If you were an insurance company, would you rather pay for a patient spending three or four days in the hospital — or three or four hours?
With Monday’s opening of Surgery Center at Grove, Meadville Medical
Center is taking a giant, brightly-colored step into a future where the bottom line is calculated in hours instead of days and an ever-increasing number of surgical procedures is being performed on an outpatient basis.
“Funding was the biggest impetus to go toward outpatient surgery,” Sharon Tolbert, manager of the center, said as Meadville Medical Center staff toured the new facility before it opens its doors to patients for the first time on Monday. “The health care industry sort of started that whole trend.”
It isn’t just about money, Tolbert, who’s also a registered nurse, was
quick to add. “Drugs have also improved, so you can give someone an anesthetic and have them awake, respond and recover — to be able to go home. At one time, that wasn’t as possible as it is now.” Ditto for surgical techniques
Beverly Kantz, manager of
the center’s postoperative section, agreed. Thirty years ago, for example, a cataract patient
would spend five to seven days in the hospital — with sandbags immobilizing the patient’s head while healing took place. “Now, it’s stop, get it done and go — in two hours,” she said.
Plans for the $10-million, 17,500-square foot addition to MMC’s Grove Street facility, which stands on Grove between Pine and Poplar streets, were announced in the spring of 2008.
“The goal was obviously to upgrade what services we already had to make the facility newer and better while moving toward our goal of providing state-of-the-art surgeries,” Tolbert explained. “We’ll now have a center to showcase that.”