Valley Health holds ribbon cutting for new surgery center

Mark Merrill, president and CEO of Valley Health, speaks about the new surgery center at Winchester Medical Center on Thursday evening. Max Lee/Daily

WINCHESTER — Valley Health held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday for its Valley Health Surgery Center at Botanical Boulevard.

In opening remarks, president and CEO Mark Merrill described the new building as the result of a great amount of work put in by physicians and Valley Health officials.

“We’re here to celebrate the partnership of Valley Health and over 50 physicians,” Merrill said.

Merrill said that the new building was designed with patients and physicians in mind.

“Our goal all along has been a place that the physicians and the patients and the health system and the community can be proud of,” Merrill said.

The new, 22,000-square-foot center will have 100 employees, three operating rooms and two procedure rooms.

Derrick Schultz, executive director of surgery services at Valley Health, said that one of the main highlights of the new center will be unseen. The health system has adjusted its preadmissions testing process so that administrators will be doing more of their work before the patient arrives at the center.

That he said, allows the patient to move more quickly through the process, while also making each patient’s visit more predictable for the surgery center staff.

“That’s one of the pieces that’s exciting is we’re kind of re-tooling some of the old ways that we’ve done things and the new ways that may offer us better experiences, better production, better satisfaction,” Schultz said.

The new facility is set to open in December. It cost $11.5 million.

Across the country, hospitals have been acquiring or building outpatient surgery centers, like the new building in Winchester. James Chadduck, the chair of the Valley Health Surgery Center Governing Board, said that this is because outpatient surgery centers can offer patients cheaper care.

“There are certain types of cases that we can do very efficiently in the outpatient surgery setting that also saves the patients money,” Chadduck said. “So we can usually provide certain aspects of care at a lower cost.”

The new surgery center specializes in procedures that aren’t particularly invasive.

“Outpatient is better for minimally invasive approaches,” Chadduck said.

The Valley Health surgical center has been in the works for three years, Chadduck said.

“It was about three years ago I started getting a committee together to look at developing a relationship and joint venture with the hospital to build an outpatient center,” Chadduck said.

Last year, Valley Health held a groundbreaking at the surgery center, according to a press release from the medical network’s  website.

While Valley Health has expanded the number of facilities across its network and the Shenandoah Valley region, building new quick care and urgent care centers. But Skip Phillips, the senior vice president at Valley Health System and the president of Winchester Medical Center, said there are no plans to build more outpatient centers like the Valley Health Surgery Center.

The center will remain the only freestanding outpatient surgery center in the region, at least in the foreseeable future.

“This one right now will be a one-of-a-kind facility,” Phillips said. “It’s the only one like it in the Shenandoah Valley and the only one in our region.”