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Construction starts on surgery center at HMC

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The undeveloped, 12,000-square-foot space near the ground floor lobby of Henry Medical Center's North Tower will find its purpose within the next few months.

The hospital is constructing a new Outpatient Surgery Center, which will be worth $2.4 million in renovation and equipment costs, according to Henry Medical Center President and CEO Charlie Scott.

Scott said the Milwaukee, Wis.-based specialty firm, AMB (American Medical Buildings) Development Group will complete architectural plans, oversee construction and work with hospital staff on planning and preparation of the center, which is scheduled to open in 2011.

"That space was originally planned for a radiation oncology facility," Scott said. "We realized that it would be much better to have that [radiation oncology] facility in a free-standing building. And this space turned out to be an outstanding location for the outpatient surgery center."

Scott said construction on the center should be completed by December, though the center is expected to open for business in March 2011. The renovation will be the latest such project for the hospital's five-story North Tower, which opened in November 2006. The renovation, he added, will be paid for with funds from the hospital's Fiscal Year 2011 Capital Budget for equipment and facility renovation and construction.

The chief executive officer said planning that began in March 2010 calls for the construction of two operating rooms with space for a self-contained facility, with the ability to add two more operating rooms in the future. The center, he said, would have the potential to almost double the hospital's surgical capacity.

"Currently, we have six operating rooms and what's called a procedure room, and those rooms are pretty much at full capacity," Scott said. "One of the results is that we will free up some capacity in the current operating rooms to allow for growth in total surgical procedures."

Scott said the hospital recorded a total surgery volume, in 2009, of 8,160 cases, ranging from surgery in gynecology and orthopedics to neuro-surgery.

"This surgery center will provide our community with the best-in-class outpatient, surgical services in an efficient, patient-focused environment," he said. "It will offer the benefits of a dedicated outpatient surgical facility, but with all the resources of a full-service hospital immediately available. Initially, we'll be doing ear, nose and throat surgical procedures, as well as general surgery. Over time, we'll add other types of surgery to the center."