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Presbyterian working on new outpatient surgery centers

Clay Holderman, COO and executive vice president for Presbyterian

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Presbyterian Healthcare Services is making headway on a pair of surgery centers that the healthcare provider expects to reduce wait times for in-patient and out-patient surgeries alike.

Presbyterian is moving an existing surgery center operated by New Mexico Orthopaedics to its Kaseman Hospital campus, at 8300 Constitution Ave. NE. The new center will occupy a larger space where doctors can treat patients suffering from a wide variety of orthopedic and podiatry ailments. Meanwhile, the space being vacated will be converted to a more general surgery center focused on all types of outpatient care.

Clay Holderman, chief operating officer and executive vice president for Presbyterian, said the new facilities will be among the first of their kind in New Mexico, and should result in fewer patients using hospitals for outpatient surgery.

Once the two facilities open in early 2020, Holderman said he expects them to move around 22,000 outpatient surgeries from those hospitals to dedicated surgery centers, cutting wait times at Presbyterian’s increasingly crowded hospitals.

“These less complex, faster cases will be easier to access,” Holderman said Friday.

Ambulatory surgery centers, separate facilities that handle outpatient and elective surgeries rather than emergency care, are gaining popularity across the country. A study from the health policy journal Health Affairs notes that the number of outpatient surgeries nationwide grew nearly tenfold between 1981 and 2005.

The study concludes that ambulatory surgery centers are able to offer outpatient surgery at a lower cost than traditional hospitals, with surgeries taking more than a half-hour less at surgery centers on average.

“… The findings in this article indicate that ASCs are a high-quality, lower-cost substitute for hospitals as venues for outpatient surgery,” the study reads.

However, Holderman said the approach has been slow to take off in New Mexico. The model makes sense for Presbyterian, as a care provider that also acts as an insurance provider, to reduce cost for patients.

“Many health systems won’t disrupt themselves,” Holderman said. “That’s really what we’re doing here.”

The Kaseman center will be 35,600 square feet, with 11 operating rooms and five procedure rooms. Holderman said the facility has more rooms than most centers of its kind in the Southwest. The surgery center at Presbyterian’s downtown hospital will be 20,650 square feet, with eight operating rooms and a single procedure room.

Presbyterian is also planning to build a new ambulatory surgery at Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho. Holderman said that center is slated to open in early 2021.


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