Client: Captial Medical Center

Captial Medical Center

In the News

Publication: Patriot-News, The (Harrisburg, PA)
Author(s): M. DIANE McCORMICK For The Patriot-News
Date: October 20, 2011

New medical arts building will include surgery suite

With surgeons “steering the ship,” some midstate practitioners are defying the slow economy and partnering in a medical arts and ambulatory surgery building that will break ground in Susquehanna Twp. today. Schein Ernst Eye Associates is leading the development, joined by Stratis Gayner Plastic Surgery and podiatrist Dr. David Todoroff, of the 24,000-square-foot, single-story building on Capital Drive, off Kohn Road. Doctors have more control over procedures conducted in ambulatory surgery centers built for specialization than they do in generalized settings such as hospitals, said Schein Ernst’s Dr. Brett Ernst.

The new Capital Medical Center, slated to open next fall, will include space for ophthalmology, plastic surgery, podiatry and pain management practices.

Schein Ernst expects to employ 50 people at the center, including about 30 in new jobs.

Capital Medical Center Render Image

Schein Ernst helped pioneer midstate LASIK surgery and corneal transplants, and the practice anticipates performing laser cataract surgery when it’s available, Ernst said. The practice probably will move its Harrisburg office to the new center but keep its Lemoyne and Gettysburg offices open, Ernst said.

Stratis Gayner will relocate from Hampden Twp., and Todoroff will set up offices. All will perform surgery in the building’s Capital Surgery and Laser Center.

“These facilities that are more closely held with a few physicians who are steering the ship, I think, have the ability to create something that’s very difficult to create somewhere else in terms of quality,” Ernst said. “It’s very hard to create that scenario in a multi-doctor, huge space. Very hard.” Procedure costs are lower at ambulatory surgery centers than hospitals, Ernst said. A specialized medical center doesn’t add to overall health care costs because surgeons are investing in the $8 million for-profit project and taking the risks.

“By delivering that care in the most efficient way, the chances that I’ll save health care dollars are much greater than that I’ll create inefficiencies in the health care system,” Ernst said.

Pennsylvania’s freestanding ambulatory surgery centers, or ASCs, increased from 98 in 2001 to 266 in 2010, although growth slowed around 2009, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.

Statewide average operating and total margins for ASCs have been around 26 percent for three years, PHC4 reported in September.

ASC patients are less likely to receive Medicaid or have complicating conditions, Bussard said.

“If you’re serving a healthier population, your reimbursement is pretty reasonable,” she said. “You want some of those reasonable reimbursements to help offset the costs that hospitals do pay. Medicaid payments are woefully inadequate. You want a good mix of patients.” At stake are hospitals as community safety nets, she said.

“We used to have 190 general acute care hospitals” in Pennsylvania,” Bussard said. “Now we only have 165.” Ernst said that his longtime vision for a “center of excellence” in surgery jelled about six years ago, after the “like-minded” Dr. Gautam Mishra joined Schein Ernst. The slow economy’s “good news-bad news” scenario meant low interest rates and construction costs but high material costs.

Mayur Patel – the developer behind Harrisburg’s Lofts at 909- teamed with Bob Laughner, a builder experienced in medical facilities, to create Laughner Patel Developers and serve as the owner’s representative, managing the highly technical details of building a state-licensed ASC.

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