Hospital Impact: Why hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers should work together


After more than 30 years of experience in the general acute care hospital administration landscape, I made the switch to ambulatory surgery center (ASC) administration earlier this year. I made the switch because I was presented with an opportunity to live and work close to family and to join a top-tier national company that specializes in surgery centers and surgical hospitals.

In doing my due diligence, I examined the close relationship between hospitals and surgery centers. I quickly recognized that in an industry that pushes for shorter lengths of stay and performing more procedures and surgeries on an outpatient basis, ambulatory surgery centers may very well be the wave of the future. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in the future of medical and surgical care?

When first presented with the opportunity, I told myself that I am a hospital administrator and not an ambulatory surgery administrator. But I have come to learn that the truth is that I am a healthcare services administrator first and foremost. There are a lot of similarities between acute care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, and my experience is transferable. Hospitals and surgery centers are both regulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, compete with each other for high-quality surgical care, and abide by strict standards for infection control and high quality medical care.

One of my first goals in my new role was to reach out to the familiar environment of acute care hospitals. I contacted hospital CEO colleagues, many of whom I have known for many years, in the surrounding area to explore opportunities for our hospitals and our surgery center to work together. Why not use low-overhead space in the ASC for low-acuity procedures to relieve pressure from a busy trauma center hospital? This helps us and helps the hospital.

And with the growing number of surgical cases that are now routinely performed on an outpatient basis, why not create a continuity of care between ASCs and hospitals? Why not share staff and thereby keep more jobs in our local community? These are all areas of opportunity where we can work together to improve care in our community.

As we explore these opportunities, and others, I foresee that our next steps will be collaboration in narrow networks, consumer education, best practices and centers of excellence. It continues to be an exciting time in healthcare, and I am enjoying the change in scenery and the opportunity to continue reinventing our healthcare delivery system for the future.

Raymond T. Hino, MPA, FACHE, is an administrator at Skyway Surgery Center. Previously, he served as the CEO of Mendocino Coast District Hospital in California.