The biggest challenge in converting a savings and loan into a surgery center? "Getting the bank vault out," says nurse consultant Leslie Mattson, RN BSHM, the CEO of ALM Surgical Solutions in Macon, Ga., of the quirk in her latest development project. But there's a contractor for that, so you can add vault excavation and extraction to the list of the many small and not-so-small things a development consultant can do during the months of complicated planning, design and construction before you get those doors open and get those first patients on the table.
It takes a team
Whether you're building new from the ground up or retrofitting an existing building, it takes a team of professional advisors to raise a surgical facility. "Architect, attorney, general contractor there's lots of moving parts," says Ms. Mattson. No matter the size and scope of your project, you know you've crossed the finish line when you've secured a certificate of occupancy, state licensure and Medicare certification.
Your development consultant should see you all the way through, managing every aspect of the project, from construction to policies and procedures, from equipment planning to recruiting staff, from installing sprinklers and fire alarms to installing phone cables and gas lines. "Hire someone who has expertise in surgical construction and can manage the project to get you up and functioning as soon as possible," says Ms. Mattson.
When should you hire a consultant? "The sooner the better," says Ms. Mattson. "It's such a tight timeline once you start the process." In her home state of Georgia, once you apply for a state license to build a new facility, you have only 6 months to complete the timeline. "When that trigger gets pulled, you want to hit the ground running," she says. "It's important to have the right people in place early on."
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