Spokane Journal of Business

Sacred Heart to spin off share of surgery center

Limited liability company owned by hospital, doctors will operate the facility

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Sacred Heart Medical Center plans to shift the ownership of its ambulatory surgery center, located in the Sacred Heart Doctors Building on the hospital campus, to a new limited liability corporation that will be owned by Sacred Heart and surgeons who use the center, says Gerard Fischer, the hospitals vice president for health-systems development.

Shared ownership of the surgery center between the hospital and doctors is part of Sacred Hearts strategy to work more closely with the medical community, Fischer says. The ownership change also should make the surgery center more efficient, he says. Typically, when physicians are more involved in the daily functions of such a facility they help streamline its operation and use resources more efficiently, Fischer says.

To bring about the shift in ownership, Sacred Heart has created the new limited liability corporation, Inland Northwest Ambulatory Surgery Center LLC, to assume the assets of the center, which Sacred Heart says are worth about $3.4 million. Sacred Heart will retain at least 50 percent of the ownership of the new company and the remaining shares will be offered for sale to surgeons who use the facility.

In order to do this, the center must have a separate license, outside that of the hospital, Fischer says.

The limited liability corporation has applied to the Washington state Department of Health for a certificate of need to operate the center. The review process for that approval has started, and state officials are expected to render a decision by early June, Fischer says.

While Sacred Heart is a nonprofit entity, the new limited liability corporation will be a for-profit venture. Fischer says the corporation is developing offering documents that will be sent to surgeons to describe the opportunity to invest in the new corporations shares.

The surgery center has six operating rooms and is used for a wide variety of outpatient surgeries, including urological, gynecological, ear-nose-and-throat, podiatric, and general surgeries.

Fischer says the center currently can be used by any doctor with surgical privileges at Sacred Heart, and was used by about 100 surgeons last year. Surgeons interested in using the center after the ownership change will have to apply for surgical privileges from the new company, Fischer says, but wont have to be investors in the company to use the center.

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