|Ocala, FL -
December 12, 2012|
Published in Ocala.com on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.
The leadership of Munroe Regional Medical Center, hoping to expand Munroe's share of the outpatient surgery market, agreed this week to buy a 20 percent share of Surgery Center of Ocala's business.
The new partnership will give the nonprofit, 421-bed hospital access to Surgery Center's four operating rooms, two medical procedural rooms and 6 percent of the market share that the facility at 3241 SW 34th St. now controls.
In exchange, Surgery Center, which performs about 4,200 procedures annually, will have potential access to Munroe's market, benefit from its larger buying power when it comes to supplies and medicines, and receive clearance to open its facility to doctors affiliated with Munroe, said Michael Guarino, Surgery Center administrator.
Surgery Center is currently operating at about 50 percent capacity, so it has ample opportunity to expand, said Marc Miller, Munroe's senior vice president of physician services. The move also allows Munroe to join a profitable company and potentially grow its own volume of patients, Miller said.
Guarino said the partnership is typical of health care companies creating joint ventures in order to operate more efficiently, share resources and expand market share. Such partnerships allow both businesses to diversify, brace for an uncertain health care industry future, or profit when opportunities arise.
Miller told Munroe board members this week that the Surgery Center partnership makes sense because it will give newly hired Munroe surgeons and Munroe satellite facilities — such as Munroe Regional's The Oaks at 138th — the operating room space staff need.
In addition to the Villages' campus, Munroe has recently hired additional orthopedic and cardiovascular surgeons as well as significantly expended its wound care business. This summer, Munroe also formalized a partnership with Ocala Surgical Associates.
Munroe has 15 general operating rooms, four cardiovascular operating rooms and two maternity operating rooms. Surgery Center has four operating rooms and two procedure rooms.
Miller said the partnership with Surgery Center will reduce patient waiting time for medical procedures, give doctors more flexibility and save Munroe money because it won't have to build those additional operating room facilities for itself.
Saving that money will also allow Munroe to invest in other medical services and, in the long run, benefit patients, Miller said.
Munroe is owned by the state-sanctioned Marion County Hospital District and is overseen by seven trustees who are appointed by the County Commission. The trustees currently lease the hospital to Munroe Regional Health System Inc., which is overseen by a 13-member board, some of whose members also are district trustees.
Munroe is buying 20 percent of the operations of the Surgery Center business, not the real estate. Munroe's cost for its share of the business is $784,853, and it expects to make its money back in about six years.
The current ownership makeup of Surgery Center is Symbion Healthcare, which owns 51 percent of the company, and 20 area doctors, who own 49 percent. Munroe will be buying 10 percent of the operating business from each of the two groups, for a total of 20 percent.
Symbion is a Tennessee-based company that owns more than 65 short-stay surgical facilities.
Surgery Center generates about $5 million annually and $800,000 every year in profits, Miller told Munroe board members. Symbion also provides all of the business' management serves for an additional 5 percent of the surgery center's net revenues.
Currently, Munroe has 43 percent of Marion County outpatient surgery market. Surgery Center has 6 percent of the market.