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SOSI to revolutionize orthopaedic and spine care in northwest Colorado

State-of-the-art surgery center and full-service clinic to enhance patient experience, lower costs

Written by Lauren Glendenning
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today

Editor’s Note: This Sponsored content is brought to you by Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute.

Through an extensive renovation of a 27,000-square-foot building just off South Lincoln Avenue, SOSI’s new clinic and surgery center will now offer patients a one-stop shop for orthopaedic care.

An improved patient experience, lower surgery costs and more-efficient collaboration among physicians are just a few of the benefits that Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute (SOSI) anticipates from its new clinic and surgery center.

Through an extensive renovation of a 27,000-square-foot building just off South Lincoln Avenue and minutes from the base of the ski resort, SOSI now has a space that gives patients a one-stop shop for orthopaedic care: surgery, occupational therapy, X-ray, MRI, physical therapy, office appointments, injections and more.

The new SOSI building, which opened in July, delivers a state-of-the-art facility to the Yampa Valley that’s on par with any in Colorado or the region. Responsible for the project are SOSI’s five partner surgeons: Drs. Michael Sisk, Andreas Sauerbrey, Alexander Meininger, Patrick Johnston and Clint Devin.

“The SOSI building is going to be a key piece in providing a better patient experience for orthopaedic care,” Dr. Johnston said. “It changes the way we deliver care with everything — office, MRI and surgery — being offered in one location for patients.”

Added convenience, efficiency for SOSI patients

When SOSI was formed in 2018 by the merger of two prominent orthopaedic groups, the need for a larger space became essential. As a single practice, SOSI now had more resources to achieve goals such as improved patient care, patient experience, access to care, and affordability. And a big factor in achieving those goals is the new SOSI building, where procedure rooms, therapy space, MRI and an ambulatory surgery center now coexist in one place.

“Vertical integration, or the ability to offer all of our services in one location — office visits, imaging, MRI and surgeries — will revolutionize orthopaedic and spine care in northwest Colorado,” Dr. Sauerbrey said.

Dr. Sisk said the new facility allows SOSI to provide the same world class care, but in a more affordable, intimate setting. 

“I want my patients to feel like they’re being treated as family,” Dr. Sisk said. “We offer the best care available, and it’s highly personalized so you’re never going to be just a number in our office.”

The SOSI clinic will now house two brand-new GE Digital Radiography units (X-rays) and an imaging suite with a state-of-the-art MRI scanner that produces high-resolution images at faster speeds.

First-floor ambulatory surgery center for outpatient procedures

In partnership with UCHealth, the first-floor ambulatory surgery center (ASC) paves the way for a world-class patient experience and lower-cost surgeries than those done in hospitals. The Steamboat Surgery Center project has officially been in the making since 2018. Physicians, however,  have recognized its need in the community for much longer.

“ASCs can lower the cost of care and keep healthy outpatient surgeries in a facility where they aren’t exposed to sick people — something that has really been brought to light with the recent pandemic,” Dr. Johnston said.

The first floor of the building houses the surgery center, which is expected to lower the cost of outpatient surgeries and improve the patient experience, which wouldn’t have been possible without the merger that created SOSI, Dr. Meininger said.

“We’re now able to use economics of scale as a large group to offer more services, expand our practice and launch new ventures,” he said.

Dr. Sauerbrey said SOSI won’t be eliminating hospital surgeries, but the new surgery center allows for a redistribution of cases that are more amenable to an outpatient setting.

“About 90% of what I do can be done in an outpatient center, and surgery centers allow us to offer reduced rates and great outcomes,” he said.

The new SOSI building, expected to open June 29, delivers a state-of-the-art facility to the Yampa Valley where SOSI patients have access to office appointments, imaging services and surgery all in one location.

SOSI’s state-of-the-art X-ray machines, MRI scanner

The SOSI clinic houses two brand-new GE Digital Radiography units (X-rays) and an imaging suite with a state-of-the-art MRI scanner that produces high-resolution images at faster speeds, shortening the amount of time a patient has to spend in the scanner while providing the highest-quality diagnostic images.

