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State officials have given the green light to the University of Rochester Medical Center’s application for a Brockport ambulatory surgery center, URMC officials said Thursday.
A state Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council vote approving the surgical center leaves some details to be worked out with the department. A date for the ambulatory center’s opening is at least several months away, said Betsy Slavinskas, UR Medicine director of ambulatory care.
Planned at the Strong West urgent care facility, the surgical center has been on hold while state officials weighed whether to let the university convert the urgent care facility—opened last summer, under Strong Memorial Hospital’s license, in the former Lakeside Memorial Hospital building on West Avenue—to a freestanding emergency department.
The freestanding ED application was split from the surgery center request and is under separate consideration by the state. The concept of an ED not directly connected to a hospital building is relatively new and state officials are taking time to consider all the ramifications, Slavinskas said.
The surgical center will use the former hospital’s operating rooms as surgery sites, but further modifications to the former hospital building would be needed before the center can open.
State officials are reviewing plans for those modifications, which would add an undetermined amount to the surgery center’s originally projected $1.9 million cost, Slavinskas said. UR Medicine’s expects to start work on the project in April.
Unlike the Strong West urgent care facility, which is open seven days a week from noon to 8 p.m., the freestanding ED would offer care 24 hours a day, she said. It also would treat a wider variety of conditions and accommodate patients for short-term, observation stays.
The observation stays would be shorter than observation stays in hospital EDs, however, Slavinskas said. Patients under observation in the freestanding ED likely would stay only as long as needed before being transferred to a hospital—as rule less than 24 hours and in many cases for no more than a few hours.
If the Brockport facility is converted to a freestanding ED, it would no longer function as an urgent care center, Slavinskas said.
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