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Published on October 29, 2020

Avera Specialty Hospital Celebrates First Year of Care

Despite a major interruption due to COVID-19, the Avera Specialty Hospital at the Avera on Louise Health Campus enjoyed a successful first year of treating patients on Sioux Falls’ southwest side.

The five-story specialty hospital and connected three-story Avera Medical Group building, comprising 260,000 square feet, was the largest building project to date in Avera history. The first patients were seen there Oct. 29, 2019.

The hospital and connected medical building offers specialty care that includes orthopedics, gastroenterology, urogynecology, rheumatology and internal medicine.

“The Avera Specialty Hospital has proven to be exactly what we planned – a consumer-friendly, easy-to-access, modern and technologically advanced health care facility. We’re meeting people where they are with specialty services that are in high demand,” said Dave Flicek, President and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. “We’re tremendously pleased that patients are well-satisfied with amazing care as we help many people to improve their quality of life.”

The building is in an easy-to-find location off the interstate exit, with ample parking. Patients find it convenient and comforting to get their clinic care and surgical care at the same familiar location.

“We’ve heard nothing but good things from both patients and providers,” said Chad Bare, Assistant Vice President of the Avera on Louise Health Campus. “Physicians and staff had significant input in the design of the facility, with features that enhance the patient experience and create a streamlined flow of care. It’s a busy place but seems incredibly calm and quiet from the patient’s vantage point.”

“As beautiful and state-of-the-art the new hospital is, it is the staff that support the hospital and take care of our patients that make it so special,” Bare added.

Eight operating rooms are equipped with the latest technology, including an orthopedic robot and GPS-guided shoulder replacement for greater precision and accuracy. The ORs also have fully integrated surgical suites with 4K video for precision viewing during surgical procedures, as well as videoconferencing capabilities.

“The Avera Specialty Hospital is for me a dream come true. When I was hired, I looked out over this empty cornfield and the recruiter said, ‘there will be a specialty hospital right over there.’ I wasn’t sure I believed it. Since it has been built, however, there has been such a wonderful feeling of healing and health in this space. So many people who have come here seeking relief from pain and suffering have come out smiling. I am happy to be a small part of that,” said Jonathan Buchanan, MD, orthopedics specialist with Avera Orthopedics.

“Moving Avera Medical Group Urogynecology to the new Avera Specialty Hospital has brought about great changes for our team and our patients. Our clinic space has expanded to accommodate more patients and see them more efficiently, and offer more in-office procedures. Our patients have easier access to our clinic being closer to the interstate as well as being able to have their surgeries done in a state-of-the-art surgical center that focuses on safety and quick recovery,” said Matthew Barker, MD, FACOG, Avera Medical Group urogynecologist.

In addition to clinic space, there are eight procedure rooms dedicated to gastroenterology.

“One year ago, a grand opening brought us a magnificent facility with an open and modern design and accessibility, unparalleled in the community and designed to continue the ministry of health care started by the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters so many years ago. The combination of a new state-of-the-art facility along with an experienced and dedicated staff in all areas greatly enhanced the ability of the Sioux Falls medical community to provide for the care of many,” said Christopher Hurley, MD, Avera Medical Group gastroenterologist.

The specialty hospital had been open for about five months when, in late March, clinic visits and planned surgeries began to be postponed in the interest of preserving valuable personal protective equipment (PPE) in the face of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continued doing urgent and emergent cases but our regular volumes were down to a minimum,” Bare said.

As Avera planned for a predicted spring/summer surge of cases, cancer and rehab services were temporarily moved to the Avera Specialty Hospital from the main Avera McKennan campus. When the predicted surge was lower than expected and Avera was fully stocked with PPE, those services moved back to the Avera McKennan campus and Avera Specialty Hospital services began to reopen.

“June was our busiest month since our opening and volumes have been very consistent since then,” Bare said. “We continue to add volume in these specialties and are very much in a growth mode as we move forward in our second year on the Avera on Louise campus.”

The Avera on Louise Health Campus is also home to the Avera Addiction Care Center and Avera Human Performance Center.

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