Expansion of Orthopaedic Program at LRH in Process
The orthopaedic program at Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) is expanding to meet the needs and expectations of area residents and visitors. LRH Vice President of Administrative Services Jennifer Gustafson said, “We’ve always had terrific orthopaedic surgical care here, and now we’re taking steps to make the entire spectrum of orthopaedic care even better.”
One improvement is the recent change to having an orthopaedic surgeon on call through the hospital’s emergency room 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Coverage will largely be provided by Dr. Mike Donohue and Dr. John Leupold. Northwest Iowa Bone, Joint, and Sports Surgeons (NWIBJ) from Spencer have also agreed to assist in call coverage on an intermittent basis. According to Gustafson, the hospital sees many patients in the ER that could benefit from receiving care immediately from an orthopaedic surgeon. She said, “It is much better to give them the care they need when they need it without requiring them to travel out of town and delay treatment.”
Another change that may not be quite as visible but that will further improve the coordination of orthopaedic care at LRH is the transition of Dr. John Leupold’s practice to NWIBJ on January 1, 2011. Leupold said, “I’m still going to be based in Spirit Lake like I always have been, and I’m looking forward to working more closely with colleagues by sharing our expertise for the benefit of our patients.” Dr. Leupold provides general orthopaedic care including knee and shoulder arthroscopy and total hip and knee replacement, is fellowship trained in sports medicine, and is specifically trained in the treatment of athletic injuries.
Dr. Donohue and Iowa Lakes Orthopaedics, who have had a clinic in Spirit Lake for over 25 years, will continue to provide general orthopaedic care including total joint replacement, open and arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgery, elective hand surgery, and non-operative care for neck and back injuries. Dr. Tim Blankers offers complete ankle and foot care including surgical treatment at LRH.
NWIBJ is headquartered in Spencer, but Leupold’s clinic will still be located in its current space on the hospital’s second floor, at least temporarily. Leupold said, “In the future I anticipate occupying a space on the LRH campus that is more conducive to patient access and that can accommodate more surgeons than just me.”
LRH has a history of supporting the recruitment of physicians to meet the healthcare needs of area patients. Recently LRH’s Board of Trustees approved recruitment support be given to Iowa Lakes Orthopaedics and NWIBJ to recruit surgeons to the area. Since that time, NWIBJ has recruited Chris Rierson, D.O. to join their practice in summer 2013. Rierson, originally from Spencer and whose parents now live in Wahpeton, will work out of the Spirit Lake clinic with Dr. Leupold and focus on total joint replacements and sports medicine. Dr. Donohue and Iowa Lakes Orthopaedics have begun plans to actively recruit as well. Dr. Donohue believes that, “a locally based orthopaedic practice has proven to be an essential component of the past success of LRH. I am grateful for the hospital’s support of Iowa Lakes Orthopaedics recruiting another orthopaedic surgeon to provide additional care for our community.”
Dr. Rierson will complement the recently expanded spectrum of orthopaedic surgeries now offered at LRH. Philip Deffer, M.D. of NWIBJ has been providing specialty hand clinics and performing hand surgery at LRH since November 2006. He has over 15 years of experience in hand surgery and general orthopaedics. Dr. Deffer’s clinics are held every other Tuesday in Dr. Leupold’s clinic on LRH’s second floor. Orthopaedic surgeon Will Shaffer, M.D., also of NWIBJ, was recently added to LRH’s medical staff and now provides specialty spine clinics at the hospital. Dr. Shaffer started providing expertise in surgical back and neck care at LRH this spring. He has a clinic in the hospital’s outpatient clinic every other Thursday and comes to LRH with over 22 years of spine experience and 30 years of general orthopaedic surgery experience.
Gustafson said, “Lakes Regional Healthcare is committed to providing the care our patients expect and deserve. Doing so with regards to any service, including orthopaedics, takes time, but we are on our way, and I think our patients will be very pleased with these and future changes.”