URMC Unveils Upstate New York’s Largest Ambulatory Surgery Center

Patient-Focused Center Responds to Continued Growth in Outpatient Procedures

July 30, 2009

OperationThe University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) will celebrate the opening of upstate New York’s largest hospital-affiliated ambulatory surgery center 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 30, with a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony. URMC Surgery Center features 10 operating suites and three procedure rooms equipped with advanced technology for optimal care, and spacious facilities for enhanced comfort and privacy for patients and families.

URMC launched plans for the Center three years ago, as growth in specialty care placed more pressure on Strong Memorial’s existing operating suites for urgent, high-acuity inpatient procedures. Meanwhile, thanks to emerging, minimally invasive technologies, improved anesthesia techniques and other innovations, many procedures that once required hospital stays can now be done as outpatient surgeries. In 1980, about 10 percent of Strong Memorial Hospital’s surgeries were ambulatory procedures; by 2005, about 50 percent of surgeries were done as outpatient procedures, making it URMC’s fastest growing clinical activity. 

“As the largest provider of surgeries in the region, developing an outpatient surgery center with the latest technology, focused on the highest standard of care, was a natural next step for the University to take,” said University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. “This Surgery Center is the careful blend of high-tech innovation and patient-friendly accessibility that is the hallmark of the Medical Center’s Strategic Plan.”

“The growth of tertiary and quaternary specialty care at URMC placed increasing demands on the hospital’s 33 existing operating rooms, forcing ambulatory surgeries to either wait or move to other outpatient centers,” said URMC Acting CEO Mark B. Taubman, M.D. “Cases were routinely scheduled throughout the day and into the evening, often at times that were inconvenient for patients. Plus, the backlog of cases made it difficult to upgrade, renovate or expand the existing operating suites.”

URMC partnered with local real estate developer Castle Office Group, LLC, to develop the 80,000-square-foot medical facility at 180 Sawgrass Drive, off Westfall Road in Brighton. URMC Surgery Center’s first floor includes 52,000 square feet devoted to patient care, including operating and procedures rooms, 43 private pre- and post-anesthesia cubicles, 10 post-anesthesia bays, a pharmacy, and facilities for sterile equipment processing. Each patient cubicle has a portable monitoring unit that travels with the patient to the operating room and the recovery area.

The second floor accommodates the Surgery Center’s administrative and staff needs, and will also be home to URMC’s Pain Treatment Center and Division of Colorectal Surgery, opening in August and September respectively, and Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy Center slated to open in January 2010.

Michael Maloney
Michael Maloney, M.D. in one of the operating suites at the new URMC Surgery Center.

“With demands on the hospital’s operating rooms and growth in ambulatory cases, it was clear that we needed to quickly address the issue with a patient-focused solution, which meant getting patients in for their procedure on schedule, and home – where they want to be – as quickly, safely and effectively as possible,” Michael Maloney, M.D., medical director of the Surgery Center. An orthopaedic surgeon, Maloney attributes the rise in outpatient procedures to innovations in minimally invasive techniques coupled with a growing baby boomer population eager to stay active despite their aging joints.

“Outpatient surgical centers have defined a new standard of care that patients have come to expect,” Maloney said. “We are adopting that model to optimize care and service for patients. Because we’ll be performing only elective, pre-scheduled surgeries, we won’t be forced to shift schedules to accommodate emergencies. This will allow us to operate efficiently and be more sensitive to the needs of our patients and their family members.”

While area surgery centers have an average of four operating rooms, URMC’s 10, plus its three procedure rooms, make it currently the largest center in New York state, outside of the New York City region. At 43, the ratio of pre- and post-op cubicles to operating rooms was carefully designed to assure efficient scheduling while accommodating patients’ privacy and comfort.

URMC Surgery Center will open its doors to patients on August 10, and anticipates 8,500 procedures will be completed at the center in its first year, including orthopaedic, otolaryngology and plastic surgery cases, as well as some colorectal procedures. By its third year, the Center’s capacity could reach 18,000 procedures annually.

The Surgery Center’s spacious facilities – with 625-square-foot operating rooms and procedure rooms measuring 400 square feet – are nearly double their in-hospital counterparts. Operating rooms are equipped with the latest anesthesia, monitoring, and high-definition video devices that are boom-mounted on the ceiling, freeing up floor space for surgical staff and allowing for more efficient transitions between cases. Each room is computerized for electronic medical records. One operating room is outfitted to videotape procedures for teaching purposes. The procedure rooms will accommodate cases that do not require general anesthesia, such as minor hand surgery. One procedure room is specifically equipped for colorectal procedures.

In partnership Castle Office Group, LLC, the Medical Center toured similar facilities across the country and engaged Michigan-based consulting firm D.J. Sullivan to create an interior layout based on their experience developing surgery centers in other locations. Hanlon Architects designed the building, which was built under the direction of LeChase Construction.

President Seligman lauded the collaborative effort that brought the Center to fruition. “Even amid the fiscal pressures of the last several months, there was never a question that construction of this facility would continue because it is so necessary to our community’s health care delivery system and so crucial to the University’s role as our region’s economic engine,” Seligman said.

The Center’s opening created 95 jobs, which will grow to 126 when the facility is at capacity. In addition, on any given day over more than a year, 100 construction workers were on site, nearly all of them local laborers.

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