Anesthesiologist Jack Egnatinsky, M.D., 63, who organized, practiced at and helped run one of New York state's first ambulatory surgery centers, has been named president of the Federated Ambulatory Surgery Association.
Egnatinsky practiced in Syracuse, N.Y., for 25 years and was a founder in 1987 of Harrison Center Outpatient Surgery, a four-operating room, multi-specialty ASC.
At the time, there was no certificate of need law in New York that applied to ASCs, but state regulators wouldn't allow the facility to open without one, so "we worked with the state to develop the process," said Egnatinsky. "It took them almost a year and a half."
Five years ago, the ASC expanded to seven ORs and at last count had more than 200 on the medical staff, including about 50 physicians working there on a regular basis, he said.
Now retired from medical practice, Egnatinsky lives in Christiansted, the capital of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. He is a 1965 graduate of the College of Medicine at State University of New York in Syracuse. He completed his residency training at U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia while serving a seven-year stint in the Navy.
Talking up the vital role ASCs play in medicine will be the focus of Egnatinsky's duties as president, he said.
"That's one of the things we'll be working on this year is to educate the public and policy makers about meeting America"s surgical needs," he said. "We're not a hospital, but they"re doing a lot of ambulatory surgery and we're doing ambulatory surgery. We feel we offer a better product, surgeries in an environment that's less intimidating than a hospital."
Egnatinsky says the hospital industry is ramping up their anti-ASC activities.
"In many areas, on the state level, they are extending their campaign, which started out against specialty hospitals, to physician owned ambulatory surgery centers," he said. "It's interesting that this has come up at this time, but it's only come up because of the surgical hospital debate."
"I think we're going to be making a lot of visits," he said. "It's going to be a minimum three-year effort to get our points across and do what we can to eliminiate the freeze that has been put on reimbursements through the end of the decade."
FASA is a not-for-profit association based in Alexandria, Va.