As anyone who has experienced pain and discomfort in bones, joints, ligaments and other parts of the body knows, it can affect our ability to work, play, and even move. Fortunately, the professional and caring team at the Orthopaedic Specialty Group can help with musculoskeletal system injuries or diseases from advanced surgical and nonsurgical techniques to neurosurgery, pain management, and rehabilitation.
The Orthopaedic Specialty Group was incorporated in 1970, but traces its roots to post-World War II, serving injured soldiers coming back from the battlefields.
The practice today has seven convenient offices, making it the largest orthopaedic practice in southern Connecticut. The group has highly-skilled sports medicine and pain management specialists to work with clients on their physical and rehabilitation needs. Overseeing much of the expansion of the practice is Chief Executive Officer Steve P. Fiore, MBA, FACMPE. When he joined the group at the beginning of 2000, there were nine doctors. That number has grown to almost thirty, as the practice has expanded the number of its locations, its square footage, and employees.
Today, the 225 full-time staff of the Orthopaedic Specialty Group and sister company OrthoFast include seven physician assistants, who work with the Orthopaedic Surgeons providing care to OSG patients, and four primary care sports medicine doctors who handle all OrthoFast walk-in centers, X-ray technologists, certified medical assistants, certified casting technicians and administrative personnel such as receptionists, phone scheduling staff, specialist in managing workers compensation insurance, and a concierge line staff who manage the needs of referring physicians offices.
Orthopaedic Specialty Group has five locations including Fairfield, which is the home of the new 50,000-square-foot building and contains Fairfield Surgery Center, Stratford, and Shelton, along with three OrthoFast locations in Fairfield, Milford, and Shelton, and a new facility coming to Westport. The practice performs about seven thousand surgeries per year, with three thousand of them done at the Fairfield Surgery Center.
The OrthoFast division of the Orthopaedic Specialty Group provides immediate care for orthopaedic injuries – such as those resulting from sports – including fracture and dislocations. , OrthoFast sites are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and offer patients convenient walk-in services with no appointment necessary. Specialized staff quickly and accurately diagnose and treat sprains, fractures and other orthopaedic injuries.
“Currently, we have three of these up and operational, and the fourth one will be delivered by the end of this calendar year. Two of the locations are larger so that we can take advantage of expanded Orthopaedic and ancillary services,” says Fiore.
The group deals with patients residing in blue-collar communities, middle income, and wealthy areas. As a result, staff is selected not only for their medical experience and professionalism but also for their abilities to work with patients from a mix of socio-economic backgrounds and cultures. Patients come in with different expectations, challenges, and understanding of how healthcare operates in the United States, especially insurance and its application.
“Our staff has to become wizards, if you will, at how patients’ insurance works and authorizations, deductibles and co-pays – all the things that no insurance company ever teaches their customers, which they leave to the doctors’ offices to become the educators,” says Fiore, who has been running mainly orthopedic practices for the past forty years.
The compassionate, expert team offers physical therapy, rehabilitation, and surgery, among its many services. The group also conducts functional assessments, addresses pain management and has sports and activity specific rehabilitation, neuromuscular reduction, therapeutic exercise, work task analysis and much more. The focus is on ‘treating the whole patient’ to help patients achieve their goals.
For those requiring surgery, the practice has the technologically-advanced Fairfield Surgical Center, conveniently located in their building, which is accredited with the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. (AAAHC) and certified by Medicare. The Fairfield Surgical Center has board-certified anesthesiologists who provide personalized, professional procedures.
The center’s staff oversees scheduling and pre-surgical preparation. The idea is to have as little waiting time as possible before, during and after surgery. Often, patients will return to the comfort of their own homes just hours after surgery, resulting in less stress and lower costs to them, since no overnight hospital charges are incurred.
Another reason patients choose Orthopaedic Specialty Group, along with Fairfield Surgical Center is the diverse range of services. “You can come to the facilities, and you can get just about anything taken care of that is musculoskeletal in nature,” says Fiore. The only exception is Orthopaedic Oncology, a sub-specialty for which patients are sent to