Doing it for the patients — Why Dr. Jim Chappuis specializes in revision spine surgery

Written by Eric Oliver | April 16, 2019 | Print  |

With seven Atlanta-based locations, Spine Center Atlanta treats an array of conditions, specializing in correcting failed spine surgeries.

Here, Spine Center Atlanta surgeon Jim Chappuis, MD, speaks about revision spine surgery and how SpineCenterAtlanta helps patients afford procedures.

Dr. Chappuis will share his expertise as a speaker at the Becker's ASC 26th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs, Oct. 24-26, 2019 in Chicago. To learn more and register, click here. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com. 

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: Why did you want to specialize in revision spine surgery procedures?

Dr. Jim Chappuis: I have always had an interest in failed spine surgery, and over the past 28 years, [I] have performed a number of revision procedures. The gratitude of these patients keeps my interest. Patients suffering from failed back surgery syndrome have complex needs and present unique challenges from a medical perspective. To help them realize the relief they desire — even if it is partial symptomatic relief — is both rewarding and motivating for me as a spine surgeon.

Because of the marked increase of spinal fusions in the U.S. in the 1990s, a number of these cases are failing, and they are being treated in pain clinics with injections and opiates. Often, these patients have not had a surgical opinion, so we are now getting referrals and interest from patients suffering from FBSS [in]many areas throughout the country and the Caribbean.

Q: Could you describe your practice's virtual consultation program and how it's been received by patients?

JC: Our virtual practice was launched about a year ago, which assists us immensely in the initial consultation with many of our distant patients. We now have a nurse practitioner who works full time in this capacity. This virtual practice, a component of what we in the industry refer to as telemedicine, is going to grow exponentially in the next three to 10 years; current patients and future generations of patients are going to expect this and will choose medical practices that offer this convenience over those that offer only traditional, in-office visits.

Q: How does Spine Center Atlanta help patients afford surgery?

JC: We continue to think outside the box for ways to make medical procedures more accessible and affordable, especially for the underinsured, uninsurable and those patients with large deductibles or coinsurance healthcare plans. We have created a program whereby we collateralize patient out-of-pocket balances using the patient's valuables to secure medical balances. This program helps to ease the financial stress on patients who might not have access to medical procedures otherwise, especially those who can not afford to pay their full balance at the time of service.

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