10 Women Leaders to Know in the ASC Industry

Here are 10 women leaders to know in the ASC industry. Look for more women leaders to know in the Nov./Dec. issue of Becker’s ASC Review.

1. Bonnie Benkula, BSHA, IAC. Bonnie Benkula is administrator/CEO of River Oaks Surgical Center, a RMC MedStone Capital alliance, in Houston. Ms. Benkula has more than 15 years-combined experience in hospital and ambulatory surgery management. Her track record of success in both single and multi-site business operations gives her a strong foundation and insight to continually move her organization forward. Before joining MedStone Capital, Ms. Benkula earned recognition in one of the largest U.S. healthcare for-profit ambulatory surgery companies earning in the “top 5 percent in financial management” and cost-saving initiatives. Prior to this, she led a team supporting the financial management of 42 not-for-profit outpatient clinics and eight inpatient medical divisions that reduced processing days by 53 percent and maintained a data accuracy of 99 percent, setting new standards for the department and earning her and her team outstanding achievement.

2. Rebecca Dean, MA, FACMPE. Rebecca Dean currently serves as executive director of Sportsmedicine Fairbanks (Alaska) and as a healthcare executive consultant and owner of Management Solutions. Ms Dean has 20-plus years experience in senior healthcare management. Prior to her current management positions, she served as CEO for Alaska’s largest multi specialty clinic. Ms. Dean holds the distinction of being the first Alaskan to attain Fellow status from the American College of Medical Practice Executives in 1994. She currently serves as chair-elect for the American College of Medical Practice Executives and will move to chair of the ACMPE in October 2008. She is past president of the MGMA Ambulatory Surgery Management Society, past chair of the western section of MGMA and past president of Alaska MGMA. Ms. Dean currently serves on boards for national business industries and often works as a consultant for a national ASC development firm.

3. Barbara Draves, CASC. Barbara Draves is the administrator for The Surgery Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, and The Surgery Center Pearl in Cleveland. She has opened and run surgery centers for over 20 years and was a valued administrator and regional director for Medical Care International in the 1980s and 1990s. She was operations coordinator for three surgery centers from 1990-2002. Ms. Draves has held several senior positions including president/chairwoman of the Ohio Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers and is a board member for the ASC Associations’ Board of Ambulatory Surgery Certification. She is an asset to the ASC industry.

4. Barbara Ann Harmer. Barbara Ann Harmer is the senior consultant for Healthcare Consultants International, the for-profit subsidiary of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare. She is responsible for providing national and international consulting services for organizations seeking or maintaining compliance with national accreditation standards and other services such as office-based surgery development, assistance with policy and procedure formation, licensure and Medicare certification preparation. Ms. Harmer has worked in healthcare for more than 32 years and has been involved in ASC development since the late 1970s. Prior to joining Healthcare Consultants International, she was a director of surgical services for Florida Hospital in Orlando and East Pasco Medical Center in Zephyrhills, Fla.; and executive director of Surgical Services for Kennedy Health System in Cherry Hill, N.J. She has worked as administrative director, administrator and nursing director at surgery centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, Texas and Massachusetts. She is the provider chair for the Association of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses and is a consultant for the business resources group of Alcon Laboratories.

5. Sue Hayes. Sue Hayes is the CEO for Colorado Orthopaedic & Surgical Hospital, a new hospital in Denver. During this inaugural year, Ms. Hayes has been busy wearing multiple "hats" as project manager and hiring manager, and handling community relations and physician relations. She has led her team, her board and her facility from a shell to becoming a fully operational hospital in 10 months. Colorado Orthopaedic & Surgical Hospital is the latest project in a career spanning 20-plus years beginning as a program/case manager for the Triumph Over Pain Program at the Rehabilitation Hospital in Colorado Springs. In 1994, Ms. Hayes co-founded Pike Peak Pain Professionals where she served as president and CEO, guiding it through the initial stages to becoming a viable program. From there Ms Hayes served as the administrator for Dry Creek Surgery Center and then onto Rocky Mountain Surgery Center where, as CEO, she managed the construction, development and operations.

