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Capital Region Medical Center offers glimpse of its future

by Joe Gamm | April 29, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Julie Smith/News Tribune Doug Blaylock, left, describes a special feature of the ceiling directly overhead to Martin Grabanski,second from left, and Gaspare Calvaruso, during Thursday's tour of the outpatient surgery center under construction at Capital Region Medical Center. Blaylock is construction manager for McCarthy Building Companies while Grabanski serves as director of facilities at CRMC where Calvaruso is president.

Supply chain issues have challenged progress for Capital Region Medical Center's new outpatient surgery center -- the backup generator, for example, has been delayed three times -- but the clinic is progressing and scheduled for a September opening.

Hospital administrators announced its $20 million investment in a 24,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center in the lower level of the hospital's physician's office building -- in a space that has been used as a parking garage since McCarthy Building Companies, of St. Louis, completed construction of it about six years ago.

Administrators gave the Jefferson City News Tribune its first look at the center since construction began early last spring.

The new center, also under construction by McCarthy, includes four full-service operating suites, two endoscopy suites, advanced imaging capabilities and 24 pre- and post- operative procedure rooms. It also includes space for future growth (and a fifth operating suite).

Access to patient care, on the outpatient basis, is growing across the nation, said Darilyn Carpenter, interim director of surgery services, whom CRMC brought in to help shepherd organization of the new center.

"To build this center is really an innovative position by CRMC," she said. "To bring more access to patient care in this outpatient arena."

The center includes innovative technologies.

Staff are excited about the opportunities to provide more services, she said.

"I think it's going to open up a lot of doors, with more access for patients," Carpenter said. "When you create an outpatient area like this, that's so patient-centered ... it creates an efficiency. It makes it easier for the patient to come in and have their procedures and be home quicker and start healing quicker."

The center is expected to employ 25 full-time staff members, plus physicians. When the center opens, it will use existing staff.

However, as volume increases, the hospital will hire more staff, she said.

Volume is a big driver for opening the new facility, said Martin Grabanski, CRMC director of facilities. The hospital, he said, already averages more than 1,000 daily patient visits.

"This has been years in the making," CRMC President Gaspare Calvaruso said. "We started encountering some volume pressures back in 2017, maybe '16."

The hospital had begun looking at adding one operating room. However, the cost for adding one operating room was going to be significant. It would have involved refurbishing an existing space that was already in use, he said. And administrators would have been forced to move people and equipment around.

Then, St. Louis-based SSM Health announced it was in exclusive negotiations with MU Health Care surrounding the sale of St. Mary's Hospital to MU Health Care.

CRMC and MU Health Care have had a relationship for more than two decades.

"We didn't want to squander resources. If there was one hospital, there would be plenty of O.R. space," Calvaruso said. "We could create an outpatient experience and an in-patient experience."

The delay was beneficial for CRMC, Calvaruso said, because it allowed the hospital to reassess the cost of expanding by one surgical suite.

Administrators realized they could create four new suites for several million dollars more than one would cost.

"It was no small number, but when you're talking about strategy, and growth and the patient experience, this is much better than one O.R.," Calvaruso said.

photo Julie Smith/News Tribune Brady Hagerman peeks into the hallway as he works to install a sink in the pre-and-post operative rooms under construction at Capital Region Medical Center's new outpatient surgery center. Hagerman works for Butzer Mechanical Services, one of the many local contractors on the construction site.

Print Headline: Capital Region Medical Center offers glimpse of its future


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