 4.5 years has been challenging, exciting and tremendously rewarding,” she says.

The staff at Wilton is Ms. Gunthel’s favorite part of working at her center. “Their tireless commitment to the delivery of superior healthcare amazes me every day. They are acutely focused and dedicated to each patient that comes through our doors,” she says. Ms. Gunthel says the center created several positions including specialty resource positions to involve staff members on a broad organizational level. Incentives and stipends are also offered to staff members who choose to participate in these programs.

Ms. Gunthel says that being an ASC administrator gives her the chance to be a part in something she truly believes in. “I am committed to the ASC as a vehicle for the delivery of outpatient surgical services; to see happy patients with successful outcomes, happy physicians and happy team members is a real thrill. In my opinion, a well-run ASC is a true ‘win-win,’” she says.

Bill Hazen (Surgery Center at Pelham, Greer, S.C.)
Mr. Hazen is the administrator of the Surgery Center at Pelham, a four-OR, two-procedure room, multispecialty center that is a joint venture between a hospital and local physicians. He helped open the center in Dec. 2004 and has been on-board since the inception, design and construction phases of the project. Prior to coming to the Surgery Center at Pelham, Mr. Hazen was director of special projects at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. He also opened and developed the Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Center and spent some time as a neuro-trauma ICU nurse.

Mr. Hazen has implemented many successful programs and policies at the Surgery Center. The center has a profit-sharing program for all employees. “We set five goals to be reached, profit-sharing is paid quarterly, and all employees receive equal pieces of the pie,” he says. Other initiatives have included involving employees in all decisions and live-case costing. He says, “We track to the penny from exactly how many 2x2s used during surgery to the D/C IV in post op.”

Of the many rewarding aspects of his job, Mr. Hazen says he appreciates being part of a team the most. “Everyone goes out of their way to help each other and the patients,” he says. He also finds teaching and mentoring the employees in their careers a fulfilling part of his role as administrator, he says.

Tracey Hood, RN (Ohio Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center and Mid Ohio Valley Medical Center, Belpre, Ohio)
Ms. Hood is the administrator of Ohio Valley ASC and Mid Ohio Valley Medical Center. Ohio Valley is a three-OR, multi-specialty center that opened in Jan. 2008. It is managed by ASCOA. Mid Ohio was purchased in Jan. 2010. Ms. Hood has been with Ohio Valley since Nov. 2007. She previously worked as an ASC charge nurse, OR circulating registered nurse, PACU nurse, certified emergency RN, cardiac catherization lab nurse and a critical care nurse.

While at her centers, Ms. Hood has concentrated on delivering the best patient care experience possible at her center. “We developed multiple patient satisfaction programs including patient ‘Thank You’ cards signed by staff to enhance the personalized experience of each patient,” she says.

This attention to care is also what Ms. Hood enjoys most about her center. “I like knowing that every patient we see at either center will receive the absolute best care due to our group of excellent physicians and staff,” she says.

Ms. Hood says that as an administrator she can make changes that help to separate Ohio Valley from other healthcare facilities in the area, and the center’s management company helps her in this role. She says, “As an ASCOA facility, administrators have access to a wide variety of support services.”

Georganna Howell, RNFA, CNOR, CEN, LNC (Greenspring Surgery Center, Baltimore)
Ms. Howell is administrator of Greenspring Surgery Center, part of OrthoMaryland, which opened in 2006. She joined Greenspring in June 2009. Ms. Howell was able to take control of this task as her background includes ASC consulting, administration in ambulatory care and hospital-based ORs, surgical trauma and emergency medicine management experience. She also has a clinical background with certifications as an RN first assistant, certified nurse operating room, certified emergency nurse and legal nurse consultant.
Ms. Howell takes prides in her staff’s ability to adapt and change to new policies and regulations that come its way. She says, “With the cooperation and expertise of the entire [team], we have embraced the challenges of implementing the additions and conditions of coverage presented by the CMS Infection Control Program. We are proud to report we have passed successfully the unannounced Federal CMS Infection Control Survey.”

