Denise Kesler, RN, retired from her role as the director of the Athens (Ga.) Orthopedic Clinic ASC last month. She’s seen the surgery center evolve from a fledging facility to a high-volume center of advanced care. She began working at the ASC in 2006, when six surgeon-owners performed sports medicine procedures in two ORs. A steady growth in case volume forced the facility to convert a procedure room used primarily for placing regional blocks into a fully functioning surgical suite in 2008.
Today, 15 surgeons keep the facility buzzing by performing a wide range of procedures, from pain management injections and ACL repairs to total joint replacements and minimally invasive spine surgeries. Last year, 5,230 patients passed through the facility’s three ORs. It was a high volume of cases that amazed the surveyor who recently renewed the center’s accredited status because its streamlined workflows focus as much on safety as they do on speed — infection rates are near zero and complications are nearly nonexistent.
Ms. Kesler, who had to manage the steady increase in surgical volume over the years, understands how to balance an evolving case mix with a constant focus on capturing as many procedures as possible to boost the bottom line. When surgeons outperformed their block times, she relied on creative juggling of the surgical schedule to maintain the facility’s capacity.