16 ASC Administrators Under 40

Here are 16 ambulatory surgery center leaders who are below 40 years of age.

If you would like to recommend another surgery center leader for this list, contact Anuja Vaidya at avaidya@beckershealthcare.com.

Tracie Dalton, MBA, CASC, Northeast Missouri ASC (Hannibal). Ms. Dalton began her role as administrator at Northeast Missouri ASC around three years ago when she was 34 years old. Before assuming her current role at Northeast Missouri ASC, Ms. Dalton served as the controller and then CFO of a small, rural hospital for seven years. Northeast Missouri ASC opened in 2000 and is a joint venture between Hannibal (Mo.) Clinic and B & B Enterprises. It is a multispecialty center, where more than 4,500 cases are performed annually. The surgery center is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and provides surgical services in numerous specialties, including gastroenterology, orthopedics, ENT, gynecology and urology. "The greatest accomplishment at our center during the past three years is simple — continued teamwork. Our physicians and staff work together every step of the way," says Ms. Dalton.

Brooke Day, Hastings (Neb.) Surgical Center. Ms. Day began her career as administrator of West Michigan Surgery Center in Big Rapids around six years ago at age 25. She then accepted a position as CEO of Blake Woods Medical Park Surgery Center in 2011. Currently, she serves as administrator of Hastings (Neb.) Surgical Center, overseeing 19 full time employees and per diem staff for the three-operating room center. She is also president of the Nebraska Association of Independent Ambulatory Centers. Ms. Day has experience with accounts receivable management, maximizing operating room time and is HIPAA trained. She is excited for the future of ASCs with health reform, she says, and as operating healthcare organizations on a fixed payment may be the future for all entities, individuals with ASC experience will be ahead of the curve.

Steve Henry, CASC, MBA, Surgery Center at Liberty (Mo.) Hospital. Mr. Henry joined the Surgery Center at Liberty (Mo.) Hospital as administrator in February 2012. During his first six months, he has had the opportunity to work with talented physicians and a caring and compassionate staff, which led to a 96 percent patient satisfaction rating for 2012. He began his career in market research for a well-known ASC management and development company before earning his MBA in healthcare administration. His background includes experience as a financial analyst, business office director and administrator of a start-up surgery center.

Heather Hilgendorf-Cooley, MBA, Spring Park Surgery Center, (Davenport, Iowa). Ms. Hilgendorf-Cooley is 38 years old and has served as administrator of the surgery center since May 2013. The surgery center is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and CMS. Established in 1986, the center includes urologists, ophthalmologists, general surgeons, anesthesiologists and advanced nurse practitioners. "Success breeds success, and we are continually looking at opportunities that will take our ASC to a new level, while encouraging growth, increasing satisfaction and providing quality patient care," says Ms. Hilgendorf-Cooley. "We have a great team that is exemplified by excellent customer service scores and sound outcomes. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to build upon the success of Spring Park Surgery Center, and am excited to lead them through the EHR implementation in 2014."

Jennifer Hunara, MHA, MBA, Surgery Center of Allentown (Pa.). Ms. Hunara has managed the Surgery Center of Allentown, a large multispecialty ASC, for more than five years. She began her healthcare career at the age of 24 as a business manager of perioperative services at Lehigh Valley Health Network, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., and then moved on to the role of executive director of surgical services for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (N.J.). Her background includes experience in financial and IT management of perioperative services, oversight of surgical processes and management of a profitable surgery center. She maintains her success has been due hard work and great mentors.

Emilie Keene, Parkridge Surgery Center (Columbia, S.C.). Ms. Keene is the administrator of Parkridge Surgery Center and president of the South Carolina Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. She earned her MHA at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and was promoted to administrator just eight months after joining Parkridge as an assistant to the vice president and administrator. During her time with the surgery center, she successfully recruited eight surgeons, increased net revenues by $1 million, increased employee satisfaction scores by 30 percent and patient satisfaction scores by 4 percent. She also led the ASC through the accreditation process and identified cost savings of nearly $200,000 per year.

Angela Laux, Bellin Orthopedic Surgery Center (Green Bay, Wis.). Ms. Laux started as the administrator of Bellin Orthopedic Surgery Center, in June 2010 and brings more than 10 years of experience working in an ASC. The center opened in March 2010.  Since then Ms. Laux has led her team to accomplish doubling the number of ORs, case volume and net revenue annually while providing a quality, customer-friendly experience for patients. Prior to joining Bellin Orthopedic, Ms. Laux served as director of quality and outpatient joint program coordinator at The Orthopedics and Sports Institute in Appleton, Wis. In this role, she assured the institute followed all AAAHC/CMS requirements and worked with the joint team to design and implement the process for doing total joints in an ASC. Ms. Laux graduated from Marian University with a master's degree in organizational leadership and quality in 2009.

Sarah Malaniak, Teaneck (N.J.) Surgical Center. Ms. Malaniak is the administrator of Teaneck Surgical Center, where she has spearheaded the development of the ASC's website and transitioned the center away from a management company, which allowed for increased profitability. Ms. Malaniak has made an impact on the center in many other ways as well, including bringing back a spine surgery program. The center is now able to perform orthopedics, spine, podiatry and pain management. "She is an administrator who is a true believer in developing the staff to their fullest potential [and] in doing so it has established the facility as one of the best in Bergen County," says Teaneck Surgical Center Billing Manager Lisa Ferrante. "She promotes the center's gratitude for all the professional efforts put forth by having international food pot lucks, monthly birthday cake celebrations and on numerous large case days brought everyone lunch. She continues to strive to make each patient's experience at our center safe, stress free and friendly." Ms. Malaniak is a member of ASCA and the New Jersey Association for Ambulatory Surgery Centers.

Christina McDonald, Tampa (Fla.) Outpatient Surgical Facility. Ms. McDonald serves as the administrator of Tampa Outpatient Surgical Facility, where she is responsible for overseeing facility operations and strategically increasing volume. Since joining the center in August 2008, she has increased monthly case volume from an average of 200 to an average of 700. The multispecialty ASC contains five ORs and seven procedure rooms and performs plastics, urology, GYN, ophthalmology, podiatry, orthopedics, general surgery, pain management and endoscopy. Prior to joining Tampa Outpatient, Ms. McDonald worked as the assistant administrator to the executive vice president of patient care services. She also completed an administrative fellowship at Tampa General Hospital working under the president and CEO.

Amy McKiernan, Louisville (Ky.) Surgery Center. Ms. McKiernan joined Louisville Surgery Center, an ASD Management facility, in January 2005, three months after the center opened. She says the center has grown tremendously since her first day; in the first year, the ASC performed 814 cases, and in 2010, the number had jumped to 3,431 cases. The center currently performs plastics and ENT in two ORs and seven pre-op/recovery bays. She says the center has benefited from ASD Management's bonus program. Since the implementation of the program, the staff has looked to every area of the center for cost savings.

Jessica Quick, MBA, The Colonoscopy Center (Omaha, Neb.). Since 2011, Ms. Quick has served as the administrator of The Colonoscopy Center, a physician-owned facility. She has 10 years of experience in the medical community, with four years in the ASC industry. During her tenure as administrator, the center has seen significant growth in several areas, including physician recruitment. She currently serves as vice president of the Nebraska Association of Independent Ambulatory Centers. She received her Masters degree in business administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Common anorectal procedures, diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopies are performed at the surgery center. "My greatest accomplishment has been assembling a team that will allow the center to continue to grow and adapt in the changing healthcare environment," says Ms. Quick.

Amy M. Reighard, RN, MSN, CGRN, Allegheny Regional Endoscopy, (Altoona, Pa.). Ms. Reighard is 37 years old and was named administrator of the surgery center in 2013, before which she served as clinical director of the center. She is certified in gastroenterology nursing. The physician-owned center is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and it provides endoscopic procedures, such as upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. "I enjoy working in the ASC. I like working with regulatory aspects as well as QI/Benchmarking. I have learned so much over the years and hope to continue learning more," she says.  

Phillip Santillanes, FACHE, Specialty Surgery Center, San Antonio. Mr. Santillanes is a healthcare executive with more than 17 years of experience in healthcare delivery systems and currently serves as the executive director of Specialty Surgery Center. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is board-certified in healthcare management. His experience in clinical and administrative leadership spans a broad range from leading clinical teams, hospital departments and a multispecialty surgery center. He has worked for a number of healthcare organizations including the San Antonio Military Medical Center, Methodist Health System in Dallas, San Antonio-based Christus Santa Rosa Health System and Baptist Health System in San Antonio. He has also served as an adjunct professor at St. Philips College in San Antonio. Mr. Santillanes is a member of several regional, state and national healthcare organizations. He currently serves on the board of the South Texas chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives as the director of advancement and marketing committee member.     

Michael Sengmanivong, Beverly Hills (Calif.) Spine Surgery ASC. Mr. Sengmanivong is 36 years old and has served as administrator of the spine and pain management surgery center for nearly three years. The surgery center includes four spine specialists who treat a wide-array of spine conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis, degenerative disc disease, disc herniations, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and tumors. "We have had many [accomplishments] throughout the years but our greatest accomplishment was getting AAAHC certified for three years," says Mr. Sengmanivong.

Chandler Shirer, Franciscan Surgery Center (Indianapolis). Mr. Shirer is 27 years old. Franciscan Surgery Center, a joint venture with Franciscan Alliance, performs more than 9,000 procedures each year. The center includes five operating rooms and one procedure room. "Over the course of the last two years our volume has increased 33 percent. We have added orthopedics, spine/neuro and drastically increased our ophthalmology service line," says Mr. Shirer. "Our success and efficiencies are a direct result of our employees' dedication and hard work day in and day out, as well as our surgeons' and anesthesiologists' commitment to excellence." Mr. Shirer began his career at The Surgery Centers in the Great Cleveland Area under the mentorship of administrator Barb Draves. He then transitioned to the role of administrator at Indiana Eye Clinic. He will have been the administrator at Franciscan Surgery Center for two years in March.

Tabitha Vaughn, RN, St. Charles (Mo.) Surgery Center. Ms. Vaughn is 32 years old and was named administrator of St. Charles Surgery Center in 2011, when it was a new facility and currently also serves as the center's clinical director. The surgery center completed its first case in 2012, and in 2013, completed 3,000 cases. "We are ready for an even bigger 2014," she says. "I would have to say my greatest accomplishment thus far has been opening a new surgery center and achieving CMS and Joint Commission accreditation in 2012 and maintaining that to the present." Ms. Vaughn adds that she had not been familiar with the JCAHO accreditation program as in the past she had been involved with AAAHC accreditation.  

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