Dr. Timothy Kremchek on the future of Beacon Orthopaedics & total joint replacement

Written by Eric Oliver | September 06, 2019 | Print  |

Cincinnati-based Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine was founded in 1996, and the growth hasn't stopped since.

Here,Timothy Kremchek, MD, explains what's in store for the future of Beacon, and how the practice is preparing for the possible boom in total joint replacements if CMS approves its pending reimbursement changes.

Note: Responses were edited for style and clarity.

Question: Three years down the road, how will Beacon continue to grow?

Dr. Timothy Kremchek: As healthcare evolves, we continually work to stay ahead of the curve. Interestingly, often the best thing to do is go back to the basics. When we started Beacon in 1996 and built our facility in 2003, we always focused on the idea of the patient coming first. I believe healthcare moves in a big circle, constantly moving forward and changing, but then circling back in many traditional ways. We believe that treating patients well and keeping that care efficient, cost-effective and ethically sound is the way to win as a practice.

As we move forward, we will endeavor to attract well-trained, orthopedic surgeons in high-demand subspecialties. This will allow us to independently grow and offer more facilities while at the same time continuing to develop strong relationships with important community assets, [like] our hospital colleagues. We will continue to lead by using new technology in surgical and non-surgical techniques — rehabilitation and the use of biologics, such as stem cells and platelet-rich plasma.

Beacon strives to be a treatment destination for athletes who travel from across town and nationwide to be seen, cared for and [returned] to healthy activity. We remain committed to being that first-class one-stop-care destination for all of our patients.

Q: How will Beacon accommodate additional demand for what looks to be a migration of Medicare total knee replacements to the outpatient setting?

TK: We started doing outpatient total hip and knee replacements years ago at our ASC. Now, we must now recognize that the whole approach is the opposite of how I was trained in the early 1990s in Boston. The old way centered around the patient as a "sick person." We [must now] shift our view of total knee and hip replacement patients from [being] "sick" to simply injured, no different than someone who may have an ACL or shoulder injury — they just might happen to be a little bit older.

I treat my total knee replacements like older athletes, and I tell them, "We are trying to take your pain away and give you your mobility back." Knowledge beyond the physician matters, so we focus on educating patients as well. We've built more operating rooms — now, a total of eight ORs — [to be ready for growing demand]. We make sure all our ancillary staff, including our pre- and postoperative nurses and our physical therapists, understand how important it is to get our patients up and walking. Starting physical therapy quickly and getting patients back to their active lifestyle is some of the best medicine.

Personally, I find total knee replacement the most gratifying procedure to do. It can be a very efficient operation and takes a person out of such incredible pain, giving his or her active life back. One of the other enjoyable professional aspects of this procedure is working with colleagues to develop better intraoperative anesthesia. Working to determine how to decrease postoperative pain and narcotic use, yet allow patients to have early functional movement post-surgery. This is an exciting time to work at Beacon Orthopaedics, as we help patients through from injury and damage to recovery.

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