Kahn: Proposed surgery center driven by patients

Blessing Hospital President and CEO Maureen Kahn discusses the details of the hospital's plan for a new ambulatory surgical center, which are pictured behind her, during a town hall meeting held Monday on the campus of John Wood Community College. Additional town halls are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday.
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 13, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Efforts by Blessing Hospital to build a new ambulatory surgical center in the city are being spurred by Quincy residents and the hospital's patients, according to Blessing Hospital President and CEO Maureen Kahn.

"Patients wanted a choice for where they can go to get their surgeries done, and we are giving them that choice," Kahn said during Monday night's town hall meeting.

The meeting was held on the campus of John Wood Community College. Similar town halls are scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, at the Quincy University Brenner Library and for 5 p.m. Thursday, at the Kroc Center's Meadows Room.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board also is hosting a public hearing on the project from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 19 in council chambers at City Hall, 730 Maine.

An additional meeting with members of the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce was slated for Tuesday.

These town halls are all leading up to a Sept. 17 meeting when the state review board will either approve or reject the hospital's Certificate of Need application.

Kahn said the review board will take a comprehensive look at the proposed two-story surgical center, which would be built on Blessing Hospital's existing campus in Quincy.

"They will specifically look at the cost of the project because they want to make sure we are not spending any unnecessary healthcare dollars," Kahn said.

To help bolster the hospital's application, Kahn said the hospital is welcoming letters of support from members of the community. Those letters can be sent directly to the hospital or be turned in at one of the town hall meetings.

Kahn said the proposed six procedure room surgical center has been in the works for a long time, which has allowed the hospital's administrators to get feedback from patients, physicians, and other staff members. That feedback has lead to changes both large and small in the proposed surgical center, according to Kahn.

"This new surgical center will have hard doors, because we heard from patients that having a curtain dividing patients really didn't give our patients the privacy they wanted," Kahn said.

She said other changes that have been are the addition of shower rooms for patients, who may need to bathe prior to a procedure; the snacks included the center's vending machines; increasing the size of the recovery rooms to allow patients and families to spend time together.

Kahn said she and other hospital officials wanted to get additional feedback during the town halls, especially from Quincy area residents who have opted to have their procedures done in other communities such as St. Louis, Columbia, Hannibal, or Springfield, Ill..

"We want to know everything," Kahn said. "What did they like about those centers? What did they not like? What could we do better? We want to get their feedback as we finalize the drawings for our building with our architects. We really want to know if there is anything that we need to change before we finish our architects from the patient's perspective."

Under the current proposal, Blessing Hospital's ambulatory surgical center has a lease on its current location through 2023. If approved by the state, the hospital is anticipating having their surgical center open and operational in 2022. When it is complete, the ambulatory surgical center will offer a wide variety of medical procedures.

"In this new care center, you can have almost anything done," Kahn said. "You can have an ear, nose, and throat surgery done. You can have urology procedures done. You can have orthopedic surgeries, knee scopes, eye surgeries, plastic surgery, colonoscopies, and really a lot more."