Staff engagement is crucial to an ASC’s success, according to Ms. Howell, and she enjoys getting inspiration from her staff members. “The most rewarding moment for me as an administrator is that single pause — a slight hesitation, then tentatively, the staff member speaks softly and presents a profound new idea which is not singular but includes the entire team. For me, that is the pivotal moment which defines the successful model of management I embrace. Manage by example, be open to new ideas, listen carefully and maintain visibility,” she says.

Kelly Kapp, RN (Specialty Surgery Center, Westlake Village, Calif.)
Ms. Kapp is the administrator of Specialty Surgery Center, a 13,000 square-foot, multi-specialty, four-OR ASC. Ms. Kapp started working at SSC in July 2007, when the ASC was in its planning processes. She began a career in nursing as an OR nurse at L.A. County Hospital. She then was an assistant to orthopedic surgeons at Southern California Orthopedic Institute. Ms. Kapp has also served as orthopedic coordinator at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, Calif., for 13 years before accepting a director of nursing position at SSC.

Great surgeons and staff have aided in SSC’s and Ms. Kapp’s successes. “I have tried to build individual relationships with each [physician]. Every physician on staff here, whether they are a partner or not, I try to make them feel important because they are, and without them we cannot do our jobs,” she says. “Good communication is key with the physicians, patients and employees. At times, that is tough but very important if not the most important.”

Ms. Kapp’s favorite aspect to serving as administrator is the pride she gets from each of the center’s accomplishments. She says, “I get to create an environment that isn’t always perfect, but pretty close to it. There is a constant evolving of ideas and ways to do things, leading to perfection. This is obviously a never ending task. I feel there is always a way to do something better or more efficiently, and realistically will never be perfect but will be fun trying to get there.”

David Kelly, MBA, CASC (Samaritan North Surgery Center, Dayton, Ohio)
Mr. Kelly is the administrator of Samaritan North Surgery Center, a multi-specialty center with four ORs and two procedure rooms. SNSC performed over 5,300 cases in 2009.  The specialties at the facility include ENT, general surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, podiatry, GI, plastic surgery, gynecology and urology. SNSC is a joint venture between Good Samaritan Hospital and local physicians and is managed by Health Inventures.

Mr. Kelly joined the facility in late 2006 and has worked to provide the utmost in quality patient care, grow the business and assure cost-effectiveness in the provision of services. Co-workers say he is dedicated to all forms of customer satisfaction and leads the network in patient satisfaction ratings. He is well-respected by all shareholders for his efforts in these areas as well as his data-driven approach to the business. He works hard to integrate his expertise with the services provided by Premier Health Systems, which operates Good Samaritan, and adds value to the overall healthcare provided in the Dayton market.

Mr. Kelly has a background in finance, IT and operations, which he uses to elevate ambulatory surgery to a new level and to contribute to best practices within the Health Inventures network.

Sara McCallum (Sheboygan Surgery Center, Sheboygan, Wis.)
Ms. McCallum is administrative director of Sheboygan Surgery Center, a multi-specialty surgery, endoscopy and pain management center. The center opened in July 2008 and consists of three operating rooms, two procedure rooms and 17 pre- and post-op areas. Ms. McCallum has been with the ASC since February 2008.

Ms. McCallum has many years of experience in ASCs and has opened six surgery centers throughout her career. She worked at most of the centers in a variety of roles including executive director, director, risk manager and staff nurse. At Sheboygan Surgery Center, Ms. McCallum and her staff have implemented what she terms a “great” Performance Improvement Program, as well as a philosophy of “exceed the expectation.” With these programs in place, Ms. McCallum credits her excellent staff with making the ASC a great place to work. “One of the best parts of my job is empowering and mentoring my staff,” she says.

