MCMC’s Total Joint Program again receives the rare distinction of
earning the Gold Seal of Approval accreditation for quality of care.
Dr. James Reardon is used to practicing big-city medicine. Before joining
MCMC Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery last summer, the joint replacement
specialist practiced for 22 years in Kansas City and chaired for six years
the Orthopaedic Division of a large Kansas City hospital.
He knows what big-city medicine looks like. He just didn’t expect
it to look like Mid-Columbia Medical Center.
“I think people tend to look at small community hospitals and not
always be terribly impressed by them, but they should be when they look
at MCMC,” Dr. Reardon says.
Dr. Reardon is speaking both generally about the entire MCMC organization
and specifically about the Total Hip and Knee Replacement programs he
now directs. The latter two programs were recently re-accredited with
the Gold Seal of Approval by The Joint Commission, which signifies they
meet or exceed that independent, not-for-profit organization’s stringent
patient care and safety standards for hip and knee replacement surgery
Accreditation is a rare achievement that fewer than a dozen total joint
programs in Oregon hospitals share. MCMC’s program, which includes
orthopaedic surgeons and the hospital’s surgery, nursing and rehabilitation
teams, is the only one in the region to earn this distinction.
“My hospital in Kansas City did 1,200 joint replacements a year and
they did not have accreditation,” Dr. Reardon says. “It really
is unbelievable that MCMC has once again earned this distinction. It’s
Hip or knee replacement surgeries are performed more than a million times
each year in the U.S. Most people who undergo the procedure suffer from
osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis, this condition affects
nearly 14 percent of adults over 25 years old and more than one-third
of people over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At MCMC, the majority of total joint patients are between 60 and 80, but
procedures have been performed on patients as young as 40 and as old as
90. They enter the Total Joint program with painful, stiff joints, often
with very simple goals — for example, hoping to one day take their
grandchildren to the park or play with them on the floor.
“I just saw a patient the other day whose goal was to walk through
the grocery store without pain,” says Anna Saltonstall, lead physical
therapist at MCMC. “The Total Joint team defines success in terms
of how successful our patients are in achieving those functional goals,”
The total joint replacement process begins when a patient is referred for
surgery by his or her healthcare provider. After a preoperative medical
assessment, all patients attend Joint Camp, a morning-long presentation
covering all aspects of surgery and recovery. During Joint Camp, members
of the MCMC team, which includes nurses, pharmacists and physical therapists,
give patients information and advice about what lies ahead.
Surgery normally requires a three-day hospital stay. During that time,
patients receive intensive occupational and physical therapy. Patients
are released from the hospital with a discharge plan that outlines the
patients’ and caregivers’ next steps, whether that is going
home or to a care facility for more rehabilitation.
After discharge, members of the MCMC Visiting health team and therapists
make home visits for up to two weeks. Then the patient continues therapy
in the outpatient setting of Water’s Edge.
The recovery process generally takes six months. At MCMC, the Total Joint
team strives to meet a series of goals designed to continually improve
patient care, as well as meet the accreditation requirements of The Joint
Although the accreditation process is time consuming, Total Joint staff
is committed to the process to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients,
says program coordinator Kim Hartley, R.N.
“It ensures we use the most up-to-date medical practices and constantly
make the program better for our patients,” Hartley says. “And
it gives our patients the confidence of knowing they are receiving care
that meets the highest standards for quality.”
There is no overstating the quality-of-life improvement that a successful
joint replacement surgery can bring, says Dr. Reardon, who estimates he
has performed “thousands” of the procedures in his long career.
He relates the story of a surgical colleague in Kansas City with osteoarthritis
in his knee that had become so bad he could barely move after a day performing
After recovering from knee replacement surgery performed by Dr. Reardon,
the surgeon not only was practicing surgery pain free again, he was also
back to running 20 miles every week, biking 40 miles and finishing triathlons
in record times.
“He is a very happy man,” Dr. Reardon says. “There’s
no value you can put on a grateful patient, a happy patient who now has
their life back.”
But it’s not difficult to measure the value of patients in pain being
able to receive the benefits of big-city joint replacement care without
leaving the comforts of their own small community.