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by Melissa Fray

Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) across the country are still working to combat long surgical backlogs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, “Super Saturdays” in ASCs are an option in some locations.

These weekend blocks provide increased scheduling flexibility, while providing incentives for staff to assist in the extra work.

“A lot of staff like the idea. During COVID they’ve lost wages through times that they’ve been forced to take time off or times where they’ve been forced to take PTO to take care of their kids,” Jeff Peters, CEO of consulting firm Surgical Directions, said during a Becker’s webinar March 3. “Staff are very anxious to try to find a way to accommodate it.”

Peters added that to make “Super Saturdays” successful, center leadership must obtain staff buy-in. This is done through an offer of a pay increase and extra PTO.

“If you’re interested, we’ll give you premium pay or add to your PTO bank,” Peters said. “The nice part about doing it this way is you have surgeons who are very motivated to do it; they can typically get twice as many cases done in eight hours than a normal day, and it’s a better experience for both the surgeon and the patient.”

Surgeons who choose to operate during weekend block must understand how to be efficient. Peters advises that they must be comfortable working out of two rooms simultaneously. To increase this efficiency surgeons should be provided a roster of low-risk patients unlikely to need extended operating time.

To implement “Super Saturdays” in your ASC follow the below guidelines:

  • Inform patients and schedule
  • Notify staff of the event and incentives for participating
  • Select surgeon(s) to handle procedures
  • Ensure center is moves patients and staff efficiently throughout the day