Ms. McCallum has a bright vision for Sheboygan Surgery Center. She says, “I expect our center to continue to grow, to be an example of how healthcare should be delivered and to be the best possible place for our patients to be cared for. I want it to become a place for physicians to work, be efficient and part of the team and a place where our staff can grow and love what they do every day.”

Neal Maerki, RN, CASC (Bend Surgery Center, Bend, Ore.)
Mr. Maerki is the administrator of Bend Surgery Center, a four-OR, three-procedure room, multi-specialty surgery center. He started his career with BSC in 1997 as a nurse, then nurse manager administrator. He previously worked as a telemetry floor manager and an ICU staff nurse before moving into ambulatory surgery.

The success of Bend Surgery Center can be attributed to a dedication to communications and rigorous tracking of financial benchmarks at the center. Mr. Maerki says, “We hold weekly administrative meetings with our board chairman, medical director and the administrative team. We utilize multiple dashboards to track financial variations. We utilize a weekly financial review to track cash, receivables and deposits.”

Bend Surgery Center has also been able to maintain and recruit key employees who have worked hard to provide quality care and create a positive reputation for the center in the community, according to Mr. Maerki. To honor this staff, Bend hosts several Employee Appreciation Weeks. He says, “Employee Appreciation Weeks recognize all our staff members with an administration carwash, massages all week, a lunch cookout in the parking lot, a hot cooked breakfast on Friday morning and a family picnic to close out the week.”

Overall, when it comes to his role as administrator, Mr. Maerki says, “I like the challenges associated with seeing the big picture and providing leadership for the staff and the physicians.”

Becky Mann (Houston Orthopedic Surgery Center, Warner Robins, Ga.)
Ms. Mann is the director of Houston Orthopedic Surgery Center, which specializes in orthopedics and spine. The 5,500 square-foot center has two operating rooms, and it opened in 2007. Ms. Mann came to Houston Orthopedic in May 2007 and was involved in the development of the center. She has worked in the medical industry for 37 years, working in surgery or in post-surgical care for her entire career. She came to the Warner Robins area in 2002, when she began working at the OR in the local hospital.

The great physicians and staff members at Houston Orthopedic are part of what Ms. Mann enjoys most about her center. “Each of [our physicians] has their own unique way making patients, family, team members and myself feel special and appreciated. [Our staff members] are dedicated to excellence in patient care, keeping cost down, staying current and working hard. Wonderful life-long friendships have been made here. They are the heart of the surgery center,” she says.

Ms. Mann says she enjoys the variety of working in administration. “I still have the opportunity to take care of patients in and out of the operating room. I am addicted to finding ways to cut costs, keep value and increase profits. Maintaining an inventory system has been a great learning experience. Staying current with CMS and AAAHC is a fun challenge and always educational,” she says.

Melody Mena (Spivey Station Surgery Center, Jonesboro, Ga.)
Ms. Mena is the administrator of Spivey Station Surgery Center and the managing director of surgical services for Southern Regional Health System. The center originally was opened 1998 by Georgia Baptist Health System. In 2000, the center became a joint venture between Southern Regional Health System and its physicians. The center has recently celebrated its first year in a new state-of-the-art facility. Ms. Mena has been the administrator at Spivey Station since 2005. She previously co-owned a company that offered first assistant services to physicians and another company that provided services related to turning around healthcare companies in distress. Ms. Mena has a clinical background in perioperative nursing.

One approach that Ms. Mena says has been valuable to her success as an administrator is to write four-year strategic plans for her businesses, including the surgery center. “We are in a major growth phase at this point in our strategic plan.” she says. “In a time when most surgery centers are down in volume due to the recession, we are seeing a significant increase in our business. The most important factor at this point is staying ahead of the curve and adjusting our business plan to accommodate changing times with healthcare reform.”

Ms. Mena says the favorite component of her ASC is the staff and physicians who “believe in being the best and make it happen everyday.” She also enjoys being an administrator because she is “able to implement a vision that raises the bar of the future of healthcare.”

