The next time you need surgery, you may not be headed to a hospital. Each year millions of procedures are performed in specialized, ambulatory surgery centers. Kathy Fairfax is director of Lee Memorial Health System’s Outpatient Surgery Center.
“Here to greet the patients as early as six o’clock in the morning.”
The model is simple. The health system provides the location, equipment and assisting professionals. Individual surgeons book their procedures and get a turnkey operation.
“This is a great opportunity for them as well, and consistently the physicians work with the same staff,” says Fairfax.
Surgeon Darren Miter performs a large share of his laparoscopic surgeries here.
“Patients who are planning on doing an outpatient surgery such as gallbladder surgery, hernia surgery, removal of skin lesions, soft tissue masses things like that are very conducive for the Outpatient Surgery Center.”
There is an upward trend toward using surgery centers. It works well for doctors, but national surveys show patients are the overall winners.
A study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found one in four Medicare patients have used a surgery center, 98% reported it was a good experience. The reasons stated were: less paperwork, lower costs, convenient parking, friendly staff, comfortable setting and no waiting. Up to 95% of surgeries start on time.
“The surgery center does not have an ER attached to it so an emergency appendectomy, etcetera, doesn’t happen to come in and disrupt the schedule,” says Dr. Miter.The more frequent procedures are: breast surgeries, urological, gastrointestinal and gynecological procedures. All allowing the patient to go home the same day.