Interview with Lori Martin, Administrator, Summit Surgery Center for Surgistratgies Magazine Lori Martin is no stranger to joint medical ventures. In 2009, she was the administrator at Summit Surgery Center in Reno, Nevada, when it joined forces with Catholic Healthcare West hospital; St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center (CHW). Regent Surgical Health, the Illinois-based management company helped run the process. “CHW and Regent had experienced success previously at another center in Reno, so when the possibility of a second joint venture arose they were excited to move forward,” Martin affirms. “This is my second joint venture with CHW and Regent. My previous joint venture taught me that being in the midst of a big change can be unsettling for some staff, however; having CHW and Regent to guide the way the staff and physicians at both centers were very supported.” Based on her experience, Martin shares the following tips for ASC administrators looking into a hospital joint venture. Keep what works in your facility. Keep the things that work. If you have a scrub tech who is an outstanding player, make sure you keep them on board; likewise for a linen-processing company that keeps you well-stocked. These are just a couple examples, but keeping staff and companies that are instrumental to workflow will be crucial to new process and leadership. Don’t be afraid to change the culture. Remember why the joint venture is happening: Things needed to change. Always keep that in mind when changing the culture. During the process our staff had a 90 percent turnover, but people were honest about tolerating the change. The people that were not interested in the new venture were fully supported in finding a different environment that was a better fit for them. Changing culture while recruiting new surgeons to a facility – as well as changing an inventory system – is more than some staff can cope with. Respecting their decision to move on is key; it tells the others who do want the challenge that your vision will happen. The right staff will drive your processes forward and stimulate new and existing staff to be creative. This, in turn, will result in fully vested staff members who are engaged in your vision. Be sure to brand the facility and market your facility as new. You are moving forward and things have changed — now you are charged with showing this to your community. Go out in the community using your new logo and colors as you market with schedulers and physicians. When they are in the facility, make sure to ask how they’re doing and if there is anything you can do to better service the patients, office, etc. Look for feedback when you go face-to-face. Once you are recognizable in the facility, the doors of communication will open, which is invaluable. These strategies have helped the Summit Surgery Center joint venture grow and prosper. The center boasts a thriving physician base that includes specialties in Orthopedics, ENT, and Ophthalmology. A focus on physician recruitment and quality patient care has helped them grow over 50 percent in the past year, from approximately 1300 cases in 2009 to over 2500 cases in 2010. “We look forward to continuing to build physician partnerships and relationships that will move our facility forward,” said Martin. “I’m excited because I believe we have a lot of new opportunities with this center where we will be dedicated to making efficiency, quality, and service our top priorities. Our team at Summit is focused on being creative. We have highly qualified staff in place, so the approach will be one that is unique with patient and physician appeal.” Reproduced with permission from SurgiStrategies Magazine, February 2011 issue. ©2011 Virgo Publishing. All Rights Reserved.