Surgicalists: The Cutting Edge

Press Releases

Surgical Affiliates Announces Partnership with HCA Regional Medical Center of San Jose

In a press release published March 5, Surgical Affiliates announced a new partnership with the Regional Medical Center of San Jose, an HCA-affiliated hospital and level II trauma center,  to enhance care and expand surgical services.

Benefits of Regional’s Partnership with Surgical Affiliates

Regional Medical Center of San Jose and HCA is one of the largest hospital providers in the country with 177 hospitals and 119 surgery centers in the United States and the UK.

The partnership will help these organizations attain key ACS metrics, improve their current outstanding quality of care, and allows Regional Medical Center access to 24/7 surgery services and trauma care expertise, ultimately supporting local providers and enhancing the center’s already outstanding standards of care.

“We are excited about the management expertise, extra surgical skill, and depth Surgical Affiliates brings to our hospital,” said Richard Kline, MD, Regional’s Medical Director of Trauma. “The partnership enhances the quality of care our surgeons provide to trauma and emergency department patients in our community.”

Surgical Affiliates provides specialty surgical solutions for hospitals who require additional support for acute care, trauma, orthopedic, and neurosurgery patients. A 24/7 emergency surgery service offered by Surgical Affiliates expedites care for patients by ensuring all patients presenting to Regional Medical Center of San Jose receive the high–quality trauma care they need.

To read more about the partnership, click here to jump to the official press release. If you wish to learn more about the surgicalist approach and how you can use it to improve the level of care your hospital, contact us today for a free program analysis consultation.

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How an Orthopedics Surgical Program Adds New Dimensions to the Hospital Setting

The pain associated with shattered bone, a sports injury, or a fractured hip can be frightening. Especially for those patients who find that treatment at their local hospital means waiting until an orthopedic surgeon can arrive. This delayed treatment is all too common across America and can substantially impact community trust while adversely impacting the overall financial status of the hospital system.

The Benefits of an Orthopedic Surgery Program

An orthopedic emergency that requires immediate surgical attention is usually the result of some type of trauma, either related to physical activity and recreation, violence, or an accident that occurs during normal activity. Types of injuries that require an orthopedic surgeon include:

  • Hip fractures
  • Dislocated bones
  • Open (compound) fractures
  • Acute compartment syndrome (extremity trauma)

Some of these injuries can be life threatening if not managed immediately. Unfortunately, some hospitals have few resources and orthopedic services on hand, resulting in delayed treatment and complications in these emergency situations.

Today, the demand for Orthopedic surgeons to provide hospital services is growing, yet issues to ensure continuity of care has proven challenging. The utilization of surgery programs, such as an Acute Orthopedic Surgery program, may provide a direct solution to this issue by introducing surgeons who are devoted to 24/7 orthopedic care.

An orthopedic surgery program means relying less on locum tenens and on-call physicians and more on reliable, stable surgeons who are available to handle patients at any time of the day or night. “I guarantee you we wouldn’t have orthopedic services if it wasn’t for Surgical Affiliates–there’s not a doubt in my mind,” said Doug Archer, Sutter Health Memorial Hospital administrator in Los Banos, California. In fact, approximately 60,000 people in the area would be without orthopedic services “and they would still be driving to Salinas” if it wasn’t for implementing an emergency orthopedic surgical team at Sutter Health Memorial.

In an orthopedic surgical program, also known as a surgicalist program, surgeons become embedded in the hospital culture and are essential for ensuring efficient patient management while reducing transfers out of the facility. Adding a specialized surgical program adds new dimensions to the hospital setting by increasing the number of patients treated in-house, reducing costs, increasing revenue, and building community value and trust.

Better Care and More Patients Treated In-House

Having an orthopedic surgery program in place reduces transfers out of the facility and provides a dedicated team of orthopedic surgeons that are able to treat patients in-house as opposed to sending to a neighboring hospital that is better equipped to handle orthopedic emergencies. Specialized services also help facilitate lower average length of stay for patients, which supports the value-based care model resulting in more efficient patient management.

Growth of Hospital Staff

According to Doug Archer, many physicians who would come to work in the surgery setting at Los Banos would be gone within 2 years of hiring, in part due to the rural setting. “Continuity of care became an issue,” said Archer. Since adding a specialized team of 24/7 emergency surgeons, Memorial Hospital has been able to secure a specialty program with surgeons that stay. “They [orthopedic surgeons] have been able to develop relationships with the other hospital staff,” added Archer, “and they’ve been able to establish themselves even though they don’t live in the community. Primary care physicians are a lot more comfortable referring to someone they know rather than the orthopedist on call, which helps the community a ton. It gives us the ability to really provide a robust and complete specialty services versus piecing it together with locum tenens.”

