By John George – Senior Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal
The Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center and Premier Orthopaedics have joined together to open a $6.7 million ambulatory surgery center in King of Prussia.
Two area health systems, West Reading-based Tower Health and Crozer-Keystone Health System in Delaware County, are minority partners in the project.
The 14,500-square-foot surgery center features four operating rooms along with 14 pre- and post-op rooms. The center — which has 20 orthopedic surgeons on staff — was designed to accommodate joint replacement patients, given that procedures like knee and hip replacements are now being done on an outpatient basis.
Dr. Sidney Jacoby, a hand surgery specialist with the Philadelphia-based Hand to Shoulder Center, said the entire King of Prussia facility is geared specifically for orthopedic surgeons.
“Other surgery centers have to cater to different types of surgery — like ophthalmology or [gastrointestinal],” Jacoby said. “We cater only to ourselves.”
The foundation for what would become a partnership between the Hand to Shoulder Center and Premier Orthopedics was laid in the early 2000s. That’s when Jacoby met and became friends with Dr. Glenn Lipton, a sports medicine specialist with Newtown Square-based Premier, while both were going through medical training in Philadelphia. Jacoby was a third-year medical student at Thomas Jefferson University and met Lipton when he was a second-year resident at Drexel University’s School of Medicine in 2002.
“We ordered a lot of Chinese food together,” Lipton said.
They remained friends after joining their different medical groups, and often referred patients to each other’s practices.
“We have different skill sets,” Lipton said.
Lipton said the orthopedic surgeons at both physician groups, which have dozens of practice sites through the region, perform procedures at a variety of area hospitals and outpatient care centers. Neither group, however, previously owned its own outpatient surgery facility.
Each, Jacoby said, was looking into the possibility of building a surgery center in the King of Prussia area where they could provide high quality care in a more cost-effective manner, but the expense was prohibitive for either to do on their own.
“We probably could not have done this without having a relationship,” Lipton said.
The $6.9 million price tag for the surgery center consisted of $4.2 million in construction costs and $2.5 million in equipment purchases, according to Colleen O’Brien, the center’s executive director.
The center was constructed with a high-tech ventilation system to protect patients and staff against airborne illness such as Covid-19.
Surgical services provided at the center on the 900 block of Pulaski Road include general orthopedic surgery, spine surgery, total joint replacements, trauma and fracture care, and sports medicine.
O’Brien said the center, which had a soft opening this summer, expects to handle between 4,200 and 4,500 surgeries next year. It has already performed about 90 surgeries this year. The center opened with a staff of 16, but O’Brien said she expects that number to grow in 2021.