We had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Patterson, President and CEO of Mississippi Valley Surgery Center (MVSC), in a recent podcast. Our conversation with Michael uncovered so many new discoveries, including COVID-19 procedures MVSC has implemented to ensure the health, safety and well-being of its patients and staff, how software has sped the intake process and the rise in popularity of ambulatory surgery centers.
MVSC’s Response to COVID-19
MVSC’s Medical Plaza encompasses two surgery centers – an endoscopy center and a surgery center. MVSC’s initial response to COVID-19 was to close the endoscopy center for two months and only perform urgent surgeries at the surgery center. Like most healthcare providers, gaining access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and responding to staff concerns about treating patients in a COVID environment were top priorities.
In addition, MVSC immediately adopted new screening and surgical procedures to increase the safety of its patients and staff, including:
- testing all patients for COVID prior to surgery. If a patient tests positive, they wait 30 days from when they were first tested before undergoing surgery.
- scheduling urgent surgeries at the end of the day. This happens when a patient requires surgery without delay, but there isn’t enough time to test the patient and receive results before surgery.
- modifying their waiting room to reduce the number of people standing in line to check-in. All patients, staff, providers, and reps now enter through a dedicated room where they are screened for temperature, complete a questionnaire, and a patients’ pulse ox is taken.
- restricting visitors unless the patient is a minor. If the patient is a minor, only one visitor can accompany the patient in the facility.
Turning Challenges into Opportunities
MVSC is physician-driven, which means patients must consult their doctor before scheduling their procedure. While MVSC is operating five days a week, patients have been choosing to wait longer to make an appointment with their provider as they are more cautious about scheduling elective surgeries. As a result, MVSC has experienced a downturn in the volume of surgeries performed.
On the upside, MVSC’s patient satisfaction scores are rising. MVSC staff believe this increase is due to their ability to spend more time on their patients and less time accommodating family members. However, to ensure a patient’s loved ones are informed of their progress through surgery, MVSC launched an application that allows approved individuals to receive a consistent stream of updates.
Technology has also changed the pre-op process. Before COVID, patients would typically visit MVSC’s facility before the day of surgery. The patient would then have the option to either complete a pre-op health history form online or with a nurse in-person. Most preferred to answer questions in-person. Now, utilization of the online form is over 60% (up from 20%). As a result, MVSC is spending more time on the phone educating patients about what they can expect leading up to their surgery, how the day of their procedure will go and all the COVID safety measures the facility has implemented.
The Rise of Ambulatory Surgery Centers
Advancements in both surgical and pharmacological technology have allowed ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) like MVSC to perform advanced procedures in an outpatient setting. For example, total joint surgeries that were once done in a hospital and required a multiple-day stay can now be performed in an ASC, and the patient can go home within a 24-hour period. Another industry trend has been to transition cardiology from the traditional hospital setting to an ASC. With a complete cath lab onsite, MVSC can perform these procedures at their complex.
Convenience and cost savings are additional benefits to patients. At the MVSC, patients can park and be just steps away from the front door without having to navigate through a complex hospital facility. And while hospitals are vital to the nation’s healthcare, Medicare reimburses ASCs 50% of the amount a hospital receives for performing the same procedure. A study conducted by the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association found that ASCs save employers and consumers tens of billions of dollars a year.
Preparing for the Future
To accommodate for innovations in healthcare, MVSC has made significant transformations to its complex. For example, bay areas that were once wide open are now private recovery rooms. MVSC also modernized the flow of its buildings to maximize the efficiency of its staff and the patient flow. Bush Construction has had the honor of being involved in several of these projects.
About Mississippi Valley Surgery Center
Mississippi Valley Surgery Center was founded in 1996 by a group of physicians and has grown exponentially into one of the preeminent surgery centers in the Midwest. Currently, MVSC is the only advanced certified AAAHC Orthopedic and Spine ambulatory surgery center in the state of Iowa. MVSC specialties include orthopedics, ENT, gastroenterology, pain, ophthalmology, cataract surgeries, plastic surgery, general surgery and more.