We spoke with Dr. Erica Sutton, Executive Director of the Surgery on Sunday Louisville program and an employee with the University of Louisville Physician’s Group. The Colon Cancer Prevention Project helps link people who need colonoscopies to this program.
Here’s what she had to say about their program:
How do you describe surgery on Sunday?
“It’s a program to provide free surgery to the underinsured or uninsured.”
What kind of surgery?
“The surgery we do is limited to outpatient surgery, things you can go home from on the same day.”
What are the most common surgeries you do?
Colonoscopies, hernias, and cataract surgery are some of the procedures they have done, she said.
Is it all donated?
“Everything is donated. The volunteers are donating their time, and facilities are donating their space as well as their equipment.”
She said they are hoping manufacturers will donate disposable supplies used in surgery.
Why did you want to start this in Louisville?
“Louisville needed it. They had one in Lexington and a lot of patients from Louisville who needed services were going to Lexington. But certainly we had a large number of physicians here and patients here, and we provide these services to people for free anyway, unfortunately it’s often at a later stage when the disease has progressed. It’s really a cost savings to our community. It’s the right thing to do.”
How many colonoscopies has Surgery on Sunday Louisville performed so far?
How many doctors and physicians perform these?
“We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of physician support. That, and nurses and volunteers. That’s been key to the program.” Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville, Norton Healthcare, and Premier Surgery Center have all participated, she said.
“The community has really bought in to the model of shared responsibility.”
What’s the goal?
“We’d love to have an event every quarter, doing 20-25 colonoscopies and maybe 5 surgeries.”
What does the Affordable Care Act mean for this organization?
“We were hoping the ACA would cover everyone, and while we’ve found it’s been a great program that provides good coverage for many, it doesn’t cover everyone.” It’s still needed.
How does the partnership between Surgery on Sunday and the Colon Cancer Prevention Project help Louisville?
“We started off as partners. We really got our start doing colonoscopies. I enjoy the partnership because they come through the Colon Cancer Prevention Project so well screened.” (The Project links patients from local federally qualified health centers who need a colonoscopy to Surgery on Sunday).
What if someone wants to learn more or sign up – where do they go?
“Visit www.surgeryonsunday.org – you can volunteer on the site and also get more information.”
Or call Melody Toll, 502-852-4041.