Orthopaedic Community Care Clinic On The Move

May 12, 2008

When former University of Rochester Medical Center CEO C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., stepped down from his post in August 2006, he wanted to return to his medical specialty of Orthopaedics. Nearly two years later, he’s done that and much more in his role as attending physician of the Medical Center’s Orthopaedic Community Care Clinic.

The clinic, which has been in existence for more than two decades, provides orthopaedic care for under- and uninsured patients. Up to 45 patients are seen each week at the clinic, which diagnoses and manages non-operative treatments for the full range of musculoskeletal disorders. Patients needing surgery or physical therapy are referred to the appropriate specialists.

In the past, faculty from the Department of Orthopaedics would rotate through the clinic, overseeing the care provided by medical residents. Now, with Evarts’ establishing a permanent medical director position, he is able to bring his decades of experience as a successful orthopaedic surgeon, departmental chair and health care administrator to help fine tune clinic operations.

“Being in Clinic each week allows continuity of care for our patients,” Evarts said. “We’ve increased the interest of the residents and provided consistent care, and if possible, we try to arrange for patients to see the same doctor throughout the course of their treatment.”

Upon his arrival, Evarts immediately sought to expand the clinic space, located at Clinton Crossings. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield stepped up and contributed $20,000 to help fund the renovations, along with computers to view images and other important equipment.

“The University of Rochester Medical Center’s Orthopaedic Community Care Clinic provides an important service to the Rochester region, assuring access to affordable health care for people who need it the most,” said Scott Ellsworth, regional president for Excellus BCBS. “That is a fundamental part of our mission as a locally based non-profit health plan.”

The people who frequent the clinic are as diverse as their injuries. Take Gretchen Fischer for example. As a youth, Fischer was actively involved in skiing and water sports, but at the age of 37, she found herself disabled from degenerative disc disease and severe arthritis in her right hip.

“I’ve been unable to work for some time now, and my ability to live an active and independent life has been so diminished,” Fischer said. “Luckily, I was able to tap into the orthopaedic specialists at the Orthopaedic Community Care Clinic. I was seen by Dr. Evarts and the residents, and was referred to two different surgeons for evaluations. I’m happy to say I now have a surgery date of June 11, and for the first time in a long time, I have hope that I can once again live a normal life.”

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Germaine Reinhardt
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