Published August 18, 2009
Volume 17, Number 8

Hacienda Surgery Center Ramps Up Quickly
Open Less than a Year, Center Now Performs Over 300 Procedures per Month

The Hacienda Surgery Center is at the corner of Willow and

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

Open since October 2008, the Hacienda Surgery Center (HSC) has already claimed its place as a key healthcare provider in the region, with a patient volume that has quickly risen to 300-plus cases per month. This fast track to success is hardly an overnight phenomenon, however. Rather, it is the result of visionary thinking, backed up by almost five years of meticulous planning to meet exacting industry standards.

The driving force behind the new facility was a pair of far-sighted and energetic physicians: Robert Malstrom, M.D., a musculoskeletal specialist, founder and President of Tri-Valley Orthopedic Specialists (TVO), and President of HSC; and Gregory Horner, M.D., a hand specialist and CFO of the Surgery Center, according to Ken Venos, M.D., the Center’s Medical Director and an orthopedic surgeon himself. Recognizing the role of decentralized patient care in offsetting rising medical costs, Drs. Malstrom and Harner resolved to help the community adapt to the changing healthcare landscape by creating an ambulatory surgery center offering orthopaedic, gastroenterology, ENT, spinal, and pain services.

The search for an appropriate site for the proposed center was “not a simple task,” relates Venos. When the 32,000-sf building at 4626 Willow Road became available a few years ago, the project became viable—especially with the prospect of a co-located TVO on the second floor.

The next hurdle was retrofitting the 1980s tilt-up to accommodate all the systems and equipment necessary for outpatient surgery, and making sure the building was up to current codes. “This was not a rehab, it was a total reconstruction. We now meet full standards for fire and earthquake safety, but the only way to do that was to take the building down to the studs.” Given its magnitude, the project actually “went quite smoothly,” Venos notes, observing that “to anticipate, build, license, and open a facility like this over such short a timeline is quite an accomplishment.”

In the course of the reconstruction, the entire existing information infrastructure was removed and replaced with state-of-the-art technology, putting both organizations several steps ahead of the current national initiative for electronic patient records. “Our IT team has created a very sophisticated system that has equipped us with the full armamentarium for sharing patient information, such as MRI studies from other facilities. The Obama Administration has made paperless information systems and electronic patient management mandatory for 2015, but we are already at that apex,” he says.

A synergistic relationship with MedBridge, a Santa Barbara-based company that develops and manages medical facilities, was instrumental in “avoiding hiccups” throughout the process, Venos adds.  “The complexities of insurance contracting, licensure, etc., demand a high level of attention. MedBridge was involved from early in construction, and, because of the specialized expertise required, our facility manager and human resources manager are MedBridge employees.”  

The 16 surgeons who practice from the facility are supported by a staff of  49 full-time employees,  including operating room and recovery room nurses, scrub technicians, sterile processors, and medical assistants. The director of nursing, operating room manager, and post-op and recovery manager are also on site, along with materials management and administrative personnel.

For more information, visit www.haciendasc.com.


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