How We Added Emergency Ortho Care
Putting the pieces together to provide fracture care at our ASC.
Nancy Jipp, RN, BSN, CASC
A child falls from playground equipment, a high school athlete collides on the field, a homeowner loses his balance on a ladder. These incidents can result in broken bones, and when they do, the first impulse is to head for the local hospital's emergency department. But our surgery center has discovered an opportunity to serve our community by offering immediate care for fractures, and other orthopedic trauma cases, with outpatient efficiency.
Adding an urgent care service to diagnose and treat fractures and other acute orthopedic injuries on an outpatient basis was a natural extension of what we do. Our 4-OR orthopedics and pain management ASC specializes in sports medicine and pediatrics. We host procedures ranging from hand and wrist to foot and ankle, and from total joint to spine. Many of our board-certified specialists serve as team physicians for local youth athletic groups, making them trusted members of the community.
In addition, we are equipped and ready for the task at hand. Any surgical facility that has outfitted its ORs for intraoperative fluoroscopic imaging already has the required technology for diagnosing and treating fractures. A C-arm (we have one) for imaging large sites, like the spine, and a mini C-arm (we have two) for extremity imaging, plus radiolucent OR tables, and you're set. Acute orthopedic injuries don't require much more in the way of technology than that.
We regularly consult with an off-site radiologist, but since CMS has done away with the requirement that ASCs retain radiologists on their medical staffs, our radiology techs operate the imaging equipment and our surgeons are qualified to read the results.
Better than the ER
Our surgeons operate and are on call at local hospitals. They've seen how long it takes for patients who have presented in the emergency department with fractures, even simple cases, to be treated. They thought they could accommodate emergent cases in a more efficient manner. As it turns out, they've proven themselves right.