Supply chain issues have hampered progress at the Capital Region Medical Center’s new outpatient surgery center – the backup generator, for example, has been delayed three times – but the clinic is making progress and is expected to open in september.
Hospital administrators announced its $20 million investment in a 24,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center on the lower level of the hospital’s physician’s office building — in space that has been used as a parking lot ever since. McCarthy Building Companies, of St. Louis, completed construction about six years ago.
Administrators gave the Jefferson City News Tribune its first look at the center since construction began early last spring.
The new center, also being built by McCarthy, includes four full-service operating rooms, two endoscopy rooms, advanced imaging capabilities, and 24 pre- and post-operative procedure rooms. It also includes space for future growth (and a fifth operating room).
Access to outpatient care is growing across the country, said Darilyn Carpenter, acting director of surgical services, whom CRMC brought in to help organize the new center.
“Building this center is really an innovative position of CRMC,” she said. “To bring more access to patient care in this outpatient area.”
The center includes innovative technologies.
Staff are excited about opportunities to provide more services, she said.
“I think it’s going to open a lot of doors, with more access for patients,” Carpenter said. “When you create an ambulatory space like this, it’s so patient-centric…it creates efficiency. It’s easier for the patient to come in and have their procedures and go home faster and to start healing faster.”
The center is expected to employ 25 full-time staff, as well as doctors. When the center opens, it will use existing staff.
However, as the volume increases, the hospital will hire more staff, she said.
Volume is an important factor for the opening of the new facility, said Martin Grabanski, facilities manager at CRMC. The hospital, he said, already hosts an average of more than 1,000 daily patient visits.
“It took years to prepare,” CRMC president Gaspare Calvaruso said. “We started seeing volume pressures in 2017, maybe 2016.”
The hospital had begun to consider adding an operating room. However, the cost of adding an operating room was going to be significant. This would have involved renovating an existing space that was already in use, he said. And administrators would have had to move people and equipment.
Next, St. Louis-based SSM Health announced that it was in exclusive negotiations with MU Health Care regarding the sale of St. Mary’s Hospital to MU Health Care.
CRMC and MU Health Care have had a relationship for over two decades.
“We didn’t want to waste resources. If there was a hospital, there would be a lot of operating room space,” Calvaruso said. “We could create an outpatient experience and an inpatient experience.”
The delay was beneficial for CRMC, Calvaruso said, because it allowed the hospital to reevaluate the cost of expanding a surgical suite.
The directors realized they could create four new sequels for several million dollars more than just one would cost.
“It wasn’t a small number, but when it comes to strategy, growth and patient experience, it’s way better than an operating room,” Calvaruso said.