10 Things To Do TODAY While Your ASC Is Shut Down/Slowed Down

So you’re shut down or slowed down because of the coronavirus.  We are all a bit worried, fearful and even angry about what has happened.  In dark times like these, I find it helps to stay busy, and know that very soon, to rip-off the classic line from Annie – “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”.  This pandemic WILL end in the near future, and the end is likely to be just as rapid as the onset.

So what to do while you are waiting?  Here’s a list of 10 things every ASC can do to stay busy and come out the other side of this pandemic stronger and more prepared than ever:


1. Certifications

Most ASCs require ACLS certification for their PACU staff, anesthesia staff, and sometimes, for all RNs. Adding PALS is a great idea if you take care of kids.  Now is a great time to get this done. How? Online classes and tests, of course! Most people think that you have to attend an actual class in person. That is no longer true.  I have done my last several ACLS/BLS and PALS certifications through AMRI (American Medical Resource Institute). Their website is aclsonline.us). The educational content, test material, and follow up re: sending certificates is excellent.  I am sure that other companies do this too, AMRI just happens to be the one that I am familiar with. I have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with AMRI.  


2. Deep Cleaning

Nothing like Covid – 19 staying alive on inert surfaces for days to get us all a little bit (a whole lotta bit) more focused on how clean things really are (or aren’t).  Now is a great time to have a deep cleaning of your ENTIRE facility done. Every nook and cranny of every OR, bathroom, break room, locker room and storage area. When’s the last time all of the curtains in preop and PACU have been taken down and sent out to be washed?

3. Repairs

Look around your facility for all of the stuff that needs to be fixed, but never got fixed because you were just too busy to every take a room out of commission for a day.  Well now you have time. Is it something big like the flooring in room 3 that is all cracked and discolored? Or is it just a handful of things like the waiting room with the scuffs on the walls and the carpet that has gotten really worn (if its carpet, consider the super industrial stuff that comes in large squares that you see in airports and stores).  Or what about ditching the carpet and doing a modern drift wood color faux wood industrial grade laminate?  


4. Equipment Maintenance

Most ASCs have equipment that is under a maintenance contract.  This is a great time to get endoscopes, colonoscopes, microscopes, anesthesia machines, etc. “tuned up”.  And it doesn’t even have to be big ticket items. Why not have the scissor sharpening guy (or gal) come in and spin their sharpening magic on all of your reusable sharps?

5. Facility Maintenance

Now is a great time to get facility maintenance done.   This is a broad category and can include everything from your facility’s systems: HVAC, electrical, etc. to painting, landscaping and attention to the parking lot.  Electrical systems and backup generators require ongoing maintenance and testing. This is the perfect time to get that done and cross it off your list for the year.  

Painting is relatively inexpensive.  Is your facility a timewarp to paint colors that were popular 20 years ago?  Does the old paint make your otherwise modern facility look dated? Nothing like a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Gray Owl or Revere Pewter, or Sherwin Williams’ Agreeable Gray or Repose Gray to give your facility a clean, super-modern look.  

Look up.  Are some of your ceiling tiles stained or cracked?  Like painting, having those swapped out is an inexpensive job that does not require a high skill level but delivers a HUGE improvement in the look of your facility.

Does the outside need some spiffing up? What about sealcoating the parking lot and having lines that you can actually see painted?  Or how about picking up some flowers at a local garden center and inviting your staff to help plant them (adhering to proper social distancing, of course).  This is a great way to do some team building and improve morale during these trying times.

We have Part 2 of this list coming soon.  Let us know if you have any suggestions or feedback. 

About the Author: Stephen Punzak, MD is a practicing Anesthesiologist as well as the CEO of One Medical Passport. He founded One Medical Passport because he has always had a vision of how healthcare could run more efficiently using technology.  He frequently writes on medical topics, workflow efficient measures and ASC industry trends. 

Stephen Punzak MD

Written by Stephen Punzak MD

Dr. Stephen Punzak, M.D., Founded One Medical Passport in 2000 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. For the past 17 years Dr. Punzak has worked as an anesthesiologist for large tertiary hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.