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Quality in Ambulatory Surgical Settings Gets a Closer Look

By cclark@healthleadersmedia.com  
   November 19, 2014

With so many procedures now shifting from inpatient settings to ambulatory/
outpatient surgical facilities, quality is receiving greater scrutiny.

This article first appeared in the October 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Why would OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, a 616-bed hospital in Peoria, Illinois, gladly let a group of doctors take away a sizeable chunk of surgical business, performing many of the same procedures 11 miles down the road at about half the price and in less than a day?

Seven years ago, that's exactly what happened when four independent groups consisting of 43 doctors created a freestanding ambulatory surgery center, one where they could take patients they'd otherwise have to operate on in a hospital. The Center for Health Ambulatory Surgery Center, LLC, and its 90 staff doctors, perform procedures on some 7,000 patients a year in the outpatient setting.

The explanation, says Michael Cruz, MD, OSF Saint Francis's vice president of quality and safety, is simple. The ambulatory environment "is more expeditious and efficient. Some of our patients are much better served—their patient experience is much improved—than if they were brought to a complicated medical center for a routine procedure. And it creates more capacity for us to handle our more complex patients at the hospital."

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