Doctors Hospital of Manteca is stepping up to meet the challenges of the Affordable Care Act and community growth by opening an outpatient surgery center by March.
The $7 million Tenet investment will provide three operating rooms and two procedure rooms at a location within the growing medical community of physician offices, the Central Valley Center and the hospital’s imaging center among others off Spreckels Avenue at Norman Drive less than a half mile from DHM’s main campus.
“It will expand our ability to provide quality care to patients,” noted Ikenna ‘Ike’ Mmeje, who took over as the chief executive officer for Doctors Hospital of Manteca over a month ago.
Doctors Hospital is on target again this year to experience double digit growth with all of its patient service. Outpatient surgeries are on pace to jump 10 percent by year’s end over 2014 totals.
The move not only frees up operating rooms at the hospital for inpatient procedures but it makes outpatient surgery progressively easier for patient and physician alike.
It eliminates scheduled outpatient surgeries from being bumped due to more pressing inpatient surgeries that may pop up. At the same time it makes it more conducive for Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop patients to have outpatient surgeries without leaving the community.
Mmeje noted patients can go to a location specifically designed for them that has easier parking and doesn’t require them to make their way through a hospital.
The outpatient surgery dovetails into the philosophy that first attracted Mmeje to a career in hospital administration — making health care more available to people.
It also fits into Tenet’s outgoing effort to do the same as represented by the established in Manteca of a wound center, imaging center, and providing the hospital with the latest cutting edge medical care technology.
Mmeje is one of six children of immigrants from Nigeria that arrived in the United States in the 1970s.
He grew up for part of his childhood in South Central Los Angeles. His parents, wanting better opportunities and lives for their children, moved to Carson where Mmeje graduated from Banning High where he was a point guard for the Pilots.
His mother is a nurse who retired after 40 years and his father is a retired special education teacher. Of their six siblings, four are in the healthcare field — two as administrators and two as physicians.
Initially Mmeje wanted to become a doctor. At the time he had no inkling that a career path as a hospital administrator existed.
Mmeje noted he likes the fact hospital administrators play a key role into extending medical care to people that need it as well as work to bring more health care to underserved communities whether they are in rural locales or urban places such as South Central LA.
The Cal Berkeley graduate obtained his masters at the University of Michigan.
He has worked in hospital administration extensively in the Bay Area including a stint at Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. Prior to coming to Doctors Hospital of Manteca, he oversaw Tenet’s Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo for a year and a half. Sierra Vista is a 164-bed facility compared to DHM’s 73 beds. Sierra Vista has 750 employees while DHM is just under 500.
Mmeje noted he wasn’t looking to move as his family had bought a home but that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity in Manteca.
“A lot of people at Sierra View asked me, ‘why are you leaving the Central Coast for the Central Valley?’” Mmeje noted.
For Mmeje, the answer was obvious.
Besides having extensive family in Northern California, he had lived here for 13 years. Spiritually the move worked for him. Professionally, he said he gets a chance to work with a staff and physician community that has a high level of expertise and is dedicated to their calling and the patients they serve.
Thanks to his predecessor Nico Tejada as well as the business development staff at DHM, Mmeje was impressed not just with the community’s overall growth, dynamics, demographics, and future potential but also with the DHM facility and how Tenet has positioned it in the market.
Mmeje and his wife Renee have three children ages 6, 4, and 1½.
Activities with his children and traveling are among his favorite pastimes.