Northland surgery center provides a welcome alternative

Just about every health care provider hopes to be known for that “personal” touch, but one Northland surgery center seems to be delivering on that boast.

“You’re treated like royalty from the very beginning.”

Jetta McGinnis was 62 in September when her surgeon suggested Total Joint Center of the Northland for her knee replacement surgery. McGinnis trusted her physician and was quite the experienced patient: due to some birth defects, she had already undergone a hip surgery six years before and a total replacement on her other knee in January 2018—both performed by the same surgeon but in a traditional hospital setting.

The change of venue, she says, made all the difference.

“There’s something less threatening for me to see an office building instead of a huge hospital,” she says. “And it was all done so efficiently. There was no waiting anywhere. It was like, when you got there, you were their only patient.”

That small capacity and personal contact is by design, says administrator Justin Turentine. The center, which opened in July 2017 and includes two operating rooms, is focused solely on total joints—primarily knees, hips and shoulders. Most patients go home the same day.

“If you’re a specialty center and you do one thing and you do it extremely well, I think that’s beneficial for the patients,” he says.

After more than 250 surgeries since opening, Turentine says the center’s patient satisfaction rate is around 96 percent, due in large part to the expertise of the 10 orthopedic surgeons who practice there as well as what he calls the center’s “concierge” service. Each patient attends a one-on-one pre-operative class before surgery to talk not only about what to expect during the procedure but also how to prepare their home, food preparation, pain management, etc. Patients enjoy a private room during their time at the center and have 24/7 access to a patient navigator once the surgery is complete—a big plus for McGinnis, she says.

“When you’ve had surgery, you want answers now, not in six or seven hours when they get around to calling you,” she says. “It’s so reassuring to have a nurse call you every morning and know that you have access to her 24/7.”

McGinnis also appreciated the center’s various options for pain management—especially important for patients who could potentially develop an addiction to traditional pain medications. She says she struggled stepping down from the meds after her last knee surgery but this time went home instead with a pain pump, which controlled the majority of her pain.

Patient safety, in fact, is a major focus of the center. As of this writing, the center has not experienced any post-operative infections. Plus, to increase safety and allow patients to return home sooner, the center only accepts patients who have a limited number of other health issues and meet certain criteria, including BMI and age limits.

As a result, staff say it’s the perfect option for active adults ready to get back to life. Many patients are in their 40s and 50s, and most need surgery after some type of athletic injury or to correct a malformation they were born with.

For McGinnis, who teaches school and enjoys riding horses, she was just excited to get back to her daily routine.

“If the only reason for having your knee done is to sit around your house and not do anything, you’re not really the best candidate,” she says. “I’m just so grateful I got it done there.”

For more information, visit TotalJointCenterNorthland.com.