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Surgery Center Deal Sewn Up

Orthopedic surgeon Robert Montgomery, M.D. (right) is shown with surgical tech Marisa Althaqeb in Laguna Hills’ Saddleback Outpatient Surgery Center, a trend to move surgeries outside of hospitals.

Orthopedic surgeon Robert Montgomery, M.D. (right) is shown with surgical tech Marisa Althaqeb in Laguna Hills’ Saddleback Outpatient Surgery Center, a trend to move surgeries outside of hospitals.

Physicians involved with six hospitals in the region announced a plan to develop out-patient surgery centers in Orange and Los Angeles counties in a venture with an Alabama company that operates 150 such centers nationwide.

Newly established Beach Surgical Holdings, LLC, is owned and operated by MemorialCare Medical Foundation, which includes more than 2,000 doctors, and Surgical Care Affiliates, based in Birmingham, Ala.

“Forty years ago nearly all surgeries were performed in hospitals,” says Barry Arbuckle, PhD, president and chief executive of Fountain Valley-based MemorialCare Health System, which operates Saddleback Memorial in Laguna Hills and five other hospitals. “Many are now performed on a same-day basis in ambulatory surgery centers. This frees up surgical time in hospitals for those procedures that require hospitalization while saving U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by moving more surgeries into convenient, high quality, outpatient settings.”

The first locations in the joint venture resulted from a merger of existing surgery centers near the Laguna Hills hospital and another on El Toro Road in Laguna Woods. Beach Surgical Holdings owns a 51 percent interest in the joint venture and will provide  management services for the centers. The remaining 49 percent interest is owned by 50 physician partners and Monarch HealthCare, said a statement.

No similar freestanding outpatient surgery centers support Mission Hospital, though such services are near the Mission Viejo facility. Even so, doctors completed 686 outpatient surgeries at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach in the most recent fiscal year, said spokesman Brian Greene.

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