Q&A with a CASC Certificant: Judy Harless of Oregon Surgical Institute

Judy Harless, MBA, CASC, is administrator of Oregon Surgical Institute in Beaverton, Oregon. Her first experience in an ASC was serving as business office manager in a single-specialty, one-room surgery center. Since then, she has opened three de novo ASCs and operated several centers varying in partnership structure and specialties. She has been an active participant in multiple state associations and served on the ASCA Board of Directors. Harless passed the CASC exam in 2013.

Q: How did you prepare for the exam?

Judy Harless: My preparation consisted of devouring as much information as I could from ASCA webinars, Outpatient Surgery Magazine and taking the CASC Review Course.

Q: What do you recall about it?

JH: I took my CASC exam at the ASCA Conference in 2013, just days after the Boston Marathon bombing. The anticipation of the exam, coupled with the surreal scene of the city days after the tragedy, made for a very memorable few days. I recall being nervous going into the exam. It wasn’t an exam I could easily breeze through; I definitely had to take my time and be thoughtful about my answers. Afterward, I felt fairly confident I had done well and was happily relieved to find out I passed.

Q: Why did you elect to pursue the credential at that point in your ASC career?

JH: At the time, the CASC credential was a personal goal and a way to validate my knowledge.

Q: How do you think earning the credential has benefited you in your career in the ASC industry and your ASC? 

JH: I have my master of business administration degree, but do not have a clinical background. I believe the CASC credential affirms my understanding and competence of the administrator’s many and varied responsibilities and has acted as a differentiator when I have applied for positions. The CASC credential has become an employment requirement, or preference, for many employers.

Q: Was pursuing the CASC credential a worthwhile experience?

JH: Absolutely. I was able to achieve a personal goal and, through the test-taking process, identify areas where additional education would be beneficial. 

Q: What would you say to ASC administrators who are unsure if the CASC credential is right for them?

JH: Regardless of your background—clinical or business—the CASC exam is worth the time and investment. The credential provides you and your employer with validation of the wealth of information you (an administrator) must possess to safely and competently run a surgery center. I am so convinced of the importance and usefulness of CASC that I now serve on the exam writing committee.

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