New endoscopy center opens at Ludington hospital

August 7, 2014

Center is employee funded. 

LUDINGTON — A new two-suite endoscopy facility, funded primarily by employee contributions, opens this week in the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital surgery department. A recognition celebration for the employee donors is scheduled for Wednesday, August 13.

Completion of the new facility is the final project in the expansion and renovation plans, titled “Building Exceptional Health Care,” launched two years ago. Construction began June 18, 2012 and included such major features as the new entrance and lobby, new emergency department, greatly expanded surgery department, and renovations that grouped various services in an “outpatient zone” adjacent to the new lobby.

“Our board initiated Building Exceptional Healthcare to provide enhanced convenience, privacy and dignity for our patients and an exceptional professional environment for our staff,” said Mark Vipperman president. “We believe we are succeeding in achieving that enhanced patient experience, which we will now be able to extend to our many endoscopy patients. The improvements we’ve made to the hospital truly touch the lives of everyone we serve.”

Employee fundraising

The employee TEAM club adopted the endoscopy facility as its fundraising focus for 2012-14. The group succeeded in raising more than $200,000—approximately two-thirds of the cost of the $325,000 facility—from donations by 262 staff members. The remaining cost is provided from hospital construction reserves.

TEAM stands for “Together Employees Achieve More,” and is the employee-run fundraising arm of the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Foundation. Co-chairs are Ed Makowicki, pharmacy director, and Brian Buter, who heads nuclear medicine in the medical imaging department.

“The TEAM initiative is entirely driven by employee volunteers,” said Kaley Petersen, foundation director, “and focused on improvements to benefit patients. They choose the projects to support and are an integral part of the foundation’s efforts to provide opportunities for the community to support and enhance our hospital.”

Since TEAM was launched in 2005, employees have raised more than $475,000 for a range of facility improvements and equipment purchases.

”Our staff deserves tremendous accolades,” added Vipperman. “Not only is their work exceptional; their willingness to invest their own funds in our hospital demonstrates how much they care about our patients.”

Endoscopy suites

The new suites provide surgeons a dedicated endoscopy facility within the surgery department for the first time. Endoscopy refers to minimally-invasive procedures that utilize various types of flexible instruments known as “scopes,” which may incorporate surgical implements as well as tiny cameras to assist the surgeon’s skill.

Kelly Larr, director of surgery, explained that the facility consists of two procedure rooms joined by a processing room for equipment handling after use. The endoscopy suites are larger than the rooms previously used, improving efficiency during procedures. Having a separate processing room enhances patient safety by immediately removing used equipment from the operating environment.”

Larr expects the busy endoscopy program will typically have 7-8 procedures per day in each suite, with capacity at about 20 total procedures. The new suites will be utilized five days per week, and on weekends as needed.

Drew Dostal, vice president of operations (and former surgery director), said there is one significant area left for future renovation. The previous emergency department area, adjacent to surgery, had originally been envisioned as the location for the endoscopy facility.  Future use of that space is under active consideration by the board and administration.

“The decision to incorporate endoscopy into the expanded surgery department had many advantages,” Dostal said. “We reduced cost and improved staff efficiency and flexibility. Plus we are better positioned for any emergency intervention that may be required. And it leaves us with space for additional improvements.”

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