Our View: Surgery center is needed here

 


We’ll admit we were skeptical about if the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County’s proposed ambulatory surgery center is truly the necessity it was billed as when hospital officials approached the county about their project earlier this year.

After all, the hospital has been the site of ambitious renovation and expansion work since 2008, with its most recent construction project, the medical office building we paid for through the Sixth Penny Tax, opening a year ago.

However, during the hospital board’s presentation last week about options it’s exploring to pay for the $43 million building, that skepticism faded. The fact of the matter is, we need this addition at MHSC.

According to the people most involved in surgery, the surgeons themselves, the surgery center would help improve surgery conducted at the hospital in a number of ways. Because of the singular use of the center, infection rates for surgeries decrease. When someone goes to a hospital, there are a wide variety of issues they may be afflicted by. Some of those, of course, involve infectious diseases, which can spread in a hospital setting. In an ambulatory surgery center, the singular use of the building cuts down on potential infections, therefore improving patient outcomes. Local surgeons are calling ambulatory surgery centers the future of surgery.


The surgery center will also improve the level of care given by MHSC. Smaller, less serious surgeries won’t be postponed as a result of serious cases bumping the schedule, as is done now. Residents undergoing same-day surgery will be able to undergo the procedure without worrying about possible postponements, allowing them to not get anxious about the surgery, then get it held off for a day or two and undergo the same anxiousness later on.

Residents will also appreciate the fact that procedures performed at ambulatory surgery centers result in lower procedural co-pays than the same procedure performed at a hospital. Due to the other advantages ambulatory surgery centers offer, United Healthcare Systems plans to offer incentives to encourage their customers to utilize ambulatory surgery centers. Jerry Klein, CEO of MHSC, says it will only be a matter of time before other insurers offer similar incentives to their customers.

There are many more reasons allowing construction of an ambulatory surgery center, but above all else, it gives the residents of Sweetwater County the healthcare they deserve without driving to Salt Lake City. 

 

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