2 Qs with Dr. Adolph Lombardi on Operation Walk USA

Shayna Korol -   Print  |

Operation Walk USA is an independent humanitarian organization that provides free hip and knee replacement surgeries to patients in the U.S. who do not qualify for government assistance programs and cannot afford surgery on their own.

Approximately 40 orthopedic surgeons provided free hip and joint replacements at 25 hospitals nationwide during Operation Walk USA 2018, Dec. 3-9.

Operation Walk USA followed the success of Operation Walk, a volunteer medical service organization that provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions in developing nations. Adolph Lombardi, Jr., MD, coordinated volunteers' efforts by setting up a website to match patients in need with surgeons willing to perform hip and knee surgery at no charge.

Dr. Lombardi is an orthopedic surgeon at New Albany, Ohio-based Joint Implant Surgeons. He recently spoke with Becker's Spine Review about Operation Walk USA.

Question: Why did you help start Operation Walk USA?

Dr. Adolph Lombardi: There are so many people who can't afford to have an operation and have arthritis. Even with the passage of the ACA, there are lot of people who are not insured. When I came back from volunteering through Operation Walk International, it struck me that we weren't doing this in the U.S., but we have the same type of people in need.

Q: What are the scope of services Operation Walk provides?

AL: Walk has done close to $20 million in free work throughout the country. There's absolutely no charge to the patient — we even subsidize some of the postoperative physical therapy and medications, or a local organization will help out when they hear about what they're doing.

The other side of the coin is that we sometimes identify patients who are eligible for Medicaid but don't realize it, and we tell them, and they get enrolled. They can get their surgeries paid for through Medicaid.

For the surgeons, it's really good team-building. We depend on charity clinics and communities to send patients our way, and a lot of it is through hearsay. Patients come back to me and are just so thankful in their follow-up — they tell me they've got a new lease on life, and I'm happy to provide that.

Click here to access Operation Walk USA's website.

More articles on orthopedics:
Orthopedic surgeon to know: Dr. Felicity Fishman of Shriners Hospital for Children — Chicago
Orthopedic surgeon appointed to healthcare transition team
AtlantiCare partners with Operation Walk USA, provides free hip replacements: 4 notes

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