This content is sponsored by Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center.
In a major development related to healthcare access in southern Prince George’s County, Adventist HealthCare recently opened its new state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center located at National Harbor.
“This is a point of pride and elation for all the health care providers here,” said Dr. Kenneth Fisher, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center.
Fisher also serves as the ambulatory surgery center’s medical director.
“Healthcare providers could not be more pleased, from the nurses to the physicians to the support staff,” Fisher said. “We just see this as a win-win for the community.”
According to Fisher, the new facility is partially open now and is on track to start performing fully operational surgeries in the first quarter of 2024.
It is projected to perform 300 surgeries per month in its first year.
In years two through four, 700 surgeries per month are expected. It is anticipated that the center will conduct 800 surgeries per month over the course of its fifth year.
It’s all in the name of reducing local health care disparities in southern Prince George’s County and helping residents find medical care close to where they live so they don’t need to travel to places such as other Maryland counties, Virginia or D.C.
“For far too long, the residents of our community have had to outsource their health care,” Fisher said. “This is really about delivering the right care in the right setting.”
The new center is equipped to practice a variety of specialties, including bariatric, ear, nose and throat, gastroenterology, general surgery, interventional cardiology, interventional radiology, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedic/podiatry, pain/spine, urology and more.
Healthcare close to home
Adventist HealthCare is uniquely positioned to respond to chronic medical and healthcare challenges that often distress residents in southern Prince George’s County.
As such, leadership is committed to creating more convenient local healthcare experiences, particularly in areas that lack comprehensive and compassionate world-class care.
When healthcare is readily available nearby, patients are more likely to engage in preventive measures, leading to better overall health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs in the long run.
Regular check-ups and screenings are essential for detecting and addressing health issues before they escalate into more serious and costly conditions.
“The further we have to travel for medical care, the less likely we are to seek it unless we absolutely have to,” Fisher said.
Patients who receive ongoing treatment for chronic conditions benefit from easy access to their healthcare providers.
It fosters a stronger patient-provider relationship and allows for better management of chronic illnesses, reducing the likelihood of treatment complications.
“It has been proven that the distance and inconvenience that one has to endure makes it less likely for that person to do the things they need to do to actually stay healthy and out of the hospital,” Fisher explained.
Essentially, having local access to robust healthcare facilities improves overall community well-being.
“You’d be surprised how many of our employees actually live in the community that they want to serve, taking care of the people that they go to church with and shop with,” Fisher said. “There’s excitement around being able to do well by the community.”
Taking pressure off the hospital
Opening the ambulatory surgery center near Fort Washington Medical Center will have significant benefits in alleviating pressure on the hospital and improving overall healthcare delivery.
Surgeries will be performed on an outpatient basis at the new center, meaning patients generally will not require an overnight stay.
Examples of procedures that may be performed there include cataract treatments, carpal tunnel surgeries, colonoscopies and minor biopsies.
“There’s a trend in healthcare right now to try to move same-day surgeries to the outpatient setting, because that frees up hospital resources for the sicker, more acute patients,” said Fisher.
Hospitals routinely face high demand for surgical procedures, leading to long waiting lists.
By diverting certain types of surgeries to the nearby center at National Harbor, Fort Washington Medical Center will be able to focus on more complex cases and urgent procedures, ultimately decreasing the time patients have to wait for their surgeries.
This will make the hospital’s operating rooms available for more complicated surgeries and emergencies.
According to Fisher, when the ambulatory center is fully operational, there will be an “immediate impact” at the hospital.
“It will allow us to relieve pressure from the hospital setting,” Fisher explained. “The better we are able to allocate services and resources to the proper areas, the better job we do serving the community.”