TWIN FALLS • St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center may have broken ground on its new outpatient surgery center last week, but it’s an addition seven years in the making.
This year, St. Luke’s has seen a 33 percent increase in outpatient surgeries or a total of 6,500 outpatient cases a year. This summer alone, 12 new physicians and 13 non-physician providers joined the staff. Combine that with population growth, increased out-of-state patients, an influx of 60 new physicians since 2011 — a quarter of them surgeons — and the 20,500-square-foot building that was part of St. Luke’s master plan is now a necessity.
“It’s growing and we can’t meet all the needs here,” said Debbie Kytle, St. Luke’s Magic Valley administrator of physician services. “It truly warrants its own space.”
The estimated cost is $16.5 million for the outpatient surgery center and equipment.
“We want to make sure that with the growth we are seeing in this region, that we are meeting the needs of the community,” Kytle said. “As we recruit new physicians, we want to make sure they have great office space.”
The state-of-the-art building will have five operating rooms all dedicated to ambulatory outpatient surgery. It will also feature convenient parking and a waiting room. It will be on the east end of St. Luke’s 40-acre property across the street from Castle’s Corner.
When patients come to St. Luke’s for outpatient surgery they are often mixed with patients from the Intensive Care Unit.
“It’s not geared for the outpatient,” said Dr. Russell Mayes, Chief of Surgery, Division Medical Director of Surgical Practices. “You are mixing healthy adults and children with people from ICU or trauma. This will give them their own environment. That is our goal, to give a great experience.”
There are 10 operation rooms in the main hospital, with one specifically for urology, but with the demand so high, scheduling surgeries can often be a challenge.
“This new surgery center opens up more capacity for those people who have more urgent needs, are acutely ill or require inpatient stay,” Kytle said.
Because of limited space, many surgeries have been scheduled at Sawtooth Surgery Center in Twin Falls, St. Luke’s Jerome Medical Center, St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center and North Canyon Medical Center in Gooding.
“We are having a difficult time finding blocks of time for surgeons,” she said.
But even after the center opens next year, surgeries will be performed at these locations to accommodate patients. However, the Twin Falls outpatient surgery center will be considered the centerpiece of the outpatient campus.
“We provide great service in our main hospital, but it’s not tailored for outpatient surgeries,” Kytle said. “We’ve definitely seen a trend nationally in outpatient surgery centers.”
Mayes, a nose, throat and ear specialist, said about 90 percent of the surgeries he performs are outpatient surgeries. Outpatient surgeries are preferred over traditional overnight stays in the hospital, he said. That’s because they cut the cost of care, are more patient friendly and decrease the possibility of infection.
“We can help keep a healthy person from staying a night and risking infection,” he said.
Mayes trained at a large hospital in Detroit that had an outpatient surgery center attached.
“It’s taken time, but we are there,” he said. “We are at the point to provide that.”
Another Option for Quick Medical Care
A new business expected to open in the new year will offer the public affordable and quick medical care.
Urgent Care of Twin Falls held its groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 2 and is expected to be open by Jan. 31.
The new 4,800-square-foot facility is located at the old Sonic Drive-In location on east Addison next to Harley Davidson at 2398 Addison Ave. in Twin Falls.
It will be open seven days a week.
Andrew J. DiPietro, project manager, said the owner also has quick care locations in Burley and Jerome.
“It will be an alternate place for people to go for quick care medical services,” he said.
Bringing the Medical Campus Together
In November, North Canyon Medical Center will begin construction on a 33,000-square-foot medical office building.
The new addition will connect to the west side of the existing facility and is scheduled to open next November. The $10 million addition will move many patient services to one location, enhance access to patient parking and increase space for current and future programs.
A groundbreaking will take place from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at 267 North Canyon Drive in Gooding.
Many services have been off campus because there simply wasn’t enough room, Amundson said.
Gooding Family Physicians will move to the hospital campus from its current location on Fourth Ave. A new state-of-the-art therapy center for physical, occupational and speech therapy center will expand its therapy services. A permanent MRI machine will be added to offer daily and emergency MRI services. There will be a dedicated space for the growing wound center and expansion of the specialty clinic to provide room for additional visiting specialists.
The mobile MRI unit is in town only three days each week. So if there is an emergency on a day it’s not in Gooding, patients are sent out of town.
“We just watched the growth of the MRI services that is something that is advantageous to have on site every single day,” she said. “When we have the new addition built, we will have the permanent MRI built.”
And though there hasn’t been an influx of population to the area, more people are taking advantage of the services provided by North Canyon Medical Center. Besides Gooding County, the center also serves patients who live in Lincoln County, Camas County and King Hill.
“The more we offer the community we serve, the more it brings them here,” said Shellie Amundson, director of community relations. “If you look at Gooding County, we are isolated off the interstate and we do serve an elderly population and a lot don’t have transportation to go out of town. We do have quite a bit of trauma that comes to our emergency room.”
About 10 to 15 specialty doctors visit North Canyon Medical Center once a month or once a week.
“We would love to have dermatology or rheumatology,” Amundson said. “But even for us to consider that, we need the space.”