Carney dedicates its latest plus— a surgical center

Copeland Surgical Center launch: Dr. Martin Williams, Carney Hospital's chief of surgery, speaks at the official launch.Copeland Surgical Center launch: Dr. Martin Williams, Carney Hospital's chief of surgery, speaks at the official launch.Officials and staff of  Dorchester’s Carney Hospital gathered last week for the official dedication of the hospital’s new Copeland Surgical Center. The facility, located at the Seton lobby entrance off the rear paring lot, adds new services to the hospital.
The center will specialize in the treatment of problem wounds, described as “a growing problem spurred by the aging of America and the increase in diabetes.” The center will offer out-patient, hospital-based wound care and hyperbaric medicine in conjunction with a patient’s primary care physician. Weekday hours will be offered between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. 
“From the lobby you can enter the Copeland Surgical Center where two new clinical programs are being offered,” said hospital president Dr. Daniel O’Leary.  “One is our Wound Care Program, with its two hyperbaric oxygen chambers.  The other is our Venous Ablation Program.  Both these services are up and running.”
Dr. O’Leary was joined at the dedication by Caritas Christi Health Care CEO Dr. Ralph de la Torre and Dr. Martin Williams, Carney’s chief of surgery and medical director of the program.
“We are excited to be able to provide this much-needed addition to our program,” Dr. Williams said. “Our entire multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and technicians are trained to provide comprehensive treatment and care.”
Elizabeth Clifford, program director for the center explained,  “Our program is completely devoted to healing problem wounds, and helping our patients to reclaim their quality of life. The majority of the patients who are treated at the center will achieve healing without the need of hyperbaric oxygen treatment. However, those who do receive the treatment achieve high healing rates. Patients are treated with 100 percent oxygen while enclosed in a pressurized chamber, boosting the body’s natural wound-healing mechanisms, which are oxygen dependent.”  
The new surgical center is the latest in a series of capital improvements to the hospital buildings totaling more than $5 million over the past year. The lobby has new lighting, new flooring, a fresh coat of paint, and new furniture.  Just off the lobby is a coffee shop operated by a Dunkin Donuts franchisee.
“The entire Seton Lobby has been renovated.  I personally think it looks great,” O’Leary said.   “Folks entering from that side of our hospital now are likely to have a very positive first impression of Carney.  Instead of encountering unfinished wallboard and a narrow corridor, they walk into a very modernized lobby.  People tend to congregate there, giving life and energy to a space that previously felt somewhat barren.”
O’Leary said the outlook at the Carney has grown dramatically more hopeful and forward-thinking over the past year. 
“I would ascribe our improved state to three major factors. The first of these was the arrival of Dr. Ralph de la Torre as the Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Christi Health Care.  (His) first major decision, made within days of his becoming CEO in May 2008, was to affirm the continued existence of Carney as an acute care hospital.  He quickly backed this promise with concrete actions.  Since his arrival, over $5 million dollars in renovations have been completed on our campus.  Additionally, he has supported the aggressive recruitment of new doctors to help grow patient volume in the months and years to come; permitting us to offer more inclusive care to the community we serve.  In these and many other ways, Dr. de la Torre has made it clear that Carney is a full partner in the future growth of Caritas Christi Health Care.
“The second major factor in my opinion is the effort all of us have made to reduce the cost of providing health care at our hospital.  This has not been an easy task.  It is also a task that never comes to closure.  For some time now I have been proclaiming that Carney’s future is secure only if it lives within its means; we cannot spend more than we bring in.  I believe that running a hospital is not really much different than running a household.  Keeping our costs low is a crucial part of our business plan for future growth.
“This leads me to what I consider the third factor in assuring us a bright future – the economic crisis.  Carney offers high quality medical care at costs lower than most hospitals.  The current economic downturn is forcing all parties to pay attention to both the quality and cost of health care.  With high quality, accessible, affordable care, I feel comfortable that in this challenging environment Carney, and Caritas, will flourish.”