A combination of convenience, lower costs and increased capabilities is driving demand for outpatient surgeries, and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is addressing it with a $4.8 million expansion of its Sharonville surgery center and headquarters.

In late December, Beacon, which operates five facilities across the Tristate, completed a 13,000-square-foot expansion of its Summit Woods facility at 500 E. Business Way, adding two operating rooms and two 23-hour suites for patient recovery.

Work has also began on remodeling existing ORs and recovery suites. When completed in April, Beacon will have doubled its operating rooms and its 23-hour suites to four each.

The expansion comes on the heels of Beacon’s move into Northern Kentucky Oct. 1, opening a clinic, imaging and physical therapy center at 600 Rodeo Drive in Erlanger. Beacon also has two operating rooms at its clinic, imaging and therapy center at 6480 Harrison Ave. Beacon has clinic, imaging and physical therapy offices at 463 Ohio Pike and in Batesville, Ind. as well.

Beacon expexts its 2013 data to show a 20 percent increase in all types of patient visits, to about 120,000 from 100,000 in 2012, says Beacon’s CEO Glen Prasser.

There’s still a place for hospitals requiring extended care, but Prasser says, “What’s happening in health care is that surgeries that in the past could only be done in hospitals are moving to outpatient centers.”

At Beacon, that includes some back surgeries and total hip and knee replacements. Beacon, as a licensed outpatient center, can keep surgical patients for up to 23 hours after their procedure.

“Typically, you’ll be scheduled for morning surgery. After the procedure, you’ll go into the 23-hour suite for an overnight stay and then the first thing the next day you’re released and sent right into physical therapy which is also in this building,” he says.

Outpatient suites offer conveniences like meals ordered from local restaurants.

Efficiency and costs also are big drivers for these outpatient surgeries.

“Now that patients are spending more of their own money on their health care, they want to know where their dollars are going,” says Prasser, while enjoying the same quality and lower risk of infection from an extended hospital stay.

One-stop shopping has been a hallmark of Beacon’s practice since it was started 17 years ago by Drs. Timothy Kremchek and Bob Burger and two other physicians who’ve since retired. Beacon has grown from 12 physicians four years ago to 20 today with a total staff approaching 400.

The Summit Wood center also includes D-1 Sports Training, a 9,000-square-foot indoor turf and training facility designed to improve athletic performance and post-physical-therapy training.

Innovation is part of Beacon’s history. It introduced weekend clinics for athletic injuries and operating suite viewing rooms where families can observe many procedures being performed on loved ones.

It gives families a greater sense of the complexity and skill required, while giving the surgeon the ability to communicate via intercom right in the OR after the traditional “thumbs up” sign when the procedure is finished, Prasser says.

In an era of health-care consolidation, Beacon remains an independent practice.

“We believe there are tremendous advantages to our patients from independent medical care,” says Prasser. “It’s getting more and more difficult for independent practices to survive given the government mandates and so on. We’re fortunate. Patients view us as the place to go for orthopaedic and sports medicine care. We won’t let them down.”