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VOL. 126 | NO. 22 | Wednesday, February 02, 2011

OrthoStat Fills Orthopedic Niche

By Aisling Maki

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The staff at OrthoStat has seen a steady stream of hand, foot, hip, spine and other orthopedic injuries since opening its doors in the fall.

The acute care clinic at 6286 Briarcrest Ave. is inside the large OrthoMemphis facility that also houses The Hand Center, The Spine Center, an MRI center and rehabilitation services.

“It’s an easier way to get an orthopedic problem treated because usually we can see them on the day of injury,” said OrthoStat surgeon Dr. Michael Heck. “We’re able with the configuration that we have here to have a good flow. We’re able to get people seen, taken care of and out quicker than what most of them are used to. Unlike minor meds, it’s not a triage. We start treatment, and basically, most things we can treat here. If something requires more specialized treatment than general orthopedic problems, then we always have people we can use.”

If the walk-in patient’s muscle or bone injury requires more specialized treatment, patients have access to OrthoMemphis’ team of 14 physicians, which provides surgical and nonsurgical treatment for general orthopedics and subspecialty areas including sports medicine, arthritic total joint replacement and bone and soft tumor treatment in children and adults.

“We have all of the subspecialties covered with all of our physicians,” Heck said. “If we have something more complex that needs further work or a specific surgical intervention, we have the people here to do it.”

While the OrthoStat concept has been in place for several years, OrthoMemphis CEO Ken Beasley said that, over time, the need for the clinic to have its own staff and facility became apparent.

“Several years ago, we developed a program where we held daytime spots open for people with acute injuries or orthopedic issues to see our physicians,” he said. “And as time went on, there was such demand for that, we realized we needed to bring in a physician who’s dedicated to that, and still the patient can have access to all of the subspecialists.”

Beasley brought in Heck, an orthopedic surgeon whom he already knew through a referral relationship, to lead the center fulltime.

Beasley said the facility has been “very successful, and we still have plenty of room for growth and the ability to add other physicians as necessary to care for patients.”

“When ambulatory surgery centers came about, I thought, ‘Why would we want to duplicate an operating room that’s just focused on outpatients,’” he said. “It quickly solved that by pulling those patients out to make things run smoother. People are treated a lot quicker because we can focus on that specific population. That’s really the logic behind creating a separate facility.”

OrthoStat operates Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The unique thing about it is that you’ll find a lot of orthopedic groups offering after-hours care; our clinic is open all day and then some after hours,” Beasley said.

The center also offers a weekend call-back service. Staff will return calls within 30 minutes to schedule appointments for first thing Monday morning.

“Consumers basically fret over the weekend about what they’re going to do and whether they’ll wait until Monday,” Beasley said. “Those patients have historically ended up at the ER. There’s a place and time to go to an ER, and there’s a place and time to go to a different level of care. From a cost perspective, we want to make sure that patients are going to the right level of care, and clearly ERs are going to be more expensive.”

Beasley said OrthoStat operates like a minor med that only treats orthopedic issues and injuries, including workers’ compensation.

“Getting injured workers seen quickly and on a path to the appropriate treatment and back to work is incredibly important from an economic perspective and has become even more important as the economy has taken a dive and every employee is needed at maximum production,” he said.

Parent group OrthoMemphis was founded in 1969 by the late Dr. Larry Morrison, one of two Memphis physicians who traveled to England in the early 1970s to learn the total hip replacement technique from its pioneer, Sir John Charnley.

OrthoMemphis is a division of the MSK Group, a Bartlett-based integrated orthopedic practice with 32 physicians that also includes Tabor Orthopedics and Memphis Orthopedic Group.

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