Faced with an increasing demand for outpatient surgeries and shrinking space on its Hartford campus, the Connecticut Children's Medical Center is looking to build a new $10 million surgical center in Farmington.
The proposed 18,321-square-foot facility would add up to four operating rooms for outpatient surgery and give the medical center one of its largest locations outside its main campus in Hartford.
The project, which requires approval from the Office of Health Care Access, could start construction by February and open for business by September 2013.
Connecticut Children's Medical Center (CCMC) officials say the new surgery center is needed because of the increased demand to have pediatric care delivered by pediatric specialists, rather than general physicians.
At the same time, the retirement of surgeons at other Connecticut hospitals who previously performed pediatric surgeries, and the inability of nursing staffs at community hospitals to maintain pediatric competencies due to relative low volumes, has opened the door for CCMC to expand its patient base, officials say.
"Our surgical growth is driven by a public need for improved access to surgical care of pediatric patients," CCMC spokeswoman Kelly Coffey said.
Coffey said the number of surgeries performed at Connecticut Children's has grown 48 percent over the past six years, and the hospital's market share of outpatient surgery patients up to age 17 grew from 24 percent in 2006 to 31 percent in 2011.
Meanwhile, 25 of the 30 acute care hospitals in the state experienced a reduction in market share in that age range over the same period.
"We expect this trend to continue because the public, specifically referring providers and those making health care decisions for children, increasingly expresses their preference for care of children by pediatric experts and specialists," Coffey said.
In a regulatory filing issued to the state Office of Health Care Access, the hospital said its main surgery center on its Hartford campus is functioning at maximum capacity with 10,098 surgical procedures performed in 2011 and 13,000 procedures projected for 2012.
At the same time, Connecticut Children's has significantly increased the number of pediatric surgeons on its staff in the past five years, but not the number of operating rooms, which currently stands at eight.
That has left their surgeons with time to perform more procedures but not the space to house them, the hospital said.
The Medical Center, through its Connecticut Children's Specialty Group, has added seven surgeons over the past two years. There are 89 surgeons on the medical staff, 29 of whom are directly employed by the Connecticut Children's Specialty Group.
With the addition of the 18,321-square-foot surgery center, which will be located at 505 Birds Eye Rd., Connecticut Children's will have 40,000 square feet of operating room space.
Initially, the surgery center will have two operating rooms, but there will be enough space to open two more rooms as surgical volume increases.
Coffey said the added space should help reduce wait times and allow the Medical Center to renovate and reconfigure its space in Hartford to better accommodate new technology.