6. Milla Jones. Mille Jones serves as vice president of communications and government relations for United Surgical Partners International. Ms. Jones has 35 years of healthcare experience, most recently with Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. Her responsibilities include coordinating and managing state and federal advocacy efforts for USPI and its partners and the development of a communication plan that will tell the "USPI story" to the community and USPI employees. Over the last two years — in addition to her responsibilities at USPI — Ms. Jones developed and executed the successful inaugural ASC Charity Day; with the help of 20-plus conference attendees during the 2007 FASA annual meeting in New Orleans, sunflowers were planted outside a school in the 9th Ward. The 2008 ASC Association conference, held in her home state of Texas, gave her the opportunity to involve the industry in the military efforts at Fort Sam Houston. 40 conference attendees volunteered at the Fisher House, where the yard and flower beds were groomed and a Texas BBQ was served to wounded military men and women and their families.

7. Catherine Kowalski. Catherine Kowalski is the executive vice president and COO for Meridian Surgical Partners. Ms. Kowalski has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Ms. Kowalski is the former executive vice president of operations and co-founder of Surgical Alliance Corporation, a specialty surgical hospital company founded in 2001. Prior to Surgical Alliance, Ms. Kowalski served as a co-founder and vice president, operations and hospital/ancillary services of OrthoExcel, Inc., a hospital management company focused on contractual management of orthopedic hospital business lines. Ms. Kowalski has also served as vice president, operations of MedCenter Management Services, a healthcare management organization specializing in the development and management of Orthopedic Centers of Excellence.

8. Julie Lineberger, FACMPE. Julie Lineberger is the administrator of Idaho Urologic Institute and the Surgery Center of Idaho. Ms. Lineberger has focused on medical group practice administration, surgery center administration, consulting and construction project management. She has been responsible for the initial Medicare certification and AAAHC accreditation for an orthopedic surgery center, pain management center and urologic surgery center. She is a certified healthcare executive and a Fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Ms. Lineberger has been a member of the Medical Group Management Association since 1996 and has served on the honors selection committee, the leadership development committee and survey operations committee. She is the ACPME college forum representative for the Ambulatory Surgery Center Assembly and is a past-president for the Idaho Medical Group Management Association.

9. Debra Stinchcomb, RN, BSN, CASC. Debra Stinchcomb is the director of operations preparation and transition management for Health Inventures. She has 25 years of healthcare experience including development, clinical, administrative, operations and sales. The last 14 years have been focused exclusively in the ASC industry with a particular emphasis on multi-specialty centers. In that time, she has held positions as an ASC administrator, assistant regional vice president and regional vice president. Her responsibilities have included budget development and management, revenue and expense management, contract negotiation, licensing/certification/accreditation compliance, marketing, and risk management, quality improvement and benchmarking. Ms. Stinchcomb is a current board member of the Ambulatory Surgery Foundation, past chair of the Foundation of Ambulatory Surgery in America and past board member of FASA. She was an AAAHC surveyor from 2001 through 2007 and is currently a member of the ambulatory Joint Commission Professional and Technical Advisory Committee.

10. Dianne Wallace, RN, BSM, MBA. Dianne Wallace is executive director of Menomonee Falls (Wis.) Ambulatory Surgery Center. Her career as a healthcare executive has included leadership roles in hospitals, home health agencies, medical groups and ambulatory surgery. During the past ten years she has served as executive director of a large, freestanding multi-specialty surgery center. During her tenure she has helped grow the facility to a volume of more than 13,000 cases annually. She has presented nationally on issues ranging from leadership to managing a profitable surgery center. Ms. Wallace, a registered nurse, also holds an undergraduate degree in management and a graduate degree in business administration. She is current president of the ASC Assembly of MGMA, past-president of the Surgery Center Association of Wisconsin and has served on several boards.

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