5 Tips for Finishing Your Surgery Center Expansion On Time
Traci Albers, administrator at High Pointe Surgery Center in Lake Elmo, Minn., and Linda Phillips, RN, administrator at Southgate Surgery Center in Southgate, Mich., discuss strategies for avoiding unnecessary delays and finishing a surgery center expansion on time.
1. Choose an architect who is familiar with ambulatory surgery center standards. It is imperative that the architect has prior experience designing ambulatory surgery centers, says Ms. Albers. "They knew the Medicare regulations, the safety code and the Department of Health regulations for surgery centers," she says, adding that clinic or hospital design experience alone is not sufficient. "I've worked with architects that have come out of the hospital environment, and that does not translate."
In addition to asking for a portfolio of past projects, it is helpful to visit several of the architect's ambulatory surgery centers and speak directly with the administrators at each center for feedback, says Ms. Phillips. Ms. Albers agrees, adding that the architect's design for surgery centers should be beautiful and efficient in addition to compliant with healthcare regulations.
It is also important to choose an architect with good project management skills, says Ms. Albers. "There is no way we could have managed all of the details with the staff without our architect," she says. "They managed the phasing of the project was able to do it because they had experience with other ambulatory surgery centers."
2. Secure approval from authorities throughout the construction process, not just at the very end. Ms. Phillips says she credits an efficient expansion process to continual meetings with fire marshals, engineers, plumbers and electricians throughout every phase of remodeling. "We scheduled appointments for them to come in during the process to see where we're at and to make sure it was a smooth approval process," she says.
3. Ensure ahead of time that building materials are available. Ms. Tiberi says that High Pointe Surgery Center's expansion was approximately one month behind schedule due to an initial lack of key materials. "Once our board approved the project, we wanted to start quickly, but the contractors were not able to get the appropriate wall covering and carpeting for the first phase waiting room," she says. "We discovered that a lot of manufacturers did not house the materials because of the economy, and there was an extensive lead time of about six weeks on those materials."
Once the materials were obtained, the project required work on weekends and evenings to catch up, she says. "We could have been further delayed, but we did make up some time."
4. Consider including an incentive clause in the contractor's agreement. Ms. Phillips says that because her surgery center's first expansion finished approximately one month late, she inserted an incentive clause into the contractor's agreement prior to beginning the second expansion. The clause provided a bonus payment for every day that the project finished early. "That time, everything finished on time — the whole project took about five months," she says.
5. Strategize the placement of the expansion to minimize the interruption of daily business operations. The expansion of Southgate Surgery Center involved adding two operating rooms to the end of the building, which required letting in just two walls, says Ms. Phillips. "It happened by accident, but it was very helpful," she says. "Because the other walls were built on the exterior of the building, and because those ORs were so far away, I didn't have to stop my daily operations at the surgery center."
More Articles on ASCs:
Colorado's Orthopaedic & Spine Center ot Expand Surgery Center
150 Orthopedic- & Spine-Driven ASCs to Know
Operating a Surgery Center in a Saturated Market: Q&A With Lee Memorial's Dave Cato
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