Growing into the future
by Kathryn Narumiya
This piece was originally published in the January/February 2022 issue of the Tarrant County Physician. You can read find the full magazine here.
Isn’t it great when a business has more clients than they know what to do with? Of course! It’s a problem most business owners would beg for unless they are providing critical medical services to those in need.
At Project Access Tarrant County, we are honored to have the opportunity to provide surgical treatments to our client base. While PATC can always use more volunteer general surgeons, gynecologists, and orthopedists, lack of volunteers is not the main issue. Many of you have eagerly and graciously given of your time and expertise to these patients. We are all grateful for your time and efforts.
Unfortunately, the number of patients far exceeds the volume that Tarrant County hospital partners can provide on a charity basis. For us, having clients on long wait lists or undergoing emergency surgery because PATC is unable to coordinate their surgeries is heartbreaking. We don’t want these outcomes to become normalized or acceptable.
In 2020, we began working toward reducing our wait times. While progress has been slow, we have made significant strides in this direction. After considerable research into alternative services offered by peer organizations across the country, we have identified an opportunity to strengthen the number of patients we can serve through an additional lane to our current panel of services. To be clear, Project Access Tarrant County as it currently exists is not going away.
Introducing – Access Surgery Partnership.
Based on Surgery on Sunday, a medical nonprofit organization in Lexington, Kentucky (www.surgeryonsunday.org), Access Surgery Partnership will host surgery days in a separately leased surgery center on a periodic basis on a day when the facility would traditionally be closed. The surgery center partner(s) will receive compensation for use of the facility. The surgery center staff will be comprised of teams of volunteer surgeons, nurses, and ancillary staff, both medical and non-medical. The united surgery center staff will perform multiple outpatient surgeries and procedures in one day, effectively eliminating long surgery wait times.
The traditional PATC model will still exist as we realize that not all procedures are appropriate for an outpatient setting, and not all physician volunteers will participate in the new model. We will still need our current hospital partners in order to serve our client base.
We are not doing this alone. We are building a strong foundation for this new service line by collaborating with Brittain-Kalish Group and Dynamic Development Strategies to complete a proforma, business plan, timeline of milestones, and a long-term development plan. Several funders have shown interest in backing this initiative, and we are continuing to cultivate and update those parties as we progress. In fact, the Sid Richardson Foundation has singlehandedly funded the “discovery phase” of this project as we research and plan.
A lot of work remains to be done with various challenges to overcome. Our primary and most imperative challenge is finding a surgery center partner. Additional challenges include recruiting volunteer medical non-physician staff and obtaining our own surgery center license.
This is where you come in. We need your help!
1. CONNECTIONS to Leaders!
o Do you know leadership at a Tarrant County surgery center?
Please make an introduction to PATC!
2. Staff VOLUNTEERS! Talk to your medical staff about volunteering.
3. STEP UP YOURSELF! If you have not been able to volunteer previously due to conflicts, this new model may be more conducive to your schedule.
o Contact me and we can discuss options!
As other opportunities to help arise, we will let you know about them. We will also keep you apprised of our progress towards making Access Surgery Partnership a reality. With the Tarrant County Medical Society membership, we know we are well on our way.