Stephen Veals, SOSI’s project coordinator, said the X-ray technology has four times the amount of pixels per area than other units and minimizes the need for X-ray retakes, thus minimizing radiological exposure.

“Our units will deliver extraordinary anatomical detail and clarity at the very lowest dose in every X-ray image,” he said.

The new MRI scanner, a GE 1.5 Tesla Signa Voyager, significantly improves patients’ MRI experience, thanks to image stabilization and noise-reduction technology. In older MRI scanners, one little movement during the scan could trigger the need to reschedule the scan, but this scanner isn’t nearly as sensitive.

“It also has a wider bore, which gives people more comfort and less claustrophobia,” Veals said. “And the noise-reducing component brings it within three decibels of ambient noise. It’s extraordinarily positive in terms of patient comfort.”

SOSI building highlights
  • New X-ray machines
    SOSI now offers two high-definition X-ray machines, the latest generation GE Digital Radiography units. The technology minimizes the need for retakes, minimizing radiological exposure for patients and delivering images in extraordinary anatomical detail.
  • New MRI scanner
    The first-floor imaging suite features the brand new GE 1.5 Tesla Signa Voyager MRI scanner. which produces high-resolution images at faster speeds. Motion correction and noise-reduction technologies also make the scan significantly more comfortable for patients.
  • Integration of orthopaedic services — a one-stop shop
    SOSI now offers all services in one location — office visits, imaging and surgeries — providing a better patient experience for orthopaedic care. Also, SOSI aims to include occupational- and physical-therapy services in the building.
  • Modern surgery center
    In partnership with UCHealth, the first-floor ambulatory surgery center (ASC) paves the way for a world-class patient experience and lower-cost surgeries than those done in hospitals. The 9,150-square-foot Steamboat Surgery Center features two operating rooms for outpatient surgeries, delivering an elevated patient experience in a comfortable setting.
  • Lower costs
    Several aspects about the new SOSI building will help make care more affordable. The surgery center has a significantly lower facility fee than a hospital — typically about 30% lower — and some in-office surgeries don’t have a facility fee at all.SOSI’s MRI rates have traditionally been less than the hospital rates — and that trend will continue. And the ability to provide all aspects of care under one roof creates better efficiency.
  • Now open
    Construction on the clinic and ASC wrapped up in June, with SOSI moving into its new office space in July. MRIs and X-rays started being offered immediately, while surgeries will go through a ramp-up period with frequency increasing each month.

Personalized surgical patient care

Providing convenience and more affordable care isn’t just a bonus for patients, it’s a true benefit to the entire community.

When a patient has surgery at Steamboat Surgery Center, they will have a patient experience that has actually been created by their surgeons, Dr. Johnston said. With very little bureaucracy in an ASC setting, patient feedback can quickly lead to changes for improvements in care.

Surgery centers also provide a more concierge-type experience than the often-intimidating environment of a hospital.

“The experience is comfortable, highly personable and really anxiety-reducing as compared to a hospital setting,” Veals said.

SOSI commissioned Noah Wetzel, a local award winning photographer, to take a picture of local ski jumper Annika Belshaw soaring through the air off the Howelsen ski jump at night. This picture will be 30 feet tall and will be seen as you walk up the staircase into the SOSI office.

Lower costs

Outpatient-surgery centers tend to be about 30% less expensive than surgeries done in hospitals. For example, the fees associated with a spine-fusion surgery done in a hospital would be about 85% for the facility, with the remaining 15% for the surgeon and anesthesia, Dr. Devin said.

“If you’re reducing an 85% facility fee by 30%, that’s not a trivial amount,” he said. “If you have very experienced surgeons and thorough pre-op assessments, there’s no reason an outpatient surgery center wouldn’t be the optimal location for many of these surgeries.”

SOSI’s MRI rates have traditionally been less than a hospital’s rates, and those savings are also expected to continue at the new SOSI clinic.

“We’re providing the tip of the spear world-class care, but we want to keep costs down as much as possible,” Dr. Sisk said.

These surgery and MRI savings are enjoyed by both patients and insurance companies, which is a major benefit for some of the employers in town that are self-insured such as the city and the school district, Dr. Johnston said.

“These cost savings will ultimately save money for these organizations,” he said.


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