The University Record, September 25, 2000

Regents approve construction of surgery center

By Jane R. Elgass

The Regents approved construction of the East Ann Arbor Surgery Center and Clinics at their September meeting.

The facility, to be located adjacent to the existing East Ann Arbor Health Center at the intersection of Plymouth and Earhart roads, will have approximately 178,000 gross square feet for an ambulatory surgery center with six operating rooms and four procedure rooms, as well as clinical programs and radiology services. The building also will include café facilities and public amenities. Site improvements include addding parking spaces and moving the entrance road.

The Surgery Center will make it possible for the U-M Health System to improve patient satisfaction and the timeliness and quality of care for ambulatory surgical patients. At the same time, the new facility will help surgeons be more efficient and effective in meeting patient needs, as well as the needs of medical students and residents. The project also will free up operating rooms at University Hospital for more complex inpatient surgery cases.

“Health care in the United States continues to evolve in terms of its financing, organization and delivery,” said Gilbert S. Omenn, executive vice president for medical affairs, in presenting the project to the Regents.

“The trend is most apparent in the move of patient care from inpatient to outpatient venues. Over the past five years, the U-M Health System has shifted a significant portion of surgical care to an ambulatory setting. The shift has been accelerated by new surgical techniques and technologies, coupled with changes in reimbursement policies, and introduces new challenges to our education and research missions.”

Less patient contact time is available to faculty and students in an ambulatory environment, with the greatest challenges involving patients whose care is enhanced by multidisciplinary consultation.

“Our identification of clinically related surgical programs that provide predominantly outpatient-oriented care and their co-location in the same area will facilitate more efficient, better coordinated patient care, education and research,” Omenn explained.

Surgical activity at the U-M Hospitals has grown significantly, a 19 percent overall increase, over the past five years. There were 24,919 operative cases in fiscal year 1995 and 29,687 in fiscal year 1999. At the same time, outpatient care operative cases increased 44 percent. In 1999, 48 percent of the total operative cases were outpatient-type.

The operating rooms at University Hospital are highly utilized, sometimes leading to delays and cancellations of ambulatory cases to accommodate urgent cases.

“Moving ambulatory cases to an off-site ambulatory surgery center,” Omenn said, “will allow for additional operating time at University Hospital for patients requiring the most resource-intensive surgical intervention such as transplantation, open heart surgery and major cancer surgeries. This strategy already has been initiated at the Kellogg Eye Center and the Livonia Surgery Center, as well as the pending lease at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center.”

Albert Kahn Associates Inc. will be the architect for the project, which incorporates earlier site planning work developed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates.

The project is estimated to cost $75 million, with funding coming from Hospitals and Health Centers reserves and a fundraising effort.