Surgical Center

Surgery Centers Offer Alternative To Hospitals

Health Other News

Nearest Surgical Centers To Rockland Are In New Jersey

By Kevin Munroe

The Center for Disease Control estimates nearly two million people will acquire an infection in the hospital this year – and 99,000 will die from it. While there are circumstances when hospitals are unavoidable, outpatient surgery centers are becoming a desirable option for treatment.

“Our infection rate is essentially zero,” said Lisa Korinski,  clinical coordinator at Ramapo Valley Surgical Center in Ramsey, NJ, where she says patients just aren’t exposed to the same life-threatening germs they encounter in a hospital environment.

Hospitals by definition care for very sick people with compromised immune systems. Viral or bacterial “hospital acquired infections” post a genuine risk. Why put a patient who needs a routine procedure at risk when there’s an option?

To date, there is no surgical center in Rockland County. The nearest are in New Jersey: Ramapo Valley Surgical Center in Ramsey, the Rockland- Bergen Surgery Center in Montvale and Surgicare Surgical Associates of Mahwah. (Many of the Ramapo Valley Surgical Center physicians are from Rockland). Westchester has more than ten of these centers and Orange County has three.

For now, Rockland residents will need to “cross the border” for outpatient procedures, including orthopedics, ophthalmology, podiatry, general surgery, pain management, urology, gynecology, otolaryngology and spine surgery.

“The anesthetics we are using today are very short acting, so we are able to get people out early,” said John Pillitteri, a center anesthesiologist.

Surgical centers nationwide are expected to grow by nearly 9% by year’s end, to 5,724. Annually, 23 million procedures are being performed at surgical centers  — from thyroid surgery and joint replacement surgery to 3D retina repair surgery. Advances in treatment technologies have made these centers viable.

In addition to avoiding HAIs, surgical centers provide a raft of incentives: rapid recovery time, lower costs, and more personalized attention. “The anesthetics we are using today are very short acting, so we are able to get people out early,” said John Pillitteri, a center anesthesiologist.

For the most part, surgical centers offer elective procedures, but some non-electives are possible, including thyroid and emergent retina surgeries.

At Ramapo Valley Surgical Center, doctors are performing a new 3-D eye surgery that can repair retinas and cataracts with exacting precision.

“It’s a much different setting than a hospital,” said Dr. Ed Rhee, Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon at Ramapo Valley Surgical Center. “Patients are very happy, their risk of infection is decreased, and costs are more manageable.”

There will be times when patients will need the resources found in a hospital setting but patients who know about surgical centers are increasingly asking doctors and surgeons if that is an option.