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Lourdes partners with outpatient surgery center to expand its reach

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Lourdes Health System today announced a joint venture with physician-owned Centennial Surgery Center, in Voorhees, to meet growing demand for outpatient surgery and expand its patient population, though an executive with the system said the new location may result in reduced patient volumes at its hospitals.

But that’s where the business is now, said Kim Barnes, vice president of planning and development for South Jersey-based Lourdes.

“Surgery is going to be done that way anyway, because so many surgeries are being done on an outpatient basis already,” Barnes said. “I don’t expect a big shift in revenues from inpatient to outpatient care, because this is about capturing a better portion of the outpatients that are already out there by having a nonhospital-based location further out in the community. It’s where the business is now.”

In a statement, Lourdes President and CEO Alexander J. Hatala said the merger will retain the center’s employees, as the system “intend(s) to make the transition as seamless as possible for the center’s patients, employees, and the surgeons and physicians who operate there,” but he noted the staff will be integrated into the system, which includes more than 60 locations providing hospital, ambulatory and physician services.

“Instead of building our own facility from scratch, like we did for our ambulatory care center, we decided to partner with providers who are already experts in a given service, and we thought the providers at Centennial were that,” Barnes said. “It’s all about maintaining the continuity of services … and providing the most benefit to patients for their health care dollar.”

In a statement, Dr. Jay Malamut, chairman of Centennial Surgery Center’s board, said it is “critical for physicians and hospitals to work more closely together to create a patient-friendly, integrated health care delivery system,” and he noted the center agreed to partner with the system because “we believe Lourdes has a strong record of partnering with physicians to drive positive change in the system of care.”

The 18,000-square-foot multispecialty center serves approximately 11,000 patients each year, and includes four surgical suites, two endoscopy suites, two short procedure rooms and supporting patient care areas for pre- and post-procedure care, according to the system.

Lourdes will continue offering outpatient surgery at its two hospitals — Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, in Camden, and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, in Willingboro. The system also maintains partnerships with outpatient cardiovascular care centers within the region.

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