ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A pair of new surgery centers with a different approach to outpatient surgery opened in Albuquerque this month.
The first of Presbyterian Healthcare Services’ two ambulatory surgery centers opened on the Kaseman Hospital campus, 8300 Constitution NE. The second opened at Presbyterian Hospital earlier this week.
Hospital leaders are optimistic the new surgery centers, with a simplified footprint allowing doctors to exclusively focus on relatively straightforward outpatient procedures, will reduce time and expense for patients and free up space in hospitals to accommodate more complex, emergency surgeries.
“We’re able to run a leaner operation here,” said Patrick Mulkey, a doctor with Presbyterian who specializes in reconstructive orthopedic surgery.
Staff at the Kaseman Hospital location, the larger of the two facilities, completed the center’s first surgical case Feb. 6.
The $2.7-million center is a partnership between Presbyterian, New Mexico Orthopaedic Associates and United Surgical Partners International Inc., a Texas-based organization that works on similar facilities across the country.
The Kaseman facility has 11 operating rooms and five procedure rooms, according to Francie John, interim administrator and regional vice president for the center. John said the space is divided into two wings: one focused on podiatry and joint surgery, and the second focused on spinal care and pain management. The center also has a small area for overnight recoveries that will be available to patients within the next several weeks.
At Presbyterian and across the country, the number of outpatient surgeries has risen sharply over the last several decades. According to a study from the health policy journal Health Affairs, the number of outpatient surgeries nationwide grew nearly tenfold between 1981 and 2005. Mulkey said this jump in outpatient surgeries has contributed to crowding at several Presbyterian hospitals, including the Downtown facility and Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho.
Mulkey said the two centers are expected to perform around 22,000 surgeries annually, ranging from arthroscopic knee and ankle surgery to podiatry — procedures that would otherwise take place at a hospital. Because the new centers don’t focus on complicated, emergency surgeries, they carry less overhead than a traditional hospital.
Mulkey said this can save patients money, potentially as much as 40% compared to the national average for comparable surgeries, according to Eric Boon, market president for United Surgical Partners International.
Mulkey added it also takes less time to complete surgeries and get rooms ready between patients.
“That really does benefit everybody,” he said.
Presbyterian is also planning a third surgery center using the same model at Rust Medical Center, which is expected to open in 2021.