“A new page has opened for St. Mary’s Hospital,” declared Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross.

A ribbon cutting ceremony Friday ushered the grand opening of both the Joint & Spine Institute and Surgical Institute at St. Mary’s Medical Center of Blue Springs. The mayor, several members of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce and St. Mary’s personnel were among those celebrating the additions.

“This is an all-in-one surgical facility,” announced St. Mary’s CEO Annette Small. “And a great continuity of care.”

The facility – previously the birthing center – has been repurposed to be entirely devoted for people recovering from surgery and will house occupational, speech and physical therapy for both in- and out-patients, according to St. Mary’s marketing director Linda Smith.

“One big benefit of the Institute is that all rooms are now private,” says Small. “It will be nice to have your own room.” Small also said the private room feature extends to the rest of St. Mary’s patients as well.

The hospital transitioned from a birthing center to a surgery and recovery-focused facility because “the birthing rate is down,” said St. Mary’s director of operations Alan Greenwood. “This Institute’s creation was in response to customer demand. To specialize in this kind of center will provide a major service and meet needs.”

“We have a lot of orthopedic patients that require both surgery and therapy within the community,” Smith said. “This Institute will be exclusive for that need and patients now have their own separate entrance for easy access.”

Greenwood said the Institute is approaching full completion “very soon.”

“We’re still in the process of reflooring and re-painting walls but it’s all coming together as planned.”

An estimated cost of the new facility was not available.

But will the new Joint & Spine and Surgical Institute impact HCA’s acquisition of the hospital that was reported back in May?

Small says Carondelet Health, the non-for-profit healthcare system that owns St. Mary’s Medical Center, is still in negotiations with HCA to finalize the sale of the hospital. “It’s currently in the works, but it’s still business as usual here at St. Mary’s.”