Peak One Surgery Center: Creating a Community Care Event

Three leaders in the ambulatory surgery center industry share their experience with organizing a community surgery day at Peak One Surgery Center.

On October 12, 2013 Peak One Surgery Center in Frisco, Colorado, opened on a Saturday.  The center, a PINNACLE III managed facility, hosted its fourth annual Community Surgery Day. Nine surgeons performed a variety of orthopedic and general surgery procedures on 16 patients.

Dr. Peter JanesPeter Janes, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Vail Summit Orthopedics and founder of Community Surgery Day, Alena Pochman, clinical director of Peak One Surgery Center, and Scott Thomas, executive vice president of PINNACLE III, describe the process of hosting a community care event.
The spark
In 2010, Dr. Janes traveled to Haiti with a surgical team to provide medical care in the aftermath of that country's devastating earthquake. During the medical mission trip, he met an anesthesiologist from Pueblo, Colorado and learned a great deal more about the idea of a community care program. Recognizing a number of people in Summit County needed surgical intervention but could not afford it, Dr. James brought his commitment to providing charity care back to his community.

Upon returning to Colorado, Dr. Janes presented the idea to the board members at Peak One Surgery Center. Within the same calendar year, the center began planning for its first Community Surgery Day. "I was quite amazed that all I had to do was ask," says Dr. Janes.

Peak One Surgery Center's community event is organized and run in conjunction with Summit Community Care Clinic. The clinic is a safety net provider designed to distribute medical care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. The clinic opened in 1993 as a one-night a week facility, but has grown to see more than 16,000 patients a year.

Peak One Surgery Center is located directly next to the medical office building that houses the community care clinic. The clinic's providers have a connection to the patients Dr. Janes and Peak One set out to help; the partnership was a natural step forward.

Finding the necessary support
Ms. Pochman begins planning for each year's Community Surgery Day a full year in advance. She informs the staff and physicians of the event's date and creates a sign-up list for volunteers at the surgery center. Since that first sign-up sheet, volunteers have come flooding in from not only the surgery center and community clinic, but also from surrounding hospitals and the non-medical community. Volunteer doctors, nurses and non-clinical staff come from as far as Denver to assist in Community Surgery Day.

Surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, registered techs and clinical staff ensure the procedures are properly completed. Non-clinical staff members, members of the board of directors and community citizens serve breakfast and lunch. The center's landlord – Centura Summit Medical Center - waives rent for the day. Vendors donate necessary implants and supplies. This year, more than 100 volunteers gave their time. "It is truly community service," relays Ms. Pochman.

Selecting patients
The nursing staff at Summit Community Care Clinic, Dr. Janes and volunteer physicians meet several times to screen potential candidates for the event. Patients are selected based on a variety of factors including the ability to perform the procedure safely in the outpatient setting, the patient's financial background and medical need, and the surgery's affect on the patient's quality of life.

Opening the doors
The day of the community event, the center's director of nursing creates staggers shifts for volunteers. "Coverage is in place from the time we start staging the first procedure until the last patient is discharged," notes Mr. Thomas.

In 2012, the center performed surgery on 20 patients by 3 p.m. Patients unable to work due to medical conditions and otherwise unable to afford surgical intervention were able to regain day-to-day function. After Community Surgery Day, the patients are offered an opportunity to participate in physical therapy provided by volunteer physical therapists. The entire process is provided at no cost to the patient. "Patients tell us it's like winning the lottery," says Ms. Pochman.

Moving forward
Peak One Surgery Center completed its fourth annual Community Surgery Center in 2013 and plans to continue the tradition. "Each year the process is fine tuned a little more. The community has been very supportive contributing to the event's ongoing success," says Mr. Thomas.

More Articles on ASC Issues:
Biggest Concerns of ASC Physician Owners in 2014: Q&A With Dr. Brad Lerner of Summit Ambulatory Surgical Centers
Efficient & Engaged Staff: Putting Together an ASC Dream Team
Giving Thanks in the ASC Industry: 5 Surgery Center Leaders on What They Are Most Thankful for in Their Centers

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