Surgery Center

Thanks to the hard work of many key people and the encouragement of local Doctors, patients, insurance providers, and industry; Dublin and Middle Georgia now have a state of the art outpatient Orthopaedic Surgical Center. While some may mourn the loss of a great dove hunting field on Moore Station Road, many more are excited about having access to a friendly, patient-centered facility right here in Dublin!

It appears that the Doctors and Nurses at Dublin Orthopaedics ASC are determined to reverse the trend towards increasingly impersonal corporate controlled medical care and get back to the kind of relationships and service that both the providers and consumers of health care want and deserve. They feel that local ownership of such a facility means local control. Such control allows genuine responsiveness to the needs of their patients and the surrounding community. Local ownership also means that Middle-Georgia healthcare dollars stay in the local economy generating even more jobs, goods, and services for the people of Middle Georgia.

When asked about the difficulty of going against the current trends in healthcare, both Drs. Price and Peters of Dublin Orthopaedics agreed that it has not been easy, but felt that it would be worth the effort in the long run. Dr. Price pointed out that they were both trained to put the interest of the patient first and foremost and that now-days about the only way you could do that was to run your own facility. Dr. Peters agreed and pointed out that in many situations Doctors now essentially worked for large absentee corporate interests and that it was "impossible to serve two masters".

There is of course a lot more to opening an outpatient surgery center than just building a building and scheduling cases. In Georgia there are CON laws that control what type of facilities can be built. There are even ways for competing interests to try to slow down or in some cases even stop the building of the facility in order to limit patient choices. After state approval is obtained and plans are reviewed and approved by the state, the state architect and the state fire marshal, you have to choose a construction company that is capable of constructing such a facility and meeting all of the requirements. Dr. Peters pointed out that in planning the project they made an effort to choose local people and local companies to do the work whenever possible. Dr. Price agreed, pointing out that many locally owned companies participated in the project, including Farmers State Bank, Dublin Construction Company, Architect David Woodburn, and numerous area subcontractors who all pulled together to overcome the challenges and complexities. You then have to hire and train staff and again get state approval to open. Then comes more inspectors from both the state and Medicare. That's all you have to do legally to get started, but many centers including Dublin Orthopaedic ASC, undergo voluntary inspections by other certifying bodies. By opening without much fanfare back in May of 2007, the center was able to start out slowly and carefully focusing on patient safety and satisfaction first, then gradually adding more complex services.

Though patient safety and satisfaction are always the primary concern, the ever increasing costs of medical and especially surgical care are also important factors. By focusing on Orthopaedics and interventional blocks at the facility, the Physicians and Nurses at, the Surgery Center have been able to improve the processes of surgical services leading to considerable cost and time savings in many cases. Duplication of services and charges are also avoided. By operating their own surgical center, Dublin Orthopaedics now has new flexibility in negotiating fair and reasonable charges with both individuals and businesses. Dr. Price noted that individuals and businesses want to know how much a procedure is going to cost. In the past, this has been surprisingly hard for the payer or even the treating physician to determine. In the traditional hospital setting, the surgeon has little or no control over the majority of charges involved in carrying out a procedure. There are not only charges levied by the facility, but are also charges by many other entities that may participate in the patient's care as required by the facility. Some examples are independent radiologists, anesthesiologists, anesthetists, pharmacists, emergency room physicians, physicians employed by the hospital, as well as numerous other possible contractors. Many patients and businesses feel overwhelmed just trying to figure out all the bills coming from so many different directions. This is especially true for the person with a medical savings account or the business that selfinsures its Worker's Compensation costs. The payer wants to know what is necessary to get the procedure done safely and effectively and how many of the other charges can be reasonably eliminated. Dr. Peters pointed out that running their own facility and negotiating directly with individuals, business leaders, and insurance companies has been an interesting learning process. He stated that they had become much more aware of the challenges facing businesses and individuals in the current environment and had really enjoyed working with people to streamline the process and eliminate waste and duplication of charges. He explained that we all have a stake 'in insuring that our local businesses can compete with foreign markets by keeping their medical costs reasonable. This helps keep good paying jobs with benefits available in our community.

The Doctors were quick to point out that not all cases are appropriate for outpatient surgical centers and some require the use of an inpatient hospital setting. They both agreed that a hospital is the best place for critically ill, unstable patients, or patients with various risk factors having certain types of outpatient procedures. Additionally, they both felt that there are many situations where there is just no substitute for a locally run community hospital.

Congratulations, to the Physicians, Nurses, and staff of Dublin Orthopaedics and Dublin Orthopaedics Ambulatory Surgery Center for their outstanding work in planning, building and operating their new state of the art Surgical Center on Moore Station Road. The community has benefited not only from having the new facility as a cost effective option for Orthopaedic outpatient surgery, but also from the jobs and business created by the Center's ongoing commitment to buy and build locally whenever possible.