Orthopaedics: The Best Centers in Cincinnati
Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers
Breaking Away from the Pack
An independent physician group with five locations around the Greater Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky region, Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers has resisted a trend within the healthcare industry towards consolidated employment models.
“There are some employment models out there where the orthopedic surgeons are employed by hospital systems, but we are not in that situation,” says Nick Gates, MD, orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon at Commonwealth Orthopaedic. Gates laughs when he thinks about the term “independent physician group” because when he started practicing medicine, “that name didn’t exist. Every group was an independent group.”
Times have changed. The recent policy emphases on patient wellness, measurable results and information technology have caused a slew of acquisitions and mergers. Yet Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers has adopted a different approach by collaborating with its long-time partners, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and the St. Elizabeth Physicians Group, to create a new Orthopaedic Institute.
“Our relationship with St. Elizabeth has evolved into an organized operation for the delivery of orthopaedic care,” says Gates. “The Orthopaedic Institute is a way of managing orthopaedic service lines across the board, be it foot and ankle, spine or total joint replacement. It allows the hospital and the orthopaedic surgeons to sit down and figure out the best way to deliver care, geared toward quality of care and improving the patient experience. Healthcare has changed a lot in my 18 years of practice, and by working with St. Elizabeth rather than separately, we’ve been able to deal with those changes in a way that benefits the patients most.”
“The institute allows for the coordination of care that provides for the delivery of high quality and consistent care across St. Elizabeth’s six surgery sites,” says Garren Colvin, St. Elizabeth interim CEO. “This conduit for quality is not dependent upon a physician’s desire to be independent.”
Part of that high-quality care includes new technology, including a new internal brace, developed by Gates in collaboration with other orthopaedic surgeons around the nation. The new brace is ideal for patients with chronic ankle sprains. “Once you sprain your ankle ligaments, they heal looser, and that tends to lead to more ankle sprains,” explains Gates.
“The internal brace implant is far more reliable and allows us to advance the rehabilitation and recovery for those patients, not only in the short term but also in the long term.”
Other medical advances available at Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers include specific implants for joint replacements, anterior hip replacement and robotic-assisted surgery.
Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers remains an independent physician group, but its unique partnership with St. Elizabeth allows it to excel in just the right places, says Gates. “We have done a great job of combining our goal of having the newest medical technology with our goal of taking care of the community.”