UKnow: UK HealthCare Enters into Joint Venture for Lexington Surgery Center to Expand, Enhance Outpatient Services

By Kristi Willett

(Aug. 24, 2018)  ̶  The executive committee of University of Kentucky Board of Trustees on Aug. 23 approved a plan for UK HealthCare to expand outpatient care throughout the Bluegrass and increase surgical capacity through a joint venture for Lexington Surgery Center.

The joint venture, with UK HealthCare as the majority partner, is with Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC (SCA), the current majority owner of Lexington Surgery Center and part of health services leader Optum.

Specifically, UK HealthCare – through a newly created UK-affiliated corporation, Surgery Blue – will own 51 percent of the general partnership of Lexington Surgery Center. SCA will own 49 percent of the general partnership and will continue to manage the facility under a management agreement.

UK HealthCare physicians will begin practicing at Lexington Surgery Center alongside current care providers once the transaction is finalized.

Lexington Surgery Center opened in 1981. In 2002, the facility moved to its current Harrodsburg Road 27,000-square-foot location, with eight operating rooms and four procedure rooms.

"This venture is a win for the University of Kentucky, for Lexington and the Bluegrass, and most importantly for our patients," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "Serving the total health care needs of Kentuckians is our mission. We are excited about this opportunity to provide better access to these vitally important services in our community."

Currently, UK HealthCare needs more capacity for surgical services, and moving some outpatient procedures to Lexington Surgery Center will improve access for patients at the South Broadway site.

Access to Lexington Surgery Center will also improve access to operating rooms for complex and advanced subspecialty procedures at UK HealthCare's current on-site surgical facilities. Those are located at UK Chandler Hospital, the Center for Advanced Surgery located in the Gill Heart Institute and at Good Samaritan Hospital.

"Along with our existing expertise in advanced subspecialty care, we must enhance ambulatory and outpatient care to better serve our own UK employees and their families as well as providing more accessible, cost-effective care to those who need it most," said Dr. Mark F. Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "This venture also creates needed additional surgical capacity throughout our health care system, enabling us to better serve all of our patients."

Newman said it was important to proceed with the executive committee vote now because 15 new surgical recruits are anticipated to begin by the end of the October. Those recruits, along with existing UK HealthCare physicians, need space to practice in both inpatient and outpatient settings, he said.

“We needed more flexibility with space and capacity  to satisfy patient demand and support our faculty and clinical support teams,” Newman said. “Right now, we are severely constrained in the space we have to provide both advanced care and outpatient care. This move creates additional capacity and better ensures that the care being provided is done in the most cost-effective and efficient manner and space possible.”

SCA Group Vice President Daniel Riggs lauded the partnership as one between two health care enterprises with complementary areas of expertise: outstanding outpatient surgical care combined with an academic medical center on the cutting edge of advanced subspecialty medicine.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare to provide high-quality outpatient surgical services to the people of Central Kentucky, " Riggs said.