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In December, the Klamath Surgery center will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, the center has brought new technology to Klamath Falls, and has given patients options as to how, when, and where they receive their surgical care.

You may have noticed Klamath Surgery Center across the street from Pelican Cinemas and thought it was just another medical office. However, Klamath Surgery Center has two operating rooms and state-of-the art equipment for everything from laser eye surgery to podiatric procedures.

As an ambulatory surgical center, Klamath Surgery Center facilitates thousands of surgical interventions per year, without the need or cost of hospitalization. It is an independent, multi- specialty facility which focuses on providing outpatient surgical care. Klamath Surgery Center’s goal is to create a safe, comfortable, effective environment for patients and for personnel.

When Dr. Mark Fay finished his ophthalmology residency and was ready to strike out on his own, he explored many options before deciding to move to Klamath Falls.

“I wanted to practice in a small town. I had moved around a lot as a child, spending time in Corvallis and Eugene. Then, as a Boy Scout, we took a few trips to the east side of the Cascades, where there was actual sunshine, instead of rain.”

It was some of those early memories of Klamath Falls that finally brought him back for good. Dr. Fay was looking for a place where there would be lakes, mountains, and access to wilderness areas. But most importantly he was looking for a place to raise a family.

He had numerous offers on the table, but when he looked at Klamath Falls, he decided to call a couple of doctors in town to see if they needed help. They did, and in 1989, he arrived in the Klamath Basin with no regrets.

“Most doctors will land someplace and continue searching for a better job. I couldn’t find a better place,” he said of Klamath Falls. “We set down roots, raised three kids and now, my son, Jonathan, practices with me.”

Dr. Fay built the Klamath Surgery Center with Dr. Glenn Hager, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, in 1998. Gala Petersen, RN, Christine Derosier, Marcia Hughes and Cindy Miller were instrumental in the planning and opening of Klamath Surgery Center. Now Fay practices with partners Dr. Scott Stevens and Dr. Jonathan Fay— also ophthalmologists.

Today, the facility at 2640 Biehn St. not only includes Klamath Surgery Center, but also Klamath Eye Center and Heartfelt Obstetrics and Gynecology. It employs 70 people working under its collective rooftop.

The surgical center conducts about 1,500 eye and laser surgeries per year, such as cataract surgery, corneal transplant, glaucoma treatment, diabetic retinopathy treatment and about 200 other surgeries a year. These include general surgeries and outpatient procedures such as hernia repair; biopsies, skin cancer removal, endoscopies (gastroscopy — upper endoscopy and colonoscopy); outpatient gynecologic surgeries; podiatric surgeries and plastic surgeries.

“An independent surgery center benefits the community tremendously,” Mark Fay said. “In the past, patients chose to go to Medford or Bend. Now they can remain in town, undergo an outpatient surgery and be home that day.”

Stevens notes, “I think people appreciate the cost savings of the surgical center to some of the alternatives. Here, we are able to operate very efficiently, resulting in significant savings of both money and time for patients.

Surgical RN, Cris Kenfield said, “I am proud to be a longtime Klamath Surgery Center employee. We have a delightful blend of experienced staff who work side by side to provide the best patient care. Our facility is updated and comfortable with a constant focus on the patient and staff safety.”

Maureen Jespersen, surgical RN, and former administrative director said, “I joined the Klamath Surgery Center team in 2000 and continue to work there today. This is a facility which delivers quality care in a friendly, cheerful, comforting manner. The patients experience and appreciate a more simplified and very personal approach to care. The community is fortunate to have such a facility which offers an alternative in both cost and atmosphere. I believe that Klamath Surgery Center is a true asset to the Klamath Basin. I am honored to have been a part of this organization serving our community”.

Dr. Jonathan Fay returned to Klamath Falls in 2017.

“When I transitioned from large university training hospitals to our community practice, I became very proud to be reminded on a daily basis that we are equipped to provide truly high quality ophthalmology care,” he said. “At Klamath Surgery Center, the nurses and staff are friendly and professional. The surgical equipment is top of the line with frequent updates. The facility is clean and efficient to the point that it still feels brand new.”

The surgery center is celebrating this anniversary with a public open house. This will be held on Dec. 14 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone interested is invited to attend and see what the center has to offer. Physicians and staff will be available to give tours and answer any questions.