Eye on OOSS

The Essence of OOSS

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This month’s column did not come easily. I attempted to describe OOSS in 600 words — from our founding in 1981 to our current array of advocacy and educational initiatives, with mention of our outstanding leaders and accomplishments along the way. I considered our value statement, which notes that OOSS is the only organization dedicated exclusively to the ophthalmic-driven ASC. I thought about our trademarked motto, “Belong Today, Shape Tomorrow.”

But I still came up short. And then an editor and good friend asked, “Kent, what is the essence of OOSS?”

“It’s the people,” I replied, “and the model surgery centers they own, manage, and operate daily. And, it’s their collective commitment to continuous learning, improvement, and advocacy, combined with the support of leading industry partners that share our mission.”

Her question made me want to dig deeper. Who are these people, how are they different, what is their essence? OOSS members are very accomplished surgeons, highly successful administrators, and extremely disciplined and compassionate nurses and clinical staff. They share common values and sensibilities. At once uncompromising and entrepreneurial, they consistently are able to: achieve the best in surgical outcomes; create and sustain high-performing and profitable enterprises; and provide an exceptional surgical setting and an outstanding patient experience.

What about the surgery centers they represent? The ophthalmic ASC is an impressive and fascinating business model. OOSS member centers — about 400 across the country — represent nearly 30% of all physician-owned surgery centers for which ophthalmology represents at least 40% of total case volume. This includes ophthalmology-only centers.

  • Member centers perform an average of 4,200 surgical cases annually, with some centers performing more than 10,000 surgeries a year. The average number of surgeries for OOSS member centers is more than a third higher than for non-member ophthalmic centers.*
  • Member centers are staffed by an average of 14 full-time professionals, including 10 clinical and 4 business staff, though larger centers often have 20 or more full-time employees.
  • Average gross profits approach $4 million annually, with a number of centers grossing $6 million or more.
  • Member centers participate in annual OOSS benchmarking that compares performance across 12 clinical and 21 business-oriented key performance indicators, revealing consistently high performance in virtually every area and providing measures that guide continuous improvement.

So the essence of OOSS is indeed found in our people and our centers — exceptional and enterprising professionals whose surgery centers deliver outstanding and sustainable results. These centers are models for delivering high quality at reasonable cost, instrumental in contributing to the economies and well being of the communities they serve, and helpful in favorably bending the cost-curve of health care for our citizens.

Thank you, Debbie,** for giving me the ‘essence’ of the focus I needed. For members of OOSS who have read this far, thank you for enduring my characterization of your essence. Those of you not-yet-members interested in learning more, including prospective industry partners, email me at or go to to sign up for OOSS News and OOSS Talk, available at no cost. ■

* Information based on OOSS ASCPM benchmarking data and publicly available data for Medicare certified ASCs.

**Debbie Price of Price & Price Creative is a writer and editor for OOSS and a valued industry partner.