Administrator to Know: Jim Stilley of Northwest Michigan Surgery Center

Jim Stilley (Northwest Michigan Surgery Center, Traverse City, Mich.). Mr. Stilley is the CEO of Northwest Michigan Surgery Center, a multi-specialty surgery center in Traverse City, Mich., that features GI, ophthalmology, orthopedics, general surgery and ENT among its 14 specialties. NMSC has six operating rooms and four procedure rooms. In 2009, 64 physicians, 28 anesthesia providers and 120 staff performed 16,259 procedures at the center.

Jim StilleyMr. Stilley has been with NMSC for 4.5 years. Prior to coming to the surgery center, he was an executive director with National Surgical Care and served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. He has also worked in the hospital setting. Mr. Stilley is currently serving his second term as the president of the Michigan Ambulatory Surgery Association. "The association is making great progress in Michigan getting out the positive message about ASCs. Michigan is a very tough state for healthcare with large numbers of Medicare and Medicaid patients, a weak state economy with extremely large unemployment numbers plus Certificate of Need and lawmaker term limits," he says.

Mr. Stilley enjoys the team that makes up NMSC. "It's a diverse group of 120 people," he says. "The staff understands that they are creating a culture, a place for physicians and their patients to come where they and their time are respected. High quality staff, efficient processes and excellent patient care are all a baseline expectation in this state-of-the-art surgical facility."

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 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." 

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