TRAVERSE CITY – Tina Piotrowski was part of the Northwest Michigan Surgery Center even before she set up its supply closet shelves and built carts for its operating rooms.
She was involved when physicians at Munson Medical Center started to notice the busy hospital had little room for patients who scheduled elective surgeries.
“Munson was experiencing a lot of growth, and a lot of the growth they were experiencing was for patients that needed overnight care,” said Piotrowski, clinical director of Northwest Michigan Surgery Center. “A lot of the patients that could have their procedures done and go home the same day were having to get scheduled later in the day. It was really putting extra stress on an already full operating room schedule at Munson.”
Those physicians partnered with Munson to start the Northwest Michigan Surgery Center where they could do elected surgeries, such as hernia repairs, and free-up space at the hospital.
“Our rule is that we get people in and out,” said LoAnn Vande Leest, surgery center CEO. “They’re on time, they go home, they recover, they’re happy.”
The Northwest Michigan Surgery Center is celebrating 10 years in business on April 24 and should see its 100,000th patient in July. It’s adding two more operating rooms and may start to offer more spine surgeries and longer patient stays. It was named one of the top five surgery centers in the country, has a $17.4 million budget and 80 practicing physicians.
Surgery centers are a growing trend in the healthcare field, said Lynn Perry Wooten, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. They are efficient, let patients spend more time at home, ease strains on hospitals and may reduce infection rates by separating surgery patients from sick patients.
Patients can’t go to surgery centers for diagnostic or non-surgical procedures and aren’t allowed to stay more than 23 hours.