ChristianaCare exploring joint backbone surgical procedure middle

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ChristianaCare, the state’s largest hospital system, has filed a notice of intent to explore the possibility of a joint venture spine ambulatory surgery center. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CRHISTIANACARE

WILMINGTON ChristianaCare and Delaware Neurosurgical Group, P.A. have filed a notice of intent to explore the possibility of a joint venture spine ambulatory surgery center.

The proposed Center of Spine Surgery would cost $4.8 million in capital expenses, according ChristianaCare’s notice to the Delaware Health Resources Board.

Under the notice of intent, the two health care organizations have at least 30 days to file its application before the state board. ChristianaCare spokesman William Schmitt noted that this was “the initial step in the process that can take several months” and provided no additional comment.

The proposed Center of Spine Surgery would be located at ChristianaCare’s Wilmington Campus and would require minor renovations of an existing building, according to the notice. It would include six operating rooms and have capacity for same-day and short-stay surgeries.

This facility would be jointly owned and operated by both ChristianaCare and Delaware Neurosurgical Group, a medical practice that specializes in degenerative, oncologic and traumatic conditions of the brain, spine and spinal cord. The practice has offices in Newark, Wilmington, Dover and Rehoboth Beach and eight physicians poised to serve the Delaware region.

Both parties are currently negotiating an operating and management agreement for the facility.

The Center of Spine Surgery, if it does pass all regulatory hurdles, would be the latest venture to target Delaware’s aging population. Delaware is the seventh oldest state, and the Delaware Population Consortium projects that there will be 35% more Delawareans age 65 or older by 2025.

Health care spending for a 64-year-old costs nearly 44% more than a 54-year-old and 115% more than someone between the ages 26 and 44, according to the Delaware Healthcare Association.

DEHA President and CEO Wayne Smith declined to comment specifically about the proposal, but noted that in a rapidly changing environment, hospitals and health care providers are constantly exploring innovative ways to serve patients.

“Hospitals are constantly assessing health care needs in terms of the population, demographics and procedures. In a highly advanced health care world in which we inhabit, partnerships help form new service lines as well as offerings that best serve the need for Delawareans,” Smith said.

By Katie Tabeling

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