Destin Surgery Center moves into former Destin Log location

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After 19 years on Furling Lane just east of Destin on Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin Surgery Center has a new home.

The surgery center has moved into the former Destin Log building on Airport Road.

"Everything but the skeleton has all been brought in new. It's still the same skeleton that was here in 1984," said Wes Battiste, developer and CEO of the surgery center.

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It's all new, from the plumbing to the water tap and electrical system.

The Destin Log moved into the building in June 1984 and produced the newspaper there until 2010. The Log staff has since relocated.

As for the surgery center, its doors opened at the Airport Road facility on Jan. 4 and 24 surgeries were performed on the first day without a "hiccup," Battiste said Tuesday as the Log staff toured the new facility.

Wes Battiste, administrator of the Destin Surgery Center, describes the air filtration and handling systems in the center's new operating rooms. The Destin Surgery Center opened Monday in its new location on Airport Road in Destin, in the building that once housed The Destin Log.

"We had a surgeon here yesterday that used the facility on the first day and was complimenting on how smooth it went," Battiste said.

Destin Surgery Center opened in 2002 with five pre-op beds and 12 employees. In 2014, the facility expanded to eight beds.

"But with 400 cases a month, you can't run that many people through and take care of them the way you want to," Battiste said.

So now the new surgery center has 13 pre-op beds and 50-plus employees.

"It's just the amazing group of people, that's what makes us," he said, noting the excellence of the staff.

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Battiste explained that Destin Surgery Center has a corporate backer in Nashville, Tennessee, that partners with about 300 other centers.

Nursing staff at the Destin Surgery Center make pre-operative phone calls with patients at the center's new location on Airport Road in Destin in the building that once housed The Destin Log.

"We're No. 1 in patient experience," he said. "From physician satisfaction to employee satisfaction. But it's because they are such good people and they take such good care of people.

"So now we just want to do more of it," Battiste said.

The surgery center has about 14 physicians who are partners in the facility, plus about 10 others who use it.

"We're doing outpatient total joints," Battiste said, noting the center has done more than 100 total knee replacements, all outpatient.

"The patients are loving it," he said, as opposed to having to stay in a hospital for three days for the procedure.

He said surgeons at the center also perform total hip replacements.

They also do about 100 colonoscopies a month.

He said the center's surgeons do just about every specialty except "we're just not set up for kids."

By making the move to the new facility, "it was an opportunity to grow and update. From the old to the new ... it's bigger and better. You can't beat that," he said.

And they made the move in just four days between Christmas and New Year's, Battiste added.

The Destin Surgery Center opened Monday in its new location on Airport Road in Destin, in the building that once housed The Destin Log.

Staff members shut down at the Furling Lane facility for Christmas, took the weekend off and then came back and moved everything.

Battiste said it was a team effort.

"We've got great people in here. They care about the surgery center and they care about where they work. But it was a massive undertaking to accomplish in four days and do it well," he said.

And the first day on Monday went well.

"I pulled back just a little bit because I wanted to make sure that we went slow and methodical. I wanted to make sure we're safe. The more I display that as a leader, the more I actually live it ... people do what you do, not what you say," he said.

"I make a point that patient safety is always No. 1," he added.

Since Destin Surgery Center opened in March 2002, Battiste said its doctors have performed about 75,000 procedures and have an "impeccable" track record.

Battiste said they picked the Airport Road location for a couple of reasons.

They didn't really want to build a new facility from scratch because their lease on Furling Lane was running out and that would take too long. They also wanted to be centrally located to draw from four markets — Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and Crestview.

Plus, Battiste wanted to stay in Destin, where he lives.

They were able to pull off the redesign of the building and open in about 15 months, which he said would have been impossible if they started with raw land.

"God works in mysterious ways. The location is ideal," he said.

But more than the building and location, most important to Battiste is "how well we do what we do here." 

"We are committed to Destin, we're here. We plan to do 600 cases a month, from joints to colonoscopies to hernias, and everything to serve the community and do a good job at it," he said.

"When I started this place in 2002 ... I really wanted to do something that was idealistic, authentic, actually care for patients, like you would want your family cared for. I always felt like if we did that well, if we kept our focus on taking care of patients, then the success would come," he said.

"And 19 years later, it just keeps getting better and better every year," Battiste said. "We have a great medical staff and the physicians are 100 percent on board with doing the right thing for patients. It's produced good fruit ... so we're going to just keep doing it, bigger and better."