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PROGRESS: $37M surgical center planned for South Sioux City

PROGRESS: $37M surgical center planned for South Sioux City

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY | Surgery patients would 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 proposed along the South Sioux City riverfront.

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

Those needing post-surgery care would have an option to recover in one of nine riverfront patient suites within the center, but some would 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 in an interview last fall. "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.

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 in an interview last fall.

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 fall.

The bottom floor of the Riverview Surgical Center would be the surgery center, which would include four operating rooms, four recovery rooms and pre- and post-surgery rooms. 

The top floor would 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 last fall. "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 would 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 begin in November. W.A. Klinger, a Sioux City-based construction business Gleeson leads, serves as the general contractor. 

After the project was announced, Pierce Street Same Day Surgery in Sioux City sued a physicians group and several doctors for their involvement in Riverview Surgical Center, claiming those involved are violating non-compete clauses. On Feb. 5, Iowa District Court Judge Duane Hoffmeyer granted Pierce Street's request for a temporary injunction against the doctors until a trial can be held to determine if the physicians violated non-compete agreements they had with the surgery center while having some perceived role in the development of the South Sioux City center.

Hoffmeyer denied Pierce Street's request for an injunction against Tri-State Specialists. In his ruling, the judge wrote, "Though an injunction may limit Riverview's marketing efforts and physician investor pool for a period of time, it is unlikely to delay or hinder the completion of the project enough to postpone its spring of 2019 target date."

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The $32 million, physician-owned and directed surgical center will a wide variety of medical care. The first surgeries are scheduled for the second week of October. "We want to be a destination. This state-of-the-art facility will help make us a destination," the mayor said.

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