SANTA ROSA -- Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Advanced Surgery Institute, LLC,  have entered into a joint venture on operations of a central Santa Rosa ambulatory surgery center, giving Memorial further reach beyond hospital walls as health care providers seek to expand outpatient services.

A total of 19 local surgeons across a wide range of medical specialties have performed outpatient procedures at ASI since it opened in 2010. The surgery center and Memorial had been in talks of a joint venture for about a year. 

Under terms of the joint venture, the hospital, part of St. Joseph Health, will own a 51 percent majority share, while physician investors will retain a 39 percent interest. The remaining 10 percent interest will stay with Regent Surgical Health, an Illinois-based surgery center management company that has provided day-to-day management and administrative services for the  institute since it opened.

"As a health system, we see that successful models include strong physician partnerships and expansion into the ambulatory setting," said Todd Salnas, president of St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County. "The healthcare industry as a whole is looking at defining themselves beyond the hospital."

Indeed, the pursuit of outpatient procedures has taken particular shape in lieu of the Affordable Care Act, which places a greater emphasis on prevention to reduce hospital admissions and on treatment of patients’ needs at the most efficient and appropriate level of care.

“We’re proud to establish this partnership with the outstanding physicians of ASI, with whom we have worked closely in patient care throughout their careers,” said Kevin Klockenga, chief executive officer of St. Joseph Health’s Northern California region, in a statement. “It is consistent with our founders’ vision to partner with others in maintaining and expanding access to much-needed medical care and to promote residents’ quality of life in our community.”

Located at 1739 Fourth St. just east of downtown Santa Rosa, Advanced Surgery Institute is a Joint Commission-accredited ambulatory surgery center. Specialties include general surgery, orthopedics, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), gastric banding, pain management, plastic surgery and podiatry. The center was established to provide patients a high-quality alternative to inpatient hospitalization.

That it's a brand new, state-of-the art facility in close proximity to the hospital made it all the more attractive to Memorial, Mr. Salnas said, adding that the setting offers more convenience for patients and physicians alike.

"It's a new facility, and in medicine there's always something new -- I think that's an asset," he said.

Physician partners who practice at ASI include:Anesthesiology: Gian Nhan, M.D.Ear, nose and throat surgery: Stephanie Huang, M.D., Mark Homicz, M.D., Dave Quenelle, M.D. and Stefan Zechowy, M.D.General and vascular surgery: Allen Cortez, M.D., Abdul Harris, M.D., Brian Schmidt, M.D., and Robert Woodbury, M.D.Pain management: Mark Hurd, M.D., and Michael Tran, M.D.Cardiology: Masis Babajanian; M.D., Tom Dunlap, M.D., and Scott Lee, M.D.Podiatry: Paul Shonka, D.P.M., and Thomas Fitzgerald, D.P.M.Orthopedic and spine surgery: Robert Harf, M.D.

"At Advanced Surgery Institute, we have excellent patient turnaround times, high patient satisfaction as evidenced by surveys, and a highly skilled clinical team working together,” said Stefan Zechowy, M.D., an ear, nose and throat surgeon and president of the center’s board of directors. “By aligning with Santa Rosa Memorial, it further strengthens our relationships in the community with the region’s major healthcare provider, who shares our commitment to quality and service.”