Melodee Moncrief, RN, BSN, CASC (Big Creek Surgery Center, Middleburg Heights, Ohio)
Ms. Moncrief is the administrator for the Big Creek Surgery Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, a member of Foundation Surgery Affiliates. She has more than 15 years of experience in the ASC industry after previously serving as a nurse’s aid and an ICU nurse at a hospital.

For each of the 20 physicians working at the center, the staff tries to make each one feel as though they are the only surgeon at the center. “We try to make it our whole team approach. Not one person’s idea is any better or more important than another’s,” Ms. Moncrief says.

Ms. Moncrief and her staff also take this approach with patients. “We make each patient feel as though he or she is the only patient here,” she says. This has led to a positive patient response, especially when it comes to the pediatric cases at the center. “We have children who come into the center and are screaming, but by the time they leave they are smiling,” she says. “Many people ask how we do that, and it is due to our knowledgeable and friendly staff.”

Cindy Moyer (Surgery Center of Pottsville, Pottsville, Pa.)
Ms. Moyer is the administrator of the Surgery Center of Pottsville, a multi-specialty, two-OR center that is operated by the Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America. Ms. Moyer has been with the center since it opened in 2006. She previously ran an ENT and allergy practice for 21 years and prior to that worked with an internal medicine group.

Ms. Moyer has worked hard to keep staffing and supply costs under control. “Working with the staff to keep flexibility and making sure we do not have an over abundance of supplies on hand is a key essential to the success of our center. We also stride to have the best turn over times and to have the operational schedule run in a timely fashion,” she says.

Ms. Moyer says her staff’s commitment to patient care and satisfaction has added to the success of her center. She says, “I enjoy the diverse group of physicians and I am very blessed to have such an excellent medical staff, clinical staff and business staff providing the highest quality care, excellent customer service and affordable healthcare.”

Ms. Moyer enjoys taking part in the growth and success of her center. “It truly makes coming to work enjoyable and exciting as well as satisfying knowing that you are running an efficient business as well as providing excellent quality care to the community of Schuylkill County,” she says.

Thomas Mulhern (Limestone Surgery Center, Wilmington, Del.)
Mr. Mulhern is administrator of Limestone Surgery Center, which opened in 1987 as the first ASC in Delaware. Mr. Mulhern began his career with Limestone 23 years ago. For the past four years he has served as a member of Delaware’s certificate of need board.

One of Mr. Mulhern’s favorite aspects of his job as an administrator is the team of people he works with. “Our organization is built on the talent of our staff,” he says. “They are dedicated to providing excellent care while treating each patient as if they were family. It is always a pleasure to hear from a patient that we have ‘exceeded their expectations.’”  

Mr. Mulhern adds, “Not having a clinical background, I rely heavily on the input of our nurse manager and nurse supervisor. They do a great job and our collaborative approach to managing the ASC has worked very well.”

Limestone and Mr. Mulhern have worked hard to recruit new physicians to the center, especially as some of the surgeons who opened the center start to retire. “In 2003, our ASC was 15 years-old, and we recognized that the average age of our surgeons was increasing. We implemented a business plan to recruit young surgeons to become partners,” he says. “The effort has been a real success. It has infused fresh ideas and new procedures into our center, and we have decreased the average age to 49 years-old. Without this active recruitment, the average age of a partner would be 57 years-old today.”

Michael Pankey, RN, MBA (Ambulatory Surgery Center of Spartanburg, Spartanburg, S.C.)
Mr. Pankey is the administrator of the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Spartanburg, a joint venture with Spartanburg Regional Hospital. He served as administrator and clinical resources manager at different locations. His background is in nursing, and he worked in the operating room at several hospitals. He served for 10 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. Mr. Pankey is the immediate past-president of the South Carolina Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and he represents the Association on the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission Advisory Committee.

