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With Surgeries on the Rise, UCSD Medical Center Carves Out Deal

To deal with a growing number of surgeries, the UC San Diego Medical Center is partnering with an Alabama-based provider of specialty surgical services at a La Jolla facility near the UCSD campus.

The facility, located at 8929 University Center Lane and called the University Ambulatory Surgery Center, will act as the headquarters for outpatient surgeries normally performed at Thornton Hospital. It will continue to be managed by Surgical Care Affiliates of Birmingham, Ala. The site was called the UTC SurgiCenter until the partnership was announced Dec. 26.

Brendan Kremer, administrative director of muscular, skeletal and surgical services at UCSD Medical Center, says that 3,000 to 4,000 outpatient surgeries will be performed at the surgery center each year.

The 10,000-square-foot site has three operating rooms and will focus on orthopedics, pain management, ophthalmology, general surgery, otolaryngology, urology, plastics and podiatry procedures.

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In the last three years, UCSD Medical Center has reported a 23 percent increase in outpatient procedures, according to Kremer. It is an academic medical center with two hospitals and several ambulatory care sites.

Surgical Care Affiliates has more than 130 ambulatory surgical centers across the country and has partnered with academic institutions such as Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and hospital systems such as Sutter Health in Northern California, according to Kremer. It is a private company with 6,000 employees.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. This is the first time that UCSD Medical Center, which employs 5,000 people, has partnered with a surgical services provider, Kremer says.

UCSD Medical Center reported operating expenses of $629.23 million and net patient revenue of $790.72 million for 2006, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, to rank No. 1 on the latest San Diego Business Journal hospitals list.

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A Major Merger:

One of the country’s largest anesthesia billing and management companies was created when three companies, one with a San Diego office, merged.

The announcement about the still unnamed company was made in early January. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

The companies , Salt Lake City-based Professional Management Group, Fort Worth, Texas-based Summit HMR and Atlanta-based MedSuite , will have offices in 11 cities, including San Diego. The headquarters will be located in Dallas.

Both Professional Management Group and Summit HMR are anesthesia billing and practice management companies, while MedSuite provides practice management software.

The San Diego office of PMG, which serves the county and is located on Convoy Street, provides 75 percent to 85 percent of anesthesia services in the region, according to J.R. Thompson, chief marketing officer of PMG. It has 54 employees and is considered the largest satellite office in the company.

There are nearly 350 employees in the newly formed company.

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Sharp’s Expanding Weight Management Program Helps Shrink Waists:

Sharp Weight Management and Health Education is launching its third program in San Diego County.

The medically supervised weight management classes are set to start in mid-February at the medical group’s Rancho Bernardo location. The weekly class is expected to have 20 to 25 attendees. The program employs 19 staff members and two physicians. Revenue figures for the program were not available by last week’s deadline.

After looking at the number of referrals coming from North County, Sharp Rees-Stealy decided to open a third weight management program to accompany the Mount Helix and Kearny Villa locations, according to Paula Burich, manager of Sharp Weight Management and Health Education.

The program uses meal replacements from Health Management Resources Corp., a Boston-based health care company, and is covered by some Sharp health plans.

Sharp Rees-Stealy is part of Sharp HealthCare, a health care system based in San Diego that has four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, two other affiliated medical groups and a health plan, and employs 14,000 people.

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Tri-City Gives Back To The Community:

The Tri-City Healthcare District announced Jan. 7 that it is accepting proposals for its annual grant program, which gives out $300,000 to nonprofit organizations in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista.

The decade-long program is changing how it will award one-third of the grant money this year. About $200,000 will be awarded, as in previous years, to organizations that “improve the health and well-being of residents of the Tri-City region,” according to a statement from the district.

For the first time, $100,000 will be presented to organizations that will work together and with Tri-City to create innovative programs, says Carol Mudgett, major gifts officer for the Tri-City Hospital Foundation. Previously, all $300,000 was awarded to organizations in the Tri-City area, although not specifically for new projects.

“We want to encourage more collaborative projects,” she said. “We’d like community organizations to come up with a new approach. And we would also like to be included.”

In 2007, 24 organizations received grants from the district, including Fraternity House, Mama’s Kitchen and the Vista Community Clinic. The deadline for proposals is March 3.

The district operates Tri-City Medical Center, a 397-bed, acute-care hospital serving residents of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista and other parts of North County.


Send health care news to Jaimy Lee at

jlee@sdbj.com

.

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