Our Story

It was February 2007 when the decision was made to build an Ambulatory Surgery Center in Sandpoint, Idaho. Up until then, we talked a great deal about …“what if.” At that time, it seemed like the process would take forever. Now that we are open, it seems like yesterday when Mike, his wife Joan, and I shared a meal and created the “napkin plan” for the project. I remember Mike saying, “Kris, I want to do this and I want you to help make it happen.”

In 2003, Mike DiBenedetto and I met in the operating room of the local Sandpoint hospital. At that time, Mike was an Orthopaedic Surgeon and I was a Registered Nurse. Through conversations, we discovered that we both had roots in the same Ambulatory Surgery Corporation. Mike had been the medical director at a center in Utah and I was involved with management in a center in California. We would often discuss the advantages of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, things we had learned from our experiences and things we would do differently if given the opportunity.

The hardest part of the project was making the decision to stop talking about it and take a course of action. Once the decision was made to proceed with the development of an Ambulatory Surgery Center, decisions needed to be made about the best course to take. Research was done to determine the various options available. We interviewed four different “corporate partners” and determined that this model, while convenient, did not fit our goals and vision for this North Idaho facility. Next, we spoke with a medical architect who could provide us with a building but this left us on our own as far as implementing a business plan.

Jointly, we decided to engage the services of a consultant, hire a medical architect and just “go for it!” Pend Oreille Surgery Center, llc became a legal entity in July 2007. Since then we have constructed and equipped the center, recruited additional investors, hired a staff of 14 fantastic professionals, and credentialed 12 licensed providers. We performed our first case on May 13, 2009. Which was a little over 2 years after the decision to proceed and the formulation of the “napkin plan.”

I speak for all of us in saying what a fantastic journey this has been and how very proud we are of the opportunity to be a part of this exciting addition in health care to our community.

- Kris Sabo, 2009

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