WAUSAU, Wis.—Patients have begun receiving outpatient procedures at Aspirus' new $3.1 million Pine Ridge Surgery Center in Wausau. The 9,500-square-foot outpatient surgery center is a joint venture between Aspirus, Surgical Associates, and Urology Specialists of Wisconsin, according to a news release. Planners expect to perform about 2,000 general outpatient and vascular surgeries per year at the center, which is just north of Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where the more complex surgeries will continue to be performed. The first surgery at Pine Ridge was performed Oct. 11. The news release said construction of the jointly operated center “further solidifies the successful partnership” between Aspirus and the two physician's groups.
Regionals: Outpatient procedures under way at Pine Ridge Surgery Center, and other news ...
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A letter of intent has been drafted signaling the beginning of a merger between Sanford Health and North Country Health Services, a 118-bed acute-care hospital in Bemidji. The NCHS board signed the letter earlier this month, and the Sanford board signed it Nov. 19. The Sanford system has maintained dual headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, N.D., since its November 2009 merger with MeritCare Health System. The new merger would include a $75 million Sanford “investment” in the Bemidji community via facilities, recruitment and technology over the next 10 years, according to the release, starting with a $5 million gift to the NCHS Foundation. No date was given for the completion of the deal, though the release said further analysis and due diligence would be done “over the next several months.” In addition to the acute-care beds, NCHS contains 16 rehabilitation beds, 12 acute geriatric beds, 78 skilled-nursing beds and 120 assisted-living apartments.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—The Mayo Clinic announced plans to spend more than $369 million to build proton beam therapy facilities at its locations in Rochester and Phoenix. The new facilities are expected to open by late 2014 or early 2015. The announcement comes amid growing concern that proton therapy is proliferating even though there may not be enough data to justify the expense. Mayo officials, however, noted that their plans call for “pencil beam scanning,” which calls for a narrower beam that they said allows for more control over radiation doses, shorter treatment times and fewer side effects. The Rochester facility is expected to cost about $187.5 million, while the one in Phoenix will run around $181.6 million. Mayo said about 500 construction jobs will be created building the two facilities, where some 250 new staffers will eventually work when the sites are fully operational—including 19 doctors and 19 physicists. Mayo also said that patients treated at the facilities will be entered into a registry to track their outcomes and to determine which patients benefit the most from the therapy.
INDIANAPOLIS—Clarian Health's Riley Hospital for Children will soon open part of a new patient tower under construction since 2006 and temporarily shelved in 2009 as part of a systemwide effort to rein in costs. On Jan. 27, 2011, the hospital plans to open three of the building's 10 floors and 120 of the 300 beds planned to be available when the project is complete in 2013. Construction of the Simon Family Tower ground to a halt in February 2009, just a few months before the first phase was to be ready to occupy, and work resumed this past March, Riley President and CEO Dan Fink said. Riley Hospital is part of the system's 1,534-bed presence in Indianapolis. “In some respects, it really worked out for the best,” Fink said, because the delay allowed the hospital to be better prepared for the move. The total cost of the project is expected to be $475 million, Fink said, with most of it paid for with cash and bond debt, as well as a $40 million gift from the Simon family, whose Simon Property Group is the largest owner of shopping malls in the U.S.
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