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Turning 30 Administrators at two ASCs preparing to recognize nearly 30 years of continuous operation, share their survival tips and secrets of success. BY SAHELY MUKERJI


fter Medicare approved pay- ment to ASCs for the first time in

1982, the number of surgery centers in the US grew. Today, many of the ASCs founded soon after the Medicare poli- cy change are preparing to celebrate 30 years of continuous years of operation. “People are our strongest asset,”

says Susan Simons, RN, CASC, ad- ministrator of North Kitsap Ambula- tory Surgery Center, dba Pacific Sur- gery Center, in Poulsbo, Washington. “We strive to create an environment where staff and physicians want to come to work and develop a strong team where everyone is acknowl- edged and valued as an important part of the process.” Simons’ surgery center is a three- operating room (OR), multi-specialty ASC accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. The center celebrated its 28th anniversary in April. Rhonda Kurz, RN,

director of

nursing at Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) ASC in Cincinnati, Ohio, which has been open for 27 years, agrees. “Treating our employees as valued members of a team and working along with them to provide the best environment for patient care” has been one of the primary reasons why the ASC has been operating efficiently for so long, she says. “I would say one of the most beneficial things I have learned over the years in business is to surround yourself with the best, most talented people you can find and to create a visible method of advancement within your organization.” CEI is a six-OR and four-procedure

room, physician-owned facility. The physicians, says Kurz who has been with the ASC for 27 years, “have culti- vated an ASC where our vision, mission

34 ASC FOCUS JUNE 2013 Tips for New ASCs

Susan Simons, RN, CASC, admin- istrator of North Kitsap Ambula- tory Surgery Center, dba Pacific Surgery Center, in Poulsbo Wash- ington, recommends the follow- ing for ASCs that are just opening their doors and those that have been in business just a short time:

Know your costs. With the de- creasing margins, it is essential that each center determine the scope of its services.

Get to know your vendors. Ne- gotiate good contracts to keep supply costs low.

■ ■

Maintaining accreditation provides an excellent

framework for providing excellence in patient care and adhering to the best practices.”

— Rhonda Kurz, RN Cincinnati Eye Institute

and goals are reflected throughout the employees’ and patients’ experience.” To maintain its “strongest asset,”

says Simons, the Pacific Surgery Cen- ter offers “ongoing education, flex- ibility in hours and good benefits.” Ongoing education is a big part of being a successful ASC, Kurz agrees. “Maintaining

accreditation pro-

vides an excellent framework for providing excellence in patient care and adhering to the best practices,” Kurz says. “As the landscape of reim- bursement continues to change, ASCs have got to think outside of the box for ways to save money or, in some

Know what you need in insur- ance contracts and negotiate.

Cross-train staff. People are the most expensive part of the bud- get. Utilize the staff you have.

Become involved in your state and national organizations to support the future of the ASC industry.

instances, create new revenue streams that they hadn’t considered before.” Other tricks of the trade for being successfully operational for almost three decades are providing state-of- the-art equipment to physicians so that they can offer the most up-to-date services, Simons says, and encour- aging new owners to join the ASC. “Encouraging ownership of new pro- viders increases their involvement in providing quality and cost-effective care,” she says.

At the end of the day, says Si- mons, “set your missions and goals, and don’t worry about the competi- tion. We try to do what we do and do it well.”

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