JPS Faces Increasing Demand for Surgical Services

September 12th, 2019

JPS Health Network has seen demand for surgical services increase nearly 10 percent for the first seven months of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year.

According to health network records, a total of 8,166 operations were performed at the main campus and at the JPS Surgical Center in Arlington from the beginning of January through July in 2018. During the same period in 2019, records show 8,860 operations were completed.

An operation takes place inside the surgical suite at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas

An operation takes place inside the surgical suite at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas.

“It’s just the current state of affairs,” Staci Medina, manager of Perioperative Services, said when asked for an explanation for the increasing caseload. “It isn’t anything unusual that has caused cases to spike. We’re just steadily -- and increasingly -- busy. This is our new normal. I’m very proud of everyone who has helped to serve our patients in the OR.”

With 1,121 operations completed in April, the main campus surgical suite eclipsed the previous record high of 1,107 of operations completed in one month set in March, 2017. The new standard didn’t last long. In July, the main campus hosted 1,138 operations to again raise the bar.

The Arlington Surgical Center never reached the 200 surgeries per month mark in the first seven months of 2018. But, in the 12 months since then, it’s had more than 200 operations completed in a month seven times.

JPS President and CEO Robert Earley said plans to grow to support the increased need are taking shape. He told the Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court he believes the health network should have expanded surgical facilities when the Patient Care Pavilion was built on the main campus more than a decade ago. He said expansion plans supported by the 2018 bond approval will address this, as recommended by the Citizens Blue Ribbon Committee.

The achievement of handling an ever-increasing demand for services is impressive and a testament to the hard work of the many people who work in the OR. Medina said she expects the numbers at JPS will continue to trend upward.

One possible reason the demand for surgery is up is the increasing population of Tarrant County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the county has increased more than 15 percent over the past eight years. More people in the area simply equates to more need for medical care. Operations handled at JPS can range from biopsies that take minutes to complicated procedures requiring as long as 14 hours to complete.

Additionally, the population growth may be reflected in the increased number of trauma cases the JPS Surgical Department has handled over the past few years. As the county’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, when people need emergency care, JPS is where they’re taken. According to Medina, two operating rooms and a trauma surgical suite used to be open at JPS on the weekends. Now three operating rooms and the trauma surgical suite are in operation Saturdays and Sundays.

Another explanation for the increased number of operations is the expansion of the surgical staff to meet what patients need.

“We offer more surgical specialties than we have in the past,” Medina said. “Things that we used to offer part-time -- if at all -- are now available full-time.”

 “If you build it, they will come,” Lauren Evans, assistant manager of the Operating Room and Anesthesia Support, said of the additions to the staff. “We’re building it and they’re coming.”

Evans added that the teamwork needed to take care of patients requires more than just doctors, nurses and techs. Every time one patient leaves a room it has to be cleaned and set up in preparation for the next. Surgery rooms have to be properly stocked and medical teams sometimes have to work around crews maintaining and upgrading equipment.

“I’ve been in OR for 28 years and at JPS for almost six years, and this is the busiest it’s ever been,” Medina said. “We have an amazing group of people in this department who are very dedicated to the JPS mission. They’re here because they want to be here, making a difference for the people we serve.”



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