Minnesota orthopedic groups 'keep their guard up' as patients return

Angie Stewart -   Print  |

For two Minnesota orthopedic groups, operations are relatively normal again — but their CEOs are keeping an eye on rising COVID-19 case numbers in the state, St. Paul Business Journal reports.

Recovery after a statewide moratorium on elective surgeries was quicker than expected for Woodbury, Minn.-based Summit Orthopedics, CEO Adam Berry told St. Paul Business Journal.

Volumes rebounded in a "V" shape rather than a "U" shape as anticipated, Mr. Berry said. Summit's patient volumes have returned to 85 percent of normal levels after dropping as low as 20 percent in the early weeks of the pandemic.

With all four surgery centers and 10 of its 30 clinics back in operation, Summit has brought back more than 600 of the roughly 700 workers who were furloughed in March.

Volumes for Bloomington, Minn.-based Tria Orthopedics were at about 60 percent in April, and now they're at 90 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels with two new clinics and walk-ins reinstated. Tria Orthopedics CEO Ed Craig, MD, attributed the relatively quick rebound to earning patient trust.

At Tria Orthopedics, all patients scheduled for surgery must be tested for COVID-19. The practice expanded its clinic hours and is replacing overnight recoveries with same-day discharge for joint replacements to ensure patients spend as little time in the center as possible. Post-discharge follow-ups can be done virtually.

While the return to near-normal has been encouraging, Dr. Craig said everyone should "keep their guard up." In the past week, Minnesota has seen a slight increase in the number of intensive care unit beds occupied than COVID-19 patients. Hospitalizations peaked in late May at more than double what they are now.

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