NEW YORK, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Yorkville Endoscopy ( Yorkville), New York's newest GI-focused Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC), received New York Department of Health approval and began operation on February 22, 2013. The center brings together 12 of New York's most respected gastroenterologists who will perform diagnostic and therapeutic gastrointestinal endoscopic services in a new, state-of-the-art facility. The center's physicians are affiliated with New York's leading hospitals including Mount Sinai, Lenox Hill and New York Presbyterian. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130325/NY82011LOGO-a ) (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130325/NY82011LOGO-b ) The project was initiated in late 2010 by New York Gastroenterology Associate (NYGA), a five physician practice, and Frontier Healthcare, Yorkville's management partner. "We recognized that a growing proportion of healthcare services are moving out of the hospital environment and into ambulatory facilities. Yorkville Endoscopy enables us to continue providing the highest quality care in a patient-friendly atmosphere that is also more cost-efficient than hospital-based services," said Lawrence B. Cohen, M.D., medical director and board member of Yorkville. "The center was carefully designed in order to maximize patient privacy and comfort throughout every phase of their visit. We believe that this will help to reduce the barriers that sometimes prevent patients from receiving needed endoscopic care." During the development process, NYGA and Frontier developed relationships with similar-minded office-based endoscopists who were also dedicated to improving their environment of care. These discussions culminated with seven new Members joining the Yorkville partnership. To accommodate the additional volume, Frontier and the Members identified a 10,000 sq. ft. site on 93 rd and 3 rd Avenue. "The center is ideally situated to serve patients throughout Manhattan and the surrounding tri-state area," said Dr. Leon Kavaler, another board member of Yorkville Endoscopy. "The center is situated between my office (on 86 th Street) and Mount Sinai Hospital (on 100 th Street). I could not have wished for a more convenient location to expand our practice." The five procedure room facility is expected accommodate more than 12,000 patient visits during its first year of operation. Additionally, the center will also provide outreach programs that offer free or reduced-charge colorectal cancer screening to uninsured individuals within the community. The move to an ASC setting is indicative of a larger trend in New York healthcare. While New York State currently has the second lowest number of ASCs per capita in the country, concern regarding office-based safety and infection control standards is resulting in a rapid shift toward the ASC setting. "The ASC allows physicians to maintain their autonomy while providing a standard of care and patient experience that exceeds that of a hospital," said Jordan Fowler, CEO of Frontier Healthcare. "We expect that the New York migration of physicians from office-based settings to ASCs will continue over the next five years, driven by patient preference, the need for physician flexibility and NY Department of Health's endorsement of ASCs as a premium outpatient venue." In addition to performing procedures, many of the physicians are involved in teaching and clinical research and have written numerous articles in respected journals on topics ranging from the latest endoscopic techniques to new therapeutic modalities for various gastrointestinal conditions. Dr. Cohen, the center's Medical Director and officer for quality assurance, is an internationally recognized authority on gastrointestinal endoscopy and endoscopic outcomes. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Gastrointestinal Quality Improvement Consortium (GIQuIC), the American College of Gastroenterology's Quality Council, and a member of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy's Quality Committee. Dr. Cohen has authored more than 150 book chapters, peer-review manuscripts, review articles and research abstracts.