Ascension Seton Medical Center Hays expands to meet its growing community’s health care needs


 Hospital completes tower expansion, opens new post-surgery unit, marks robotic surgery milestone, more

Patients recovering from surgery now have a newer, higher view. Ascension’s Ascension Seton Medical Center Hays (SMCH) opened a new 30-bed surgical unit, expanding the hospital from 112 beds to a 142-bed care site.

“Ascension Seton is committed to investing in this community’s health and well-being,” said Neal Kelley, RN, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of SMCH. Seton is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. “The additional space allows us to grow with our community’s needs, providing the high-quality, patient-centered care our patients trust.”

The expansion is part of a greater investment Ascension Seton is making into Hays County and its surrounding areas:

  • In January, the world-class pediatric emergency care of Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas expanded to SMCH.
  • In March, the hospital began operating as an adult level III trauma center and is moving toward Level II capabilities in Fall 2018.
  • In June, SMCH marked its accomplishment of 100 heart surgeries in one year, a milestone credited to the addition of heart surgeon Jeffrey McNeil, MD.
  • In July, SMCH surgeons began using the state-of-the art-technology of Firefly Fluorescence Imaging with the da Vinci® Xi™ robotic arm system creating enhanced visualization and mobility, resulting in less pain, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and minimal scarring.
  • Other exciting developments on the horizon for 2018 include a new wound care clinic, wellness center and a $14M maternity and women’s services expansion.

A tailor-made healing space

The new unit occupies the fifth floor of the patient tower. Construction in the shelled-out space began in February 2017 and completed six weeks ahead of schedule. Its completion marks the final step of the tower’s vertical expansion.

Designed with the patient in mind, the new surgical unit offers a comfortable environment for recovering after surgery. But a new “home” for healing isn’t the only benefit of the expansion.

Before the unit’s opening, post-surgical patients were cared for on different units within the tower. Adding the 30-bed surgical unit lets patients with similar recovery needs be grouped together.

“Having a dedicated space for surgical patients transforms a formerly stratified way of taking care of patients into specialized care, in one location,” said Fausto Meza, MD, MPA, Vice President Medical Affairs at SMCH. “Nurses will be able to develop expertise specific to the kind of care surgical patients need.”

An Ascension Seton pilot site for the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program, SMCH knows first-hand the benefits of using evidence-based care to help patients recover and get back to the things they enjoy most.“The new unit helps us continue that same great care, with an enhanced focus on care specific to patients’ needs,” Meza said.

100 and counting

Physicians who specialize in a wide range of surgical procedures complete hundreds of surgeries at SMCH each year. In fact, SMCH recently surpassed the 100 mark in surgeries using the state-of-the art-technology of Firefly Fluorescence Imaging with  the da Vinci® Xi™ robotic arm system.

What does this mean for the patient? Enhanced visualization and dexterity allows surgeons to perform precise, minimally invasive surgeries that result in less blood loss, less pain, minimal scaring and faster recovery.

Robot-assisted surgery at SMCH began in July.  It is currently used for general surgery procedures such as hernia repair, and is expanding to gynecology and urology surgical cases.