specializing in health care moves. We knew such a company would appreci- ate the delicate equipment we rely on to provide patient care and the importance of staying on schedule, so we could open on time and get back to serving our patients. The concern of the part- ners and myself as director of the ASC was to avoid hiccups that could greatly impact revenue and case volume. We planned carefully for a strict one week of down time to minimize the impact on surgeons, patients and cash flow. We worked closely with the mov- ing company to develop a master plan to execute this significant relocation. We planned to close the old facility on a Friday and use the following week to finalize the opening of the new facility, which included moving an entire ASC from one building to another, setting up old and new equipment, being in- serviced on new computer/phone sys- tems and receiving final department of health approval to operate.

Throughout the relocation planning process, we kept our staff informed of the critical decisions made concern- ing the new facility and what would be expected of them once we closed and began the process. We knew that their engagement and support would be crucial to helping ensure the move was successful.

Putting a Plan to the Ultimate Test Midway through our final day operat- ing at the old facility—a bittersweet day, but also a day of excitement as we would soon begin the relocation process to a beautiful new ASC—the unthinkable happened. Chris, our CSD manager, was hit by a car and killed in front of our building. It was Chris’ last day of employment with us as he planned to return to college to finish his degree in computer programming. As we grieved, we contemplated the

next step in our relocation. The ASC’s owners said delaying was clearly an option. They understood it would be difficult for their staff to focus on what

cases in the new facility. Throughout the move and week of preparation for our opening, we had grief counselors on site and available to the staff. They met with staff in groups and individually. In my 40 years of managing people, this was my most difficult leadership challenge, but also my proudest moment. Watching my staff work through their grief and persevere was truly inspiring.

A Fitting Tribute About five weeks after opening the new facility, we were paid a visit by the

Accreditation Association for

Throughout the relocation planning process, we kept our staff informed of the critical decisions made concerning the new facility and what would be expected of them once we closed and began the process.”

— Robert B. Nelson Island Eye Surgicenter

needed to be accomplished. I spoke with the staff at length and asked them what they wanted to do. They knew how involved Chris was in planning the tran- sition. Out of respect for his commit- ment to Island Eye, our staff decided we should stay on schedule, point and task and get the job done. We closed Friday as planned. Over

the next week, our plan was set into action. The months of meticulous deci- sion-making, hard work and careful preparation was on full display. On Mon- day, March 7, 2017, just 10 days after the old ASC closed, we performed our first


Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) surveyors. This was not unexpected as we had scheduled our survey date six months in advance, but that was before delays had pushed the opening back several months and the tragic loss of our teammate. We had hoped to have at least a few months to settle in and become comfortable with the new space before surveyors arrived. Despite the inconvenience and the concern, the survey was a success. It was fitting that one of the areas high- lighted by the survey team as partic- ularly impressive was our CSD. The surveyors were thoroughly impressed with the new technology and systems in place. They said it was rare to see a CSD in such a fast-paced facility like ours that was so carefully and effi- ciently designed.

It seemed fitting to hear those

words as we knew so much of the success of the relocation and open- ing of the new ASC was attributable to Chris. He left quite an impressive mark on the facility, one that does not go unnoticed. A plaque has been installed dedicating the CSD in mem- ory of Chris for his dedication.

Robert B. Nelson is the executive director of Island Eye Surgicenter in Westbury, New York. Write him at

All photos of Island Eye Surgicenter. PHOTOS BY: ROBERT B. NELSON

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