WDH announces plans to build an ambulatory surgery center in Somersworth
In an effort to provide a location for more cost-effective, outpatient surgical services for area residents, the Wentworth-Douglass Health System has formed a new company called Wentworth Surgical Center, LLC. The new company will become a joint venture with qualified investors (physicians, podiatrists and dentists) and lease a 6,500 sq. ft. building from The Works Family Health & Fitness Center to be built this year. Construction is anticipated to begin in mid-summer with completion in late 2013 or early 2014.
The decision to build an ambulatory surgery center is the result of the insurance industry directing their members to ambulatory surgery centers where the cost of providing certain procedures (that do not require an inpatient stay) is less than similar surgery in a hospital where 24/7 staffing requirements and overhead costs are higher.
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital President & CEO Gregory Walker, FACHE, said the Hospital has recently experienced a decline in outpatient surgery volume due to the insurance industry’s reaction to healthcare reform’s strong focus on cost reduction.
In a letter sent to employees Walker said,
“Over the past two years, Wentworth-Douglass leadership has been speaking about the impact of healthcare and payment reform and the need for our organization to be prepared for change. Change has come quickly. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and its effects are being felt in hospitals across the nation, in New Hampshire, and at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
“Our recent declines in surgical volume are the result of the insurance industry directing their members to ambulatory surgery centers. Patients are being sent to centers outside our service area for their care, leaving our Hospital and our specialists. In an effort to recapture this lost volume and keep patients and their care in our community, we are developing an Ambulatory Surgery Center for the Strafford County area to be built in Somersworth.”
The Wentworth Surgical Center will feature two operating rooms to provide a wide array of surgical and procedural services. Cases performed at ambulatory surgery centers are strictly regulated, generally are under 90 minutes with anticipated recovery times less than four hours. The overall health of the patient is also a factor in determining eligibility for surgery at an ambulatory surgery center.
The next steps in the project include finalizing the design and approval of required permits from the City of Somersworth.
In the conclusion of his letter to employees Walker said, “With the help and support of team members like you, I believe our health system is well prepared to adapt to ambulatory surgery and other changes in the healthcare marketplace while maintaining our leadership role in the Seacoast for cost-effective, quality care, and exceptional patient service.”