MEDARVA Moving Forward with West Creek Surgery Center

MEDARVA moving forward with surgery center

After fighting with the state for two years, Medarva Healthcare has received approval from the Virginia Department of Health to build its West Creek Surgery Center in Goochland County.

To be built within Medarva’s existing medical office building in the West Creek Medical Park, the 25,000-square-foot surgery center will include two operating rooms that will be relocated from the company’s existing Stony Point Surgery Center in Richmond.

The decision to relocate the operating rooms came after the Department of Health denied the company’s initial Certificate of Public Need application, which would have involved building the surgery center with two new operating rooms but maintaining the same number at Stony Point.

The company received word on Nov. 1 that its latest application had been approved.

President and CEO Bruce Kupper said reducing the number of operating rooms at Stony Point was worthwhile if it meant opening the West Creek Surgery Center.

“We’ll be able to manage the volume in both places,” he said.

Stony Point Surgery Center is an outpatient facility through which surgeons can perform procedures on patients without them going to a hospital. The West Creek Surgery Center will function in the same way.

Construction will start on the new surgery center within the next few weeks and wrap up in the spring. The medical office building in which it will be located was constructed in 2015 with Medarva holding a master lease over the entire 65,000-square-foot facility.

Kupper said the overall cost of the surgery center will be around $15 million or $16 million.

The impetus to create the new surgery center came as the activity at Stony Point Surgery Center reached its limit.

“We had reached capacity here at Stony Point, and we could not add more operating rooms here due to parking issues and the fact that we’re up against the medical office building,” he said.

Goochland County was ideal for expansion, Kupper said, and West Creek especially because of its proximity to major roads, including state Route 288 and Interstate 64.

According to a press release, Medarva spent more than 1,000 hours of staff time and in excess of $300,000 in legal and other fees during the Certificate of Public Need — or COPN — process. It submitted its first application in January 2015.

Under the COPN system, new medical facilities have to be reviewed and approved by the state before they can move forward, and it has been the subject of debate by health care stakeholders.

“I think the way the COPN process is currently constructed and interpreted, it’s really designed to protect the acute care hospital franchises,” Kupper said. “It does not acknowledge the changing reimbursement insurance models, where patients are now on the hook for a higher portion of their cost.

“I do not think it recognizes the quality that a freestanding ambulatory surgery center can offer in terms of low infection rates, high service, the safety of patients and the safety of staff.”

Kupper said that, if the COPN process continues to exist in Virginia, then the regulators should change their mindsets “in terms of how they look at the world.”

The process was originally designed around the idea that a bed built was a bed filled, he added.

“But the fact that so many hospitals have so many empty (operating rooms) tells me that philosophy is no longer true,” he said. “So controlling capacity is no longer controlling costs.”

Source: MEDARVA moving forward with new West Creek Surgery Center