You are currently viewing Janet L. Carlson:  Building Success with Commitment to Healthcare Advancement
Janet L. Carlson

Janet L. Carlson:  Building Success with Commitment to Healthcare Advancement

Janet L. Carlson is the Executive Director of ASCs (Ambulatory Surgery Centers) for Commonwealth Pain & Spine, based in Louisville, KY. She is recognized as an innovative nurse leader with a track record of success in strategic, leadership, tactical, and quality efforts.

In her early nursing career, Janet sought roles with additional responsibilities to challenge her skill set and explore new learning opportunities in ambulatory surgical or hospital-based clinical settings. Her ability to improve clinical workflow was acknowledged in a busy hospital-based Interventional Radiology department, where she served as a coordinator for various procedures in multiple imaging settings.

Janet’s leadership skills became evident when physicians in the Interventional Radiology department noticed that their workdays were more efficient when she took on the role of coordinating procedures, acting as the proverbial air traffic controller.

A pivotal encounter on a diverted flight led to a fortuitous connection with a lady who, after eight months of vetting, invited Janet to join her at her facility, where she was the CEO of a newly built hospital. Janet committed to this new leadership opportunity and became the Nurse Manager for the Recovery Room, also overseeing the development of a new inpatient Endoscopy Department.

Seeking further career advancement, Janet applied for and accepted the role of CEO at an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) specializing in Orthopaedics, Total Joint Replacements, Interventional Pain Management, and Neurosurgery. This experience allowed her to refine her skills as a Clinical Operator in a busy and dynamic ASC.

Currently, as the Executive Director of ASCs for Commonwealth Pain & Spine, Janet is enthusiastic about building new ASCs to serve a large patient base across their growing clinical footprint. Her commitment to advancing in her profession and her leadership skills have been key factors in her successful journey within the healthcare industry.

Here are highlights from the interview showcasing Janet L. Carlson’s journey and her staunch commitment to her profession:

Tell us more about Commonwealth Pain & Spine, including its mission and vision. What core principles and values drive your organization’s daily operations and strategic decisions?

With our team of world-class physicians and advanced practitioners, we strive to deliver a less invasive and more cost-efficient care model to our patients.

Our Mission: Commonwealth Pain & Spine seeks to improve the lives of the patients in our care by respecting their pain and passionately delivering to them only the most innovative, safe, responsible, and clinically proven pain relief possible.

Our Vision: Commonwealth Pain & Spine is becoming our region’s largest and most well-respected pain management network in our region by continuously attracting, retaining and nurturing a staff of the best and brightest pain management experts, committing to a patient-centered delivery model, responsibly serving the needs of our patients, and making a commitment to research, development, and execution of evolving, state-of-the-art procedures, treatment, therapies and ancillary services.

. Our values are: • results; • compassion and empathy; • a “no nonsense” approach; • honesty and transparency; • responsibility and accountability; • teamwork; • professionalism; and • patient satisfaction. The Courier Journal recognized us as a Top Workplace in 2021, and Louisville Business First recognized us as one of the Best Places to Work in Greater Louisville in 2023.

Describe the values and work culture that shape your organization. What principles guide your team, and how do they contribute to the success and growth of the company?

We are committed to maintaining our compassionate patient-centric care delivery model. Additionally, we seek to attract, nurture, and retain the best and brightest pain management experts nationwide: physicians, nurses, clinicians, and support staff. Finally, we are committed to research, development, and the execution of the ever-evolving state-of-the-art procedures, treatments, therapies, and additional ancillary services necessary to treat our patients conservatively.

I am proud to share that Louisville Business First named Commonwealth Pain & Spine as one of the top 50 fastest-growing companies in 2021 (which is meaningful considering the impact of the pandemic).

Technology is rapidly evolving and impacting various sectors. How is Commonwealth Pain & Spine leveraging technological advancements to create innovative and resourceful solutions for your customers or clients?

Pain management is at the forefront of innovation in the medical technology space. We remain engaged in professional societies and peer-reviewed journals specific to pain management and commit to training and proficiency by our physicians for new interventions, procedures, and evidence-based practices to alleviate chronic pain in our patients while avoiding unnecessary opioid medication use. We view ourselves as disruptors in the chronic pain management space.

If you had the opportunity to bring about one significant change in your industry, what would it be, and why? How do you believe this change would benefit the industry as a whole?

The #1 thing that would impact this entire industry would be for CMS and all major healthcare payers to direct employer insurance agreements to provide adequate financial allowances for procedures to be done in our office-based interventional suites and our ASC sites of service.

Currently, the hospital’s site of service is paid a much higher amount for the same exact patient care we provide at our outpatient sites of service, yet we have the same overhead expenses. Our outcomes are consistently better than those of the hospital, with a lower cost of patient co-pays and excellent quality patient encounters and overall experience. In a nutshell, we deliver value and are more affordable (to the patient and their payer), provide reproducible, outstanding surgical outcomes, and provide better accessibility to care.

Looking ahead, what do you believe could be the next major transformation or innovation in your industry? How is Commonwealth Pain & Spine preparing to adapt and be a part of this change?

I am always looking ahead in this industry; we are already in the midst of the significant and major transformation of shifting surgeries, procedures, and interventions and migrating them out of the hospital setting to the ambulatory setting (which is where the majority of these encounters should occur). We are prepared for this shift by allowing for more office-based procedures to be performed in our interventional suites and by building and equipping new ASCs to accommodate our patient population in all our markets.

Where do you see yourself and Commonwealth Pain & Spine in the long run? What are your future goals and aspirations for the company’s growth and development?

I am fortunate to work with a team of professionals and leaders to help support me in this endeavor to build, acquire, rehab, and operationalize new ASCs. My future goals are to open ASCs in our targeted markets where there is a demonstrated need to help patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain and partner with like-minded clinicians.

I am constantly researching new geography for our team to grow into. The growth and development of these clinical spaces (offices, procedure rooms, and ASCs) is all that I focus on, besides working to assist in recruiting the best clinical talent to join our awesome team! I am passionate about my role and love to network, so the opportunity to create and bring teams together fills my bucket. I am proud to build and operationalize ASCs where I would be comfortable receiving care as well as my family members—that’s my metric for highly reliable, quality clinical care.

As a successful woman entrepreneur, what advice would you offer to aspiring women who want to venture into the industry and make a mark for themselves? What key lessons or experiences have shaped your journey that you would like to share with them?

The first piece of advice is to remain open to new opportunities and volunteer for additional responsibilities that will benefit your skillset and challenge you. The next thing is to assume risk. Many women are unconsciously conditioned to avoid risk. You won’t advance in your career if you aren’t willing to take chances.

When faced with many professional obstacles, I often felt disheartened or temporarily defeated. I had to chide myself to get back up, dust myself off, and get back in the arena. I have always longed for a nurse executive mentor to help guide my career; that wasn’t “a thing” when I became a registered nurse.

I had to seek out new opportunities for myself. I would suggest that any woman entrepreneur have a mentor and accountability partner to help guide and achieve established professional goals and milestones. Finally, believe in yourself, and never stop learning or developing your skillset. I push myself to attain new certifications to remain open to learning new things and remain educated on the ever-changing scenery and trends in healthcare.