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Health Care & Insurance

Franciscan Health's busy surgery center lets more docs buy piece of business

May 22, 2017

Business is brisk at Franciscan Surgery Center on the south side, where surgeons last year performed nearly 15,000 outpatient procedures, or an average of 41 a day, from eye lifts and tummy tucks to colonoscopies and hysterectomies.

Now, the for-profit center, an affiliate of Franciscan Health, is planning to share the wealth with more surgeons.

Franciscan Surgery Center LLC has issued another equity offering and plans to use it to let eight new surgeons buy a piece of the business. The minimum investment is $175,000, according to a Form D filed May 16. The offering will raise $2.7 million.

The surgery center, on the campus of Franciscan Health on Stop 11 Road, is owned on a 50/50 basis by the hospital and a group of more than 60 surgeons.

“In this busy world, the surgeons are able to get in and take care of what they need to do, and then get back to their offices to see additional patients,” said Keith Lauter, chief financial officer of Franciscan Health.

Last year, the center performed 14,899 procedures, up almost 60 percent from 2011, according to filings with the Indiana State Department of Health. The most common procedures last year were ear tube operations (1,134), cataract surgeries (1,124) and colonoscopies (967).

Two years ago, the surgery center underwent an expansion that increased its space by about 50 percent, to 33,000 square feet. It has eight operating rooms.

Across the nation, business at ambulatory surgery centers are booming. Patients and surgeons are attracted there by shorter stays (usually just a few hours) and lower costs than more complex surgeries at hospitals, which often require recovery periods of several days in the hospital.

A Blue Cross Blue Shield analysis of the claims of about 43 million people found that those who chose to have angioplasty in an outpatient facility compared to a hospital saved an average of $1,062 out of pocket, according to Consumer Reports.

That has helped fuel the drive of simple procedures from hospitals to outpatient surgery centers, many of which are expanding their facilities and bringing on new surgeons.

And almost every year, Lauter said, Franciscan Surgery Center puts out a new offering to let the new surgeons buy a piece of the business. It happens so often that it barely registers any more as a major event.

“It really is a very routine matter here,” Lauter said.



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