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SOUTH SIOUX CITY | Surgery patients will have the unique opportunity to complete their recovery in a hotel setting rather than a hospital bed following procedures at a new multi-million-dollar surgical center planned along the South Sioux City riverfront.

Tri-State Specialists plans to open the $37 million Riverview Surgical Center next to the Delta Hotels by Marriott, 385 E. Fourth St., next fall. The proposed two-story structure will include nearly 50,000 square feet of space to house operating rooms, medical offices and patient suites. 

Those needing post-surgery care will have an option to recover in one of nine riverfront patient suites within the center, but some will also have the option to stay in the adjacent Delta Hotels by Marriott with family under nurse and doctor supervision. 

That's something Tri-State Specialists CEO Lee Hilka said will make it a unique program in Siouxland. He pointed to the hotel recovery program at Tria Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, as the nearest such program. 

"It's all about the patient experience," Hilka said. "I want them to get in and out as quickly as possible, ensure that they’re comfortable and that it's cost effective."

During their hotel stays, patients can have family stay with them and will be attended by personal nurses, visited by doctors and physical therapists. The setting is meant to be more relaxed and help ease the transition back to home life. 

"We think when you talk to the plastic surgeons, that most of their patients would probably opt for the hotel," he said.

Riverview Surgical Center

Tri-State Specialists' planned Riverview Surgical Center will look out over the Missouri River from its location in South Sioux City. The $37 million facility will provide surgical services and allow residents to recuperate at the nearby Delta Hotels by Marriott.

Hotel owner John Gleeson said he looks forward to having a positive working relationship with the surgical center. 

"We are very pleased and willing to work with the surgical center on providing guest rooms and food and beverage services for the patients," Gleeson said.

The Delta Hotels by Marriott was formerly known as the Marina Inn. The property went through major renovations prior to transitioning to the national  brand last month.

Hilka said surgery services at the new center will include orthopedic, gastrointestinal, plastic surgery, some OB-GYN and ear, nose and throat.

The bottom floor of the structure will be the surgery center, which will include four operating rooms, four recovery rooms and pre- and post-surgery rooms. 

The top floor will include doctor's offices, which Hilka said are already entirely leased out. He said he has commitments from some Omaha and Sioux Falls specialists to come to Sioux City and provide services that patients would otherwise have to drive for. 

"They can do the consultations here. They don't have to do the surgery here, but I want to make it more convenient," Hilka said. "The physician should be coming to the patients, not the other way around." 

Approximately $28 million of the $37 million price tag for the surgery center will be equipment costs, he said. Approximately half of the staff would work at the surgery center, while the rest will be physicians and imaging and nursing staff on the second floor. 

Work on the project will begin next week and should take 11 to 12 months, Hilka said, depending on the weather. W.A. Klinger will serve as the contractor. 

Hilka said Tri-State Specialists, which is based on the campus of UnityPoint Health -- St. Luke's Hospital in Sioux City, chose the riverfront location because of its proximity to the hotel. 

"We were looking for comfort suites for an overnight stay," he said. "So we had to find basically a vacant lot for sale next to a hotel that we think is a prestigious hotel." 

Hilka said another reason to locate in Nebraska was because that state does not require surgical facilities to undergo the process for a Certificate of Need, a regulatory review process required for surgery centers in the state of Iowa. 

That factor also played in the location of the Dunes Surgical Hospital in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, when it opened in the mid-1990s. 

Hilka said Tri-State Specialists opted not to locate in South Dakota because that area already had the surgical center's presence. 

The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce will hold a ground breaking ceremony for the South Sioux City project Wednesday morning. 

News of the new development comes as Tri-State Specialists continues plans for a new two-story clinic at the southeast corner of the intersection of 27th and Pierce streets.

Hilka said that separate $3.5 million project will include urgent care on the first floor with doctor offices on the second floor. Construction will begin in March and is expected to be complete around August or September, he said. It will employ 20 to 25 people. 

Construction on the clinic was pushed back due to the reconstruction of Pierce Street. Plans had originally been to open in spring 2018, but that would now mean opening in the midst of construction on the 27th Street intersection, which would limit the facility to one access point.

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City hall reporter

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