Healthy growth

Major players invest in specialty care, ambulatory centers

Posted on Mar 30, 2020 :: Health Care
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

An increasing focus on meeting the needs and wants of patients is leading several of the region’s health care organizations to shift their focus to specialty care centers — and creating an industry building boom.

In October, Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists and Ascension broke ground on a new clinic and surgery center in Fox Crossing. In November, ThedaCare and partners Hand to Shoulder Specialists of Wisconsin and Neuroscience Group announced a partnership and plan to build the region’s first comprehensive orthopedic, spine and pain center on ThedaCare’s Encircle campus in Appleton.

Aurora BayCare’s new clinic, urgent care site and ambulatory surgery center in Kaukauna is on track to open this summer. BayCare Clinic, a partner of Aurora BayCare Medical Center, recently announced plans to build a new 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot facility in Manitowoc to meet growing demand for specialized health care services.

“Patients and their families increasingly are expecting to receive the level of health care services that they would experience in a larger, more metropolitan area, but they want it here, in their community,” Dr. Carl DiRaimondo, an orthopedic surgeon with BayCare Clinic in Manitowoc, said in a news release announcing the new center.

The Manitowoc facility will break ground this spring and is expected to be completed in the spring or summer of 2021. It will offer services including orthopedic and sports medicine, urology, pain and rehabilitation medicine, neurological surgery, MRI, and physical and occupational therapy.

The 72,000-square-foot Aurora BayCare facility in Kaukauna sits close to Interstate 41 and will offer outpatient surgery, urgent care plus, primary care and specialty care. Dan Meyer, president of Aurora BayCare Medical Center, says the center allows the organization to deliver high-quality health care locally.

Rob Chartier, vice president of the health care segment for Miron Construction Co. Inc., says the sector has become an increasing focus or the contractor. The company recently finished work on the Aurora BayCare Center in Kaukauna, and its large roster of health care projects also includes the ThedaCare orthopedic, spine and pain center and the BayCare Clinic in Manitowoc.

“The number of RFPs that we’re seeing is quite strong. Demand is strong. People are busy in the health care market,” he says.

Chartier says the company has seen increasing demand for remote and outpatient specialty clinics. He attributes that to an increased focus on population health, which includes meeting and treating patients where they are instead of making them travel.

ThedaCare’s focus on population health, in part, led the organization to partner with Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin and Neuroscience Group to construct the $144 million, 230,000-square-foot orthopedic, spine and pain center, says ThedaCare President and CEO Dr. Imran Andrabi. The organization has dedicated itself to meeting people where they live and work and understanding their needs.

In addition, communities in the region that ThedaCare serves are seeing 8 to 15 percent growth in people over 55, many of whom are remaining active as they age.

Andrabi says the three players and their capabilities complement one another well. The collaboration allows the partners to create a broad offering that none of them could have delivered on their own, he says.

ThedaCare delivers the health system perspective, assets and resources, and a team that includes orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists and physical therapists. Hand to Shoulder brings nine specialized, fellowship-trained physicians, and Neuroscience Group includes 32 neurosurgeons, spine surgeons, neurologists and neuro hospitalists.

In designing the new facility, ThedaCare enlisted the help of a lean-led design expert who worked with physicians and frontline staff to help determine the layout. “What’s unique about the center under that rubric is it’s a one-stop shop. It’s very, very patient-centric,” Andrabi says.

The facility will include operating suites, 25 inpatient beds, support services and a simulation apartment allowing patients to complete therapy to prepare for life post-discharge. Offering many specialties under one roof will mean less travel and hassle for patients, Andrabi says.

Creating convenience and value for patients led Ascension and OSMS to partner to build their Fox Cities facility, which is slated to open this fall. Fox Crossing offers a central location in a growing area that provides easy accessibility, says Monica Hilt, regional hospital president for Ascension Wisconsin.

The 60,000-square-foot facility will include a medical office building, imaging services, an ambulatory surgery center for outpatient procedures, short-stay rooms for overnight observation, a walk-in clinic staffed by doctors, and physical and occupational therapy.

Providing all the care in an ambulatory setting means the partners can offer their patients services in a more cost-effective way. “They get high-quality, exceptional service at a very competitive cost,” Hilt says.

Bill Enright, orthopedic surgeon and a physician owner of OSMS, says the facility will emulate a model that’s worked well for OSMS in Green Bay. The center’s flow, with clinical space on the first floor and surgery and therapy on the second, will offer patients convenience.

“From a patient care perspective, what we hear from the patients is that they really like the idea of the all-in-one location of coming in and seeing somebody, being evaluated, getting the imaging and then coming up with a treatment plan,” he says.