Surgical Affiliates Acute Orthopedic Surgery Program

With the Surgical Affiliates orthopedic surgery program, hospitals can rely on a long-term approach to achieving its orthopedic surgical goals, regardless of the community setting. For rural hospitals, the program may also be helpful when recruitment and retention become challenging.

Contact Surgical Affiliates today to learn more and start improving the quality of healthcare at both the patient and practitioner level.

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What Happens When Neurosurgeons Don’t Answer Their Phone?

In the United States, approximately 1.7 million patients per year sustain traumatic brain injury.1,2 Estimates from the CDC suggest that roughly 52,000 deaths are attributable to traumatic brain injury nationwide.3 Some of these patients require immediate neurosurgical intervention to survive, such as when a patient requires removal of an enlarging hematoma from around the brain.

In 2013, approximately 2.8 million visits to the emergency department were associated with brain injury.4 Today, experienced neurosurgeons who are willing to provide emergency care are in limited supply. It is particularly hard to find those who meet and fulfill the stringent requirements for American College of Surgeons trauma verification. Many neurosurgeons find professional satisfaction by delivering care in an elective setting, further limiting the number of available neurosurgeons to care for emergencies. Subsequently, there is a growing need for surgeons who will readily take on emergency neurosurgical cases. A surgical hospitalist program may provide the optimal solution when neurosurgeons don’t heed the emergency call.

Why Neurosurgeons Don’t Answer an Emergency Call

The workload of most surgeons has become increasingly difficult to maintain. On-call burdens and the pressure to produce more elective volume have contributed to the declining availability of surgeons for emergency care, and this is especially true for neurosurgeons. Many of today’s neurosurgeons have chosen to focus on providing high level elective care that focuses on specialty cases. Emergency care is disruptive to this sort of an elective practice and often times emergency patients don’t have the means to provide payment for such services. The disruption of the elective practice and the inability to be paid for services reduce the likelihood that neurosurgeons will happily embrace the emergency call burden.

According to Lynette Scherer, MD, FACS, Chief Medical Officer of Surgical Affiliates, the need in helping emergency neurosurgery patients has quadrupled in recent years because there has been a significant shortage of neurosurgeons who are willing to take emergency cases. Additionally, since many neurosurgeons perform elective cases, hospitals aren’t pressuring these highly specialized physicians to take cases they don’t want. “Neurosurgeons can really command a presence at the hospital because their cases are so valuable to the hospital and the care they provide is so critical,” said Dr. Scherer, “and the hospital often won’t force them take the emergency call as long as they are doing their elective cases.”

Impact on Patients Requiring Emergency Neurosurgery

The lack of hospital neurosurgeons to provide care for emergency cases can result in delayed patient care and the worsening of patient outcomes. Additionally, when a neurosurgeon doesn’t answer an emergency call, hospital efficiency will subsequently be impacted since staff will need to take the time to find someone that will help the patient.

Hospitals in rural communities are especially affected by neurosurgeons who refuse to take on emergency neurosurgical cases. “If a patient shows up in a small rural center looking for help,” commented Dr. Scherer, “that hospital may be calling for hours trying to locate a neurosurgeon.” Hospitals in major metropolitan areas, although better connected and more likely to find a surgeon to help in an emergency case, are also impacted by the shortage of willing emergency neurosurgeons. Many patients have to be transferred to a center that will take them, which delays treatment for potentially life-threatening issues.

The Surgicalist Approach for Emergency Neurosurgery Cases

The surgicalist program with Surgical Affiliates offers a one-of-a-kind initiative for the field of neurosurgery. This program provides neurosurgeons who are willing and ready to take on an emergency neurosurgical procedure. At Surgical Affiliates, there is a 24/7 neurosurgery team available for emergency cases, such as cases involving epidural hematomas, traumatic brain injury, acute or infectious spinal cord processes, or stroke-related care. Hospitals who can’t find a neurosurgeon to answer an emergency case can simply partner with Surgical Affiliates who will provide a team of neurosurgeons available for immediate care.

Learn How a Surgicalist Program Can Improve Neurosurgical Care

Currently, Surgical Affiliates is the first organization to offer a surgicalist program for neurosurgery and is seen as the leader in facilitating greater and more immediate care for patients presenting with life-threatening neurosurgical problems.  If you wish to learn more about the surgicalist approach and how you can use it to improve the level of care your emergency neurosurgery patients can receive, contact us today for a free program analysis consultation.

1. Faul M, Xu L, Wald MM, et al. Traumatic brain injury in the United States: national estimates of prevalence and incidence, 2002–2006. Injury Prevention. 2010;16:A268.
2. Annual Number of TBIs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed December 8, 2017.
3. Get the Stats on Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed November 8, 2017.
4. Taylor CA, Bell JM, Breiding MJ, Xu L. Traumatic Brain Injury–Related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths — United States, 2007 and 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2017;66(No. SS-9):1–16.

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