“On the road to success”: the local outpatient surgery center celebrates its first anniversary

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Surgical technician Kristen Dyer, left, and Dr Alejandro Miranda operated last week at the Steamboat Surgery Center.
Elisa Maines Photography / Courtesy Photo

A resident of Steamboat Springs for 25 years and avid cyclist for over 40 years, Butch Boucher had previously only had one common surgery in his life, and no stitches, before crashing into the head and shoulder on a gravel bike ride in July.

“The helmet was a nice thing to have,” said Boucher, 61, but the rider had to undergo surgery for third-degree AC separation in his right shoulder.

He chose to undergo the procedure in August at the Steamboat Surgery Center, which this month celebrates his first anniversary of service to the community.



The outpatient or outpatient surgery center offering orthopedic, pain management and spine procedures is a partnership between UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center and the Steamboat Orthopedic & Spine Institute, located upstairs in the same building as the surgery center on the first floor of Marketplace Plaza.

According to the leaders of the YVMC and SOSI, the surgery center offers another option of care for pre-planned elective surgeries that have been needed in the community for a long time. After the first surgery on September 9, 2020, the center is on a solid “road to success,” said Soniya Fidler, President of YVMC.



Wil Schlaff, CEO of the Steamboat Surgery Center, said the center was “right on target”.

Schlaff said 18 months is the normal start-up time for an outpatient surgery center, and despite initial construction and certification delays related to the pandemic, the center is seeing an increase in patient numbers every month. Doctors at the center currently perform up to 16 procedures on patients per day on the busiest days, and doctors performed 545 procedures at the center from 2021 to the end of August.

While patients or doctors can opt for orthopedic procedures at the YVMC, many patients have said in satisfaction surveys that they find the surgery center convenient and comfortable.

Although he is still an advocate for local hospitals, Boucher said he found the surgery center and his release to return home at 1 pm “more streamlined” and “seamless”.

“It’s not as complex as going to the hospital, but I think it’s just as professional,” Boucher said of the surgery center. “It seems more personal, and they specialize in what they do. This is what I needed. The more assets we have in the city that work for the people who live here, the better off we are. “

“The Steamboat Surgery Center partnership – formed between UCHealth and the physician owners of the Steamboat Orthopedic & Spine Institute – is committed to providing a great experience for patients close to home. Patients now have an additional and less expensive option for their orthopedic surgical care. “- Soniya Fidler and Wil Schlaff, joint statement

Schlaff said national studies show that the costs of procedures at outpatient surgery centers can be 40 to 60 percent cheaper than hospitals. He said the local surgery center has less overhead in supplies, less waste and more efficient preparations as it serves otherwise healthy patients for elective orthopedic procedures during weekday working hours.

On the other hand, the local hospital must be prepared for any emergency, surgery or trauma 24/7/365, Fidler said.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, procedures performed in outpatient surgery centers would cost Medicare 53% of the amount paid to hospital outpatient services.

Although complex orthopedic surgeries still take place at YVMC, more open windows in the operating rooms of the hospital after the opening of the surgery center created time for various other surgeries. Fidler said that comparing June 2020 to June 2021 alone, orthopedic surgeries at YVMC fell from 52% of overall surgeries to 30% after the new center opened. Fidler said doctors at UCHealth can now offer more varied surgeries at YVMC, such as breast reconstruction and procedures in ENT (ear, nose, throat), ophthalmology and urology.

“Although there has been a decrease in overall orthopedic volume (at the YVMC), overall operating room volumes have remained stable due to an increase in urology and general surgery cases, as well as additional plastic surgery and ENT procedures, ”said Lindsey Reznicek, YVMC communications specialist. . “It is also important to note that some orthopedic surgeons have been able to expand their surgical units in the hospital, giving even more patients the option of staying on site for orthopedic care.

Just as businesses in the hometown of Yampa Valley try to plug the drain of lost sales to larger communities and the Internet, the Steamboat Surgery Center and the extension of operating times at YVMC are working to attract more local and regional patients, Schlaff and Fidler confirmed. The 9,150 square foot global center has two operating theaters and nine pre- and post-operative bays.

Wil Schlaff, CEO of the Steamboat Surgery Center, and Soniya Fidler, president of UCHealth Yampa Medical Center, say the local outpatient surgery center marking one year of service this month has been needed in the community for a long time.
Suzie Romig / Steamboat Pilot and Today

To find out how much a specific surgery can cost a patient in costs not covered by insurance, patients can use the UCHealth online billing estimator then request a cost comparison at the Steamboat Surgery Center.

Boucher said he tore a ligament in his hand last year while skiing, so when his shoulder heals he plans to return for another procedure at the outpatient surgery center.


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