ASCA Honors Industry Stalwarts

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ASCA Honors Industry Stalwarts

Bill Wilcox, Randy Leffler receive Nap Gary Award

ASCA named Bill Wilcox, retired vice chairman of Tenet Healthcare Corporation in Dallas, Texas, and retired chairman and chief executive officer of United Surgical Partners International (USPI) in Addison, Texas, and Randy Leffler, the recently deceased executive director of the Ohio Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, as the recipients of its 2020 Nap Gary Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in the ASC Community.

Bill Wilcox

Wilcox’s contributions to the ASC industry extend far and wide. “Bill was instrumental in getting the ASC community started,” says Ann Shimek, RN, CASC, executive director of the ASC Quality Collaboration (ASC QC) and principal of Ann Shimek Clinical Pathways LLC in Plano, Texas. “He was passionate about initiating the ASC QC to demonstrate the high quality of care the industry provides to patients.”

Marian Lowe, senior vice president of strategy at US Anesthesia Partners in Dallas, has known Wilcox for the past 15 odd years. It is hard to know where to start when it comes to Wilcox’s contributions to the ASC community, she says. “I’d give him credit—which he will most likely freely share or at least partially deflect—for the following:

    • seeing opportunity in the surgery center as an enduring business model and the future of how surgical care will be delivered in the community setting;
    • pioneering the three-way joint venture ASC ownership model to align the interests of hospitals, surgery centers and physicians in a profitable business;
    • leading the ASC community toward an in-network strategy with commercial payers;
    • championing the unification of the American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers and the Federated Ambulatory Surgery Association and creating a strong foundation of advocacy; and
    • developing the ASC QC and championing the use of quality and patient experience data to improve performance.”

Shimek, who has known Wilcox for more than 16 years, describes him as a man of passion, integrity, fierce loyalty and utmost care. “Bill treats everyone as if they are a family member,” she says. “His favorite saying is to be tough on the issues but kind to the people.”

Lowe agrees. “Bill is the ultimate team player. He is humble, hungry and smart. He sees opportunity in people and process and is relentless in his pursuit. And he has a beautiful mind that can translate opportunity into action and execution.”

Shimek reminisces about the time when she was a newcomer at USPI and bumped into Wilcox in the elevator. He addressed her by her first name, said good morning, and asked what the company could do to help her in her role. “At the time, I was overwhelmed with starting out in corporate America after leaving the front line in the OR and was trying to learn everything I could about Excel, emails, spreadsheets, reading financials and the list went on,” she says. “Quite honestly, I was thinking of leaving and going back to my comfort zone of the operating room. Bill changed that because I felt so valued that the CEO of the company would care enough to know my name and how I was doing that I gave it another chance.”

Lowe says she feels lucky to have Wilcox in her life all these years. “He has had a greater influence on my career and my life and happiness than any other person outside of my immediate family,” she says. After her father passed away, Lowe remembers writing Wilcox an email about what her father meant to her. “Fast forward three years: Bill is giving a toast at our wedding—my wife also worked for USPI and Bill takes credit for matchmaking—and he starts quoting my words about my father from an email I had sent him years prior in honor of my dad’s absence from the ceremony. How many CEOs of multibillion-dollar companies would have kept that email and remembered years later about it? He knew how important that relationship was to me and honored the moment and my family. Truly amazing and classically Bill.

“The great thing about Bill is that my story and relationship with him is hardly unique,” Lowe says. “I could name a dozen people off the top of my head who would have equally deep and transformative relationships with him.”

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Randy Leffler

Leffler passed away last December at the age of 51. He was an inspiration to all who knew him within the ASC community. “He was the greatest guy in the whole world, and he made our state association one of the top state associations in the country,” says Barb Draves, CASC, president of OAASC and administrator of The Surgery Center of Middleburg Heights, Ohio. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say ‘no’ to anything.”

Leffler joined OAASC in 2007. “He grew our membership by his exemplary communication skills and his ability to get things done,” Draves says. “He was devoted full-time to building the association. He traveled all over the state of Ohio, working with people. He worked on our webpage to update it. He worked on the laws and the government issues in Columbus. He took his knowledge from the state to the national level.”

He was the face of ambulatory surgery in the state of Ohio, Draves says. “Randy was the face of quality care in ASCs, doing the right thing right all the time, doing things right even when nobody was looking. Whether it was a new center starting out or an old center, Randy was always there as a resource. He knew where to refer people and how to solve all issues.”

Leffler led the State Affairs Committee at ASCA and served on ASCA’s Government Affairs Committee. “Randy was simply one of the kindest, warmest people I’ve ever met,” says Kara Newbury ASCA’s director of Government Affairs and regulatory counsel. “He was an excellent leader at the state and national levels, and I always brag about the Ohio state association and how it was one of the best in the country by far due to Randy’s leadership.”

Tori Caillet RN, CASC, senior director of Clinical Services at Amsurg in Nashville, Tennessee, knew Leffler for 11 years and the last two as the chair of the OAASC. “Working with him was the highlight of my time as the chairperson,” she says. “He is one of the best persons I had the privilege of knowing, professionally and personally, and I am better for that.”

Leffler was born on March 29, 1968, in Carroll, Ohio, and graduated from Bloom-Carroll High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Ohio State University and was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college. During his college years, he studied abroad in France for a summer and worked as a Republican page at the Ohio Statehouse. He also served a Capitol Hill internship for Rep. Clarence E. Miller, (R-Ohio), which solidified his commitment to political causes.

After graduation, Leffler served on Governor George Voinovich’s gubernatorial campaign. Later, he worked in the Ohio Department of Aging as the director’s executive assistant, and after that as the director of communications at the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Manufacturers Association. He also established and operated a successful business called Select Association Management.

Leffler was a devoted father and husband. He was a constant presence at all his son Ben’s sporting events, school fundraisers and theater performances. During Cub Scouts he was known as the Popcorn Kernel for his help with fundraising drives.

Leffler’s passion was to travel. Among the highlights were vacations in New York, California, Paris, Italy and Hawaii, and a 2012 European trip for the London Olympics, which also featured a meaningful stop in Normandy, France. The family loved their twice-yearly visits to the Disney Parks, the most special one to Disneyland in 2018 for Leffler’s 50th birthday when he watched Ben march down Mainstreet USA with the Worthington Kilbourne band.

“Randy equaled comfort to me,” Draves says. “He gave a feeling of safety to our ASCs because he was on top of everything. As the president of OAASC, I felt safe with Randy next to me.

“There’s a hole in my heart now,” she says. “While we can never fill Randy’s shoes, we are charged with assuring that we follow in Randy’s steps, always striving for improvement and quality in our ASCs and in our state association, continuing to keep Ohio at the forefront of ASC associations around the country and to make Randy proud of what we learned from him.”

The Nap Gary Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in the ASC Community honors ASC community members who have worked in the industry for the preceding 10 years at least and have made sustained contributions in the local, state or national outpatient surgery communities as advocates for, and to the betterment of, the ASC healthcare delivery model.