Article Published: Saturday, July 24, 2004
Sutter readies new Fairfield referral facility
By Tom Hall/Staff Writer
With Wal-Mart on one side and the Anheuser-Busch plant on the other, the new $30 million Sutter Fairfield Medical Campus off Chadbourne Road sticks out like a sore thumb.
Conveniently enough, doctors at the campus's 17,000-square-foot Fairfield Surgery Center can fix a sore thumb, a faulty digestive system or blood vessel problems. All of the surgery is on an outpatient basis, and the campus, which is a referral facility, does not offer hospital care.
The surgery center sits on the second floor of the building, holding $2.5 million of high-tech equipment, along with five operating rooms of 500 square feet each.
Dr. Robert Takamoto, Sutter Fairfield's medical director, said having that much space to work with is a huge advantage.
"These rooms are so large - you could do open heart surgery in here if you wanted to," Takamoto laughed.
Downstairs from the expansive surgery center is the campus' Diagnostic Imaging Center - a completely digital radiology department.
The 18,000-square-foot center is home to high-tech machines performing magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, mammography, bone densitometry, fluoroscopy and run-of-the-mill general radiology. James Grosskopf, the campus' lead administrator, said all of the equipment at Sutter Fairfield - most of which was built by General Electric - is top-of-the-line.
"This CT scanner is three times faster than normal quad scanners," Grosskopf said while showing off the $1 million machine.
The best part of the new imaging center, Grosskopf said, is that it is completely digital - no X-ray film, no physical storage, no searching through filing cabinets for patients' records.
"If you don't have film, you don't have storage costs," Grosskopf said. "We also save on our personnel costs."
X-ray images are shot straight from the scanning machines to a central room in the imaging center to be viewed. The digital archives are stored in Sacramento and can be accessed - with proper security clearance - from any Sutter campus.
"There's no personal files to deal with. It's all in there," Grosskopf said, pointing at a computer.
John S. Ray, chief executive officer of Sutter Regional Medical Foundation, said there is another seven acres on which to expand at the site, though the focus right now is on getting the campus up and running. The first patients are expected to walk through the entrance atrium Sept. 7.
The site was chosen by Sutter because of the needs in that part of the county, said Patricia Porras, the regional operations manager for Health Inventures. Health Inventures will provide management services for the campus.
"There are limitations on access to these kind of services in Fairfield," Porras said.
Ray said the idea of a Sutter campus in Fairfield sprang to life four years ago. Sutter operates facilities across Northern California, including medical offices in Vacaville, Rio Vista and Fairfield; medical centers in Sacramento, Roseville and Vallejo; and a hospital in Davis.
Sutter Fairfield will hold a community open house Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Refreshments and tours will be available, as will drawings for free bone-density screenings and lipid blood tests.
Porras said Sutter Fairfield, 80,000 square feet in size, has the potential to serve 3,800 patients per year. With all the surgery outpatient and with no hospital care, Takamoto said, schedules should flow smoothly.
"It's so efficient this way," the doctor said. "Unless a surgeon gets called away, everyone will be operated on right on time."
Tom Hall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
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