History | Palo Alto Surgecenter
Providing as many health care services as possible in the outpatient setting is a common goal today, seen as a way to offer convenience for patients and reduce costs. But the outpatient focus was unusual in the 1970s, when most major procedures were still performed in the hospital. From early on PAMF physicians have believed that helping patients avoid the stress and financial burden of a long hospital stay improves care and outcomes.
In 1976, a Phoenix, Arizona-based firm came to Palo Alto to open one of the nation’s first freestanding ambulatory surgery centers, and the first of its kind on the West Coast. The Surgecenter of Palo Alto quickly became popular; patients appreciated the convenience and comparatively low costs, while doctors found it easier to schedule operating-room time there compared to the local hospital. The first outpatient hernia repair in the United States was performed at the Surgecenter of Palo Alto by Dr. R. Hewlett Lee, a longtime PAMF surgeon and son of Palo Alto Medical Clinic founder Russel V. Lee, M.D.
Groundbreaking ceremony for the Surgecenter of Palo Alto, 1976.
Initially focusing on select, low-risk procedures, over time the Surgecenter of Palo Alto has expanded its range to include a broader range of procedures and has added services in response to community need.