Let’s Talk, for the Heart of It

For the last 15 years, it has been my heartfelt honor to work with OOSS. This journey began in 2004 with a weekend OOSS leadership meeting to talk about whether OOSS could or even should survive — and, if so, how. The options included a merger with another association, redirection as a society, or closing down as a still solvent enterprise. In the room were legends in the industry, including OOSS’s long time general counsel Mike Romansky and executive director Claudia McCougal.

Out of that meeting came a clarity and unanimous resolve — OOSS would reposition and rebrand itself, leverage its fledgling but loyal membership and industry affiliations and commit to an aggressive growth strategy. Why? Because, no other organization could unequivocally address the unique needs of the ophthalmic ASC.

Today, nearly 400 ASCs across the country are dues-paying members of OOSS. The organization has become the primary source of analytics and benchmarking data for the ophthalmic ASC industry, used by ASCs to compare performance, guide planning, and address important issues. Hundreds of centers and staff participate each year in surveys and studies that have made OOSS the leading source of data and trending information specific to the ophthalmic ASC community. Additionally, through OOSS University and other forums, OOSS provides timely and relevant information and educational programming on topics ranging from surgery center ownership and development to staff training, certification, and accreditation.

In OOSS, the outpatient ophthalmic surgery community has a single source and established society to represent and advance its work. Whether you are in the practice of patient care as a surgeon/owner, administrator, or nurse, or in the business of essential and supportive services, you have a vested interest in the work of this society.

In December, I’ll retire as executive director of OOSS. It’s been an enormous privilege to work with this organization, and now, as I reflect on all of its successes, I want to share a few personal observations and a challenge.

Ideally, every society worth its bargain enlists the full support of the constituency that shares its purpose. Ideally, every ophthalmic ASC would be a member of OOSS and every organization that provides products, medications, and services to ophthalmic ASCs would support the work of OOSS. That’s the ideal, but for OOSS, we are yet far from that reality. Consider:

Only one in three ophthalmic ASCs and multispecialty surgery centers in the U.S. is a member of OOSS. While more than 90% of current members renew their memberships each year — a testament to value — OOSS clearly needs greater participation and investment from the larger community it serves.

Fewer than half of the organizations that provide products and services support OOSS as industry partners. Our current industry partners provide crucial support for events and initiatives and, as with membership growth, we must grow our base of industry support accordingly.

If you are a current member or partner, let’s talk about how you can get more involved and what impact you might have by helping us recruit new members or partners. If you have not yet participated in the OOSS 2023 planning survey, do so today to ensure that your perspective is represented.

If you are not yet a member or partner, contact me directly at, or my colleague, Albert Castillo, at, to talk about how affiliation with OOSS can benefit your surgery center or your company. And be sure to download the new OOSS App, engage in OOSS Talk, and join us at the next OOSS event, all at no cost.

As I pass the baton to others, I welcome the opportunity to hear from you and to get your thoughts on how we grow OOSS. Without question, the strategy of growth continues to be our best path to shared success. And as we address growth, it will be my special pleasure to share the latest news about the launch of the OOSS Gives Foundation, a bold initiative to ensure patient access for the heart of it. ■

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