ASC Patient Advocate Award

This award will be presented to a person who has taken initiative above and beyond to help improve patient care in the ASC setting. Nominations must include a cover letter describing the persons role in the ASC industry and their initiative in patient care.


2020 Winner is Dianne Buffington, BSN, RN, CNOR, Regional Clinical Quality Manager, SCA

 "Clinical First" is Dianne's motto and patient safety is always her priority.

Dianne Buffington, BSN, RN, CNOR is the Regional Clinical Quality Manager for the Texas Health Resources Region within Surgical Care Affiliates. Her roles include leading our Regional Quality Council, developing multiple task forces and sub councils to increase shared learning and best practices and implementing process improvement programs around education, infection prevention and employee health. Dianne also onboards clinical personnel at existing and de nova centers to ensure success . She is our go-to clinical expert.

Dianne contributes to our region in many ways. She develops protocols for our facilities including best practices for block administration, IOL verification, and total joint programs. She paves the way to survey readiness with both the AAAHC and the Joint Commission. She supports facility's initiatives such as "Just Culture" and our "Good Catch" programs to learn, grow, and to  protect our patients. Dianne spearheads  our task to  complete our annual patient safety survey and is a resource when developing our action plans, improving patient safety in our facilities year after year.

Dianne is results driven through her research, collaboration and determination in clinical quality excellence. Most recently, Dianne developed our preadmission process index scoring system that determines the likelihood of complications postoperatively. The results expected are less transfers and ER/hospital admissions. She also worked collaboratively with a subcommittee to decrease transfers in our THR region, and the results showed a decline of transfers the following two years.

Past Winners:
2018        Patrick Rehm
2019        Ruth Maxwell, MPH, CASC & Dee Pete- Jones, RN, BSN, MBA

Vendor of the Year Award

This award is presented to a vendor who has made positive changes in the ASC industry. Nominations must include a description of the vendors company, Texas client outreach, services and detailed information about how the company has made positive changes in the ASC industry.

2020 Award Recipient: Shannon Mitchell with Surgical Information Systems


 I had the privilege of working with Shannon with SIS over the past two years. Over these years, Shannon has presented a significant commitment to meeting my needs in addition to the needs of our surgery centers by offering high-quality software platform with comfort and ease.  She has helped to facilitate our goal in delivering high quality, cost-effective healthcare to the communities we serve in our Killeen and Abilene locations. Shannon promotes relationships through her honesty, integrity, and fairness in the way we conduct our business together, all while facilitating a team approach across all of my surgery centers. She is loyal, respectful, dedicated, and also believes in our commitment to ongoing, continuous training. She has established herself within the vendor community as an approachable, honest vendor who sees us each as individuals focusing on our individual ASC needs. She has always been available if I needed her or ensured I had contact with the person I needed to answer my concerns timely. This past year, Shannon took time away from her daily tasks to attend the Day at the Capitol with the TASCS for her betterment and understanding of the battles ASC’s face. There are not many if any vendors I have ever worked with who cared enough about the big picture to do that. She is the kind of employee who is desired by all companies, but SIS is fortunate enough to have grabbed her. Not only is she able to get adjusted quickly based on my current needs, but she is also capable of working under extreme, pressing circumstances attaining excellent results.

Past Winners:
2018        HST Pathways
2019        Medline

Rising Star Award

This award is presented to an  individual that works in an ASC and has shown significant growth in the ASC industry. Nominations must include a description of the individuals name, center, client outreach, and detailed information about how the individual has made an impact to the ASC industry and is making a difference in patient care. 

2020 Award Recipient: Pat O’Leary, CASC, MBA 

Pat O’Leary, CASC, MBA has been a proven leader in the ASC sector for almost 20 years. Pat was recently selected as the Administrator for the new Midland, Texas Choice Care Surgery Center and Imaging Center opening June 2020. Among surgical specialties common to ASCs his new ASC is also uniquely designed to include vascular surgery. 

Pat has devoted his entire career to healthcare management and more specifically to the ASC sector in Texas. Pat successfully prepared for and received his ASC Administrator Certification in the first CASC class. Pat has mentored many who sought to gain knowledge and industry resources and truly has been a Rising Star. 


Past Winners:
2018       James McClung, BSN
2019       Adam Hornback, RN

ASC Innovations Award

This award will be presented to a facility that has taken strides to create new and innovative programs within their facility. Nominations must include a cover letter describing the program innovation and how it has improved the facility.


2020 Award Recipient: Memorial Hermann Memorial Village Surgery Center 

During 2019 the Memorial Hermann Memorial Village Surgery Center has implemented three new innovative service lines to its ASC that have traditionally been performed in the Hospital setting. Robotic Assisted Surgeries with the Davinci SI, Total Knee Arthroplasty, and Multi-level spine. Each of these service lines required complete involvement from clinical, operational, business development, and physician board members to be successfully launched. Memorial Village was the first USPI-managed ASC in Houston to offer robot-assisted surgery. This helped fill a community need for cost effective care without sacrificing quality of care. We have also implemented a complete outpatient Total Joint program that involves patient education prior to their procedure, proper patient exercise and mobility training in the post-operative department, and inclusive staff training specific to our Physicians’ surgical approach. The expansion of our spine service line to include Multi-level spine and higher acuity neurological procedures has given us the ability to treat a larger patient base all the while maintaining the highest standard of care. By performing Total knee and spine procedures in an ASC the patients come into the facility with the mindset of going home same day. This helps alleviate patient stress knowing they will be in the comfort of their own home by that evening, which in turn has increased patient satisfaction. More importantly this also aids in decreasing possible infections and hospital acquired illnesses. Memorial Hermann Memorial Village Surgery Center is continuously striving for excellence through continued innovation in the Ambulatory Surgery Center setting. The center also maintains Joint Commission Accreditation and is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Past Winners:
2019       Kelsey-Seybold ASC