By Jenelle Grewell
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is expanding throughout the Middle Tennessee region, and one of the most recent locations to open is in Belle Meade. Vanderbilt Health Belle Meade opened on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. This outpatient surgery center is combined with a surgical clinic and infusion center.
The center will focus on orthopedic and urology surgeries, including joint replacement, hand, wrist, and upper arm operations, joint arthroscopic surgery, foot and ankle surgeries, prostate surgery, ureteral stents, and high-tech kidney stone management. The center is supported by a full-time pharmacy and lab.
“We also have the facility for extended overnight recovery for those patients that need a little extra time to recover from their operation but don’t need to be transferred to the hospital,” said Rajnish Gupta, MD, medical director of Vanderbilt Health Belle Meade.
The Anesthesiology Department will staff Vanderbilt Health Belle Meade with two anesthesiologists and seven to eight certified registered nurse anesthetists every day. According to Gupta, the department collaborated with Perioperative Services and the construction team to envision, design, and develop the location.
“Our department has been critical in determining what operations would occur there, establishing the workflow needed to run an efficient service, identifying the anesthesia equipment necessary, and collaborating with all the relevant parties every step of the way,” Gupta said.
Gupta said over the past few years, it has become apparent that VUMC is the fastest growing health system in the region and has been challenged to keep up with the demand for excellent care within Nashville and the surrounding areas. “This growth is evidenced by the rapid hiring of anesthesiologists and CRNAs within our department,” Gupta said.
Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD, Anesthesiology Department Chair, said Vanderbilt Health Belle Meade is a testament to what VUMC provides for the region. “There is a demand for our services. The brand of VUMC comes with a promise of quality patient care.”
The addition of Vanderbilt Health Belle Meade identifies and addresses a huge need for operations to move out of the main hospital and into the outpatient arena. According to Gupta, this has only been possible recently for some operations, such as total joint surgery, because of the careful collaboration needed between anesthesia and surgery.
Total joint surgery previously required a three- to five-day hospital stay but can now be done safely with same-day discharge. Instead of requiring a minimum hospital stay of one to two days, urological surgeries such as complex kidney stones and prostate surgeries can now be done as ambulatory surgeries thanks to improved surgical technique, technological advancement, and careful perioperative management.
“These advances in surgical and anesthetic care are allowing patients to have a premium surgical experience and still recover safely in the comfort of their own home,” Gupta said.
There are several goals for the new Vanderbilt Health Belle Meade. According to Gupta, the first and foremost goal is to deliver cutting-edge and high-quality patient care. The new location should provide greater and more convenient access to surgical care to a large portion of the Nashville population. “We want to make sure these patients receive the premier Vanderbilt experience for their care,” he said.
Gupta said he also wants to develop a strong sense of teamwork, where every person feels valued and important to the team. “It generates an atmosphere where people are excited to come to work.”
Finally, Gupta said he wants to take this opportunity to advance both academic and operational excellence. “We have a chance in this new center to refine surgical efficiency, provide quality care, and advance the science of anesthesia and surgery. I want to embrace these goals as a collaborative effort with all of our surgeons, nurses, and anesthesia team members.”
According to Sandberg, this collaborative effort of the different clinical teams is vital to providing exceptional patient care. He said every step of the perioperative process is important and ensures VUMC and the department remain at the forefront of knowledge in patient care.
“Belle Meade Ambulatory Surgery Center will be the flagship outpatient surgery center for Vanderbilt, with a brand-new building, cutting-edge equipment, and world-class physicians,” Gupta said. ◆