Mr. Pankey has seen his center through many successes. One achievement that he is particularly proud of is the addition of GI to his center in its second year. “We introduced propofol anesthesia to the specialty in our area,” he says. “This makes our patients more comfortable and our GI practitioners more efficient. This specialty now accounts for 30 percent of the business in the center.”

Mr. Pankey says running an efficient business and providing quality care to the community are his favorite aspects of his job. “My clinical director has told me that she can tell that I enjoy watching an efficient process,” he says. “I guess she is right. I love to watch the staff at Waffle House. They seem to have an ability to control confusion.  I guess looking at a busy surgery center must look a lot like that to an outsider.”

Theresa Palicki, MHA, MBA, CASC (Eastside Surgery Center, Columbus, Ohio)
Ms. Palicki is the administrator of Eastside Surgery Center, which is a joint venture between physicians and OhioHealth and managed by Health Inventures. She joined Eastside in Nov. 2005, but she has held positions in healthcare administration since starting her career.

Ms. Palicki says the best aspect of her center is that surgeons and staff “refuse to give up.” She says, “After 15 years, we have seen heavy competition with over 20 competing ASCs in the immediate area, and we have seen several ASCs fail because they don’t think two to three years down the road. Eastside has been through management company change, board leadership change, administrative change, management change, payor constraints, regulatory changes and significant specialty shifts.”

Part of this adaptability can be attributed to the culture at the center. According to Ms. Palicki, Eastside is notorious for having a wonderful sense of humor from the board to the staff. “We take patient care and sound financial decision-making seriously but still love to laugh and have fun in this stressful environment,” she says.

Ms. Palicki enjoys the autonomy her role as administrator affords her as well as the strong support she receives from her board, OhioHealth and Health Inventures. She says, “I have the complete support and respect by my Board of Managers. We disagree, we argue and we respect opinions and perspectives. There are no hurt feelings, just sound business judgment.”

Anne Roberts, RN (Surgery Center at Reno, Reno, Nev.)
Ms. Roberts is the administrator at the Surgery Center at Reno. The surgery center has a unique ownership model which consists of physician partners with a majority ownership, a hospital partner — Saint Mary’s Hospital in Reno — and a managing partner — Regent Surgical Health.

Ms. Roberts began her career as a nurse in the emergency department, spending 16 years as a staff nurse and 10 years as the manager of a busy ED seeing 55,000 patients annually. “The experience in the ED setting has provided me with the ability to multitask, manage multiple, often competing priorities while fostering the provision of patient care, managing a complex budget, mentoring of employees and continuous assessment of the services being provided,” she says.

Over the past few years, Ms. Roberts has overseen significant growth at her ASC. Recently, it obtained AAAHC accreditation and went through all of the process changes necessary to receive this recognition of patient safety excellence. In addition, the center has created a “progressive spine program, pain management program and excellent orthopedic service line,” she says. “We started an outpatient bariatric program shortly after we took over the facility. I am very proud of the excellent care we provide to our patients with a focus on exceeding the physician and patient’s expectations.”

Mary Ryan RN (Tri State Surgery Center, Dubuque, Iowa)
Ms. Ryan is the administrator of TSSC, a multi-specialty facility with three operating rooms and two procedure rooms. TSSC performed over 5,000 cases in 2009. The specialties at the facility include ENT, gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management, plastic surgery, podiatry and urology.  The evolution of the center began with its construction and opening in 1998 by Medical Associates Clinics and Health Plans along with Mercy Hospital. The center is currently managed by Health Inventures.

Ms. Ryan began her career in nursing in 1986 and joined TSSC in 1998 as Director of Nursing. She then became the administrator in 2001. Mary has also served in the capacity of regional director during her tenure with Health Inventures.

Ms. Ryan is a past AORN chapter president. In addition, she is a founding member and is currently serving her second term as president of the Iowa ASC Association. She is very involved with the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative Provider Advisory Council, is a consistent speaker at ASC Association conferences, and earned her MBA in Dec. 2008.

Marcy Sasso (Ambulatory Surgical Center of Union County, Union, N.J.)
Ms. Sasso is the director of operations at the Ambulatory Surgical Center of Union County in Union, N.J. She joined the ASC of Union County in May 2004. Prior to this position, she served in many roles at other surgery centers and at Saint Barnabas Hospital. She was also the financial and legal administrator for a multi physician practice and office manager for an outpatient physical therapy centers.

In addition to caring for patients, Ms. Sasso encourages staff members to give back to the community. Recently, Ms. Sasso spearheaded the New Jersey medical supply collection efforts for Haiti as well as collaborated with N.J. for Haiti, Inspire Haiti and the Red Cross to collect durable medical goods, medicine and all types of medical/surgical supplies. Ms. Sasso was nominated for the New Jersey Jefferson Award 2010 for outstanding public service and was also named Humanitarian of the Year by the New Jersey Salvation Army. She is now a member of N.J. for Haiti, Inspire Haiti and Aid for AIDS.

Ms. Sasso says through the efforts this year, her new motto has become “Belief in Relief.” “I also love making a difference in people’s lives, sharing and mentoring staff and striving to make everything to be great,” she says.

Tona Savoie, RN (Bayou Region Surgical Center, Thibodaux, La.)
Ms. Savoie is administrative director of Bayou Region Surgical Center, a multispecialty surgery center managed by ASD Management. She has been with Bayou Region since its start-up. Prior to becoming an administrator, Ms. Savoie worked as a circulator for three and a half years at a large hospital and one year as a circulator at an ASC, which converted to a hospital. She later became the OR coordinator at the same facility.

Finding the right staff and maintaining morale have been essential to Bayou Regional’s success. “Both groups are extremely important to the functionality of a center for obvious reasons, but I have found that the more information that is distributed, the better the work output. People like to know what they are working for and many times are more willing to do so if they know why,” Ms. Savoie says.

Ms. Savoie enjoys the relationships that have been formed among physicians, staff members and administration. She says, “You have to love what you do and most times who you do it with. I love my staff and surgeons and could not facilitate any amount of success without everyone’s participation. Success is never rooted from one person or one event and I feel our center is an exceptional example of teamwork at its best.”

Ms. Savoie says that being an administrator has allowed her to develop her researching and critical thinking skills. “I thrive on creating new processes which can help in any way — from physical actions to reports sent to surgeons. There is a great feeling of accomplishment when you create something that actually benefits people’s lives.”

Lynda Dowman Simon (St. John’s Clinic, Springfield, Mo.)
Ms. Simon is the administrator at St. John’s Clinic in Springfield, Mo. Prior to coming to St. John’s, she worked for 13 years at a local hospital in the open heart center and urology. She spent four years in a telephone triage room before making the move to the ASC industry.

Ms. Simon created the successful “Hiring for Fit” program in which she and her staff learned how to ask “negative” questions to potential hires. “It tells you a lot about the personalities of the people you are interviewing,” she says. “I want to see how someone can make a positive out of a negative. If they are able to take a challenge and give a nurturing answer, I know they will be good caregivers and are in touch with the needs of the patient.”

Ms. Simon says she truly enjoys her position as administrator. “There are so many facets I can get into and wrap my fingers around,” she says. “I get to do so much from helping incorporate changes in service to working shoulder-to-shoulder with nurses in recovery.” Ms. Simon encourages other RNs who feel like they have something to offer surgery centers to look into management. “There are so many ways to apply what you know and make a better environment for the staff,” she says.

Jim Stilley (Northwest Michigan Surgery Center, Traverse City, Mich.)
Mr. Stilley is the CEO of Northwest Michigan Surgery Center. Previously, he was an executive director with National Surgical Care and was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. He has also worked in the hospital setting. Mr. Stilley is serving his second term as the president of the Michigan Ambulatory Surgery Association.

Because of its size, NMSC has actively sought out a leadership role in addressing reticent behavior by federal and state agencies toward ASCs. “I spend quite a bit of my time reacting to payments from federal and state agencies that don’t cover the cost of the service,” Mr. Stilley says. “There is a built-in assumption by government that ASCs will be able to contract with commercial payors at a rate that will cover the governmental underpayments. This is becoming much harder to actually accomplish.”

This involvement in federal, state and local issues is what Mr. Stilley attributes to his MASA presidential nomination for the second year in a row. “It has simply amazed me that you can have high quality healthcare at a significantly reduced price with phenomenal access and still have detractors,” he says. “I take my hat off to our physicians and hospital partner that took the huge financial risk to create a place that did the right thing for our community, while saving our patients, Medicare and the State of Michigan significant amounts of money.”  

Stephanie Stinson, RN, BSN (Strictly Pediatrics Surgery Center, Austin, Texas)
Ms. Stinson is the administrative director of the Strictly Pediatrics Surgery Center. The pediatric-only ASC celebrates its three-year anniversary in April 2010. Ms. Stinson has been a nurse for 16 years and has served as a staff nurse in the neurology/surgical ICU, surgery and the recovery room.

One aspect of her center Ms. Stinson enjoys is that it “provides a safe fun place for children to come have surgery.” She says, “The staff here (our family) is very loving and caring. They have created an atmosphere and environment that is pleasant, fun, and interactive for the child and parents. We have many repeat customers, whether it is the same child or a sibling.”

Ms. Stinson loves the challenges that come with the job, and she says she learns something new every day in her position. She is even more thankful that the management company, ASD Management, helps her keep up with changes within the healthcare industry. She enjoys the administrative and clinical aspects of her job and says that multi-tasking keeps her busy as day-to-day operations are constantly changing. Handling these challenges enables Ms. Stinson to grow professionally and personally.

Ms. Stinson attributes the success of Strictly Pediatrics Surgery Center to an active, supportive group of physician investors that truly care about the center and its employees. She also says Strictly Pediatrics’ true success is bolstered by a caring staff that supports each other and works together as a tremendous team to ensure that each patient and family member has a great experience while under the center’s care.

Kimberly L. Tude Thuot, MAOM, CMPE (Yakima Ambulatory Surgical Center, Yakima, Wash.)
Ms. Tude Thuot is the administrator of YASC, a three-OR, physician-owned, multi-specialty ASC. She has been with YASC since Aug. 2009. She began her career as a nursing and dental assistant before moving into administration at dental practices. She also worked as a general manager for a dental brokerage firm and as manager of an orthopedic group and a sports medicine group. She has also held administrative roles for multi-specialty and pain management practices.

One of the challenges Ms. Tude Thuot faced when joining YASC was organizing a center that has been without an on-site administrator for a year. Since she came on-board, YASC has established a budget and a capital expenditures plan; updated all of its computer hardware, which was nearly 10 years old; updated its phone system; and purchased and started the implementation process of an EHR system. She adds, “We have restructured our staffing to be more efficient; we have hired a certified coder and with the implementation of [EHR] are moving our coding and billing back in house; we are preparing for some remodeling over the next several months; and we are currently preparing for our re-accreditation with AAAHC this summer.”

The team at YASC has helped Ms. Tude Thuot accomplish all of these tasks. She says, “They are truly a joy to work with and for.  It is rewarding to see them achieve success (learning the new software, etc.).  I am — like many other administrators — very driven and motivated to succeed. I thrive on handling projects and being a member of a well-respected organization.”

Dianne Wallace, RN, BSM, MBA (Menomonee Falls Ambulatory Surgery Center, Menomonee Falls, Wis.)
Ms. Wallace is the executive director and CEO of the MFASC, a joint venture between a local community hospital and two larger medical groups. Ms. Wallace has administrative experience in hospitals, home health, medical groups and ambulatory surgery. Prior to serving in administrative roles, she spent a number of years working as a registered nurse in hospital inpatient, outpatient, emergency room, home-health and long-term care settings. She served as past president of the Wisconsin Surgery Center Association and the MGMA ASCA executive committee.

While at MFASC, Ms. Wallace has overseen much of the growth at the center, including the creation of the GI center. “MFASC performed primarily surgical procedures,” she says. “About six years ago we opened our new GI center. We were able to double our case volume within a couple of years after adding this specialty. We have also added and expanded pain as a service.”

Ms. Wallace has also enacted a staff cross-training program that has proved very beneficial. “Staff cross-training has been successful at maximizing efficiencies and avoiding position cuts in this down economy,” she says. “We have successfully achieved three, three-year AAAHC accreditations in the past 10 years.”

Michelle Warren, RN, BBA (Powder River Surgery Center, Gillette, Wyo.)
Ms. Warren is the executive director of Powder River Surgery Center (PRSC), which opened in Dec. 2003. Ms. Warren began her career in healthcare as a surgical tech and soon pursued her nursing license and a bachelor’s in business administration. She spent many years as an operating room travelling nurse, working mostly in trauma, orthopedic, spine and open heart specialties. In 2002, Ms. Warren settled in Wyoming and helped to develop and open PRSC. She also works as a surveyor for AAAHC.

The center has received, on numerous occasions, zero deficiencies when surveyed by Medicare and AAAHC. “The surveyors for Medicare were surprised to find the physicians of PRSC were on the cutting edge of technology,” Ms. Warren says. “The physicians have also developed great pain control methods for post operative care.”

The team atmosphere and dedication of all staff members is what Ms. Warren enjoys most about working at PRSC. She also appreciates the opportunity to lead a great staff, oversee patient care and create efficiencies at the center. “The team player and caring attitude by all members, including the medical staff, is obvious when you enter our facility,” she says. “The common goal among our staff members is to serve our patients with the highest standard of care in a comfortable, safe and professional atmosphere. It is a corporative effort of our team to continue to achieve great success.”

Cindy Young, RN, CASC (Surgery Center of Farmington, Farmington, Mo.)
Ms. Young is the administrator of the Surgery Center of Farmington. She has been at the center since it opened, starting as a staff nurse and moving into the administrator position in 2002. Prior to coming to the center, she was a nurse at a rural hospital for five years and served for two years in the OR at the hospital.

“I absolutely love my job,” says Ms. Young. “I love ambulatory surgery. I found my niche.” She credits the success of her center and herself to the staff and physicians. “We work together as a family,” she says.

She also credits a part of her success to the support she receives from Woodrum/ASD, which manages the center. “If it wasn’t for them giving me the administrator opportunity and supporting me, I wouldn’t be where I’m at,” she says.

Becky Zigler-Otis (Ambulatory Surgical Center of Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wis.)
Ms. Zigler-Otis is the administrator of the ASC of Stevens Point, which opened in Aug. 2006. She  has been administrator since Jan. 2008. Before coming to ASC of Stevens Point, Ms. Zigler-Otis worked Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, Wis., where she held many positions over a 10-year period. She also worked for several hospitals including Bay Area Medical Center and Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Ms. Zigler-Otis has led ASC of Stevens Point’s transition to outsourcing the billing and collections process. “We continue to tweak the collections process on a regular basis, and my goal in this area is to be a ‘best practice’ facility with data driven results, such as A/R, and for smooth collections,” she says. Ms. Zigler-Otis has also overseen the center’s initiative to employ its own staff rather than to “lease” employees. She has also led the effort to “get the word out” about ASC at Stevens Point through open houses, radio campaigns and through the Portage County Business Council.

The staff at ASC of Stevens Point is Ms. Zigler-Otis’ favorite part of her job. “We have wonderful staff and physicians; everyone works well together, and there is lots of teamwork. You never hear ‘that is not my job.’”

Ms. Zigler-Otis enjoys the diversity being administrator allows. “Every day is different. I usually start off with a plan on what I want to accomplish for the day and once I arrive it takes a totally different turn,” she says. n

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