Partnering with a management and development company like Physicians Endoscopy (PE) can afford a long list of benefits, from leveraging rich expertise in building and acquiring ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) to accessing a comprehensive team that works exclusively on the business and operational components of ASCs. But it's natural for a center to initially come to the table with concerns about the partnership and the future of the center and its staff.
Two PE partnered center administrators-Darlene Buddendorf of Endoscopy Center at St. Mary and Penny Nicarry of Endoscopy Center at Robinwood-spoke with PE Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing Carol Stopa about their initial concerns and how those concerns were quickly alleviated.
Carol Stopa (CS): Tell me a little about your centers and when they partnered with PE.
Darlene Buddendorf (DB): We have served the south-eastern Pennsylvania, central New Jersey and greater Philadelphia communities since 2006. Our center was affiliated with a hospital, with staff employed by the hospital. Our partnership with PE began in 2016. The hospital remains an owner, but staff transitioned to become employees of the center.
Penny Nicarry (PN): We opened in 2002 and serve a tri-state area that includes Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We were part of a health system for 10 years, with our staff employed by the system. We exited that relationship and partnered with PE in 2012.
CS: What were your concerns about entering into a partnership with a company like PE?
DB: The biggest concern was probably preservation-preservation of my staff and even myself. In the early planning stages, we didn't know what to tell the staff as we lacked information about PE and their approach to partnerships. What would happen to our benefits? Will they still need me, the administrator, or our clinical director? Would they tell us we weren't completing enough cases and needed to downsize? Are they going to advise us of the need to change staffing structure to reduce costs? I was stressing so much that I practically had a resignation letter drafted in my inbox.
PN: My apprehensions were similar. What changes were forthcoming? A lot of our employees had been with the center for 10 years, and turnover was minimal. Would there be staff retention? Would our benefits change? Would seniority carry over?
CS: Those concerns were justified. After all, Penny, you were a part of the center before it even opened. You brought the staff over and developed it from scratch. Now there's this big change coming, and it's daunting. How did PE help alleviate your concerns?
PN: The first question we asked was whether staff would keep their jobs. It was imperative to get that uncertainty out of the way. We learned everyone would keep their jobs, which relieved some apprehension. Then our minds shifted toward how our center would operate going forward. It felt like we were starting essentially at ground zero, knowing nothing except that our jobs were safe. But would we even want to stay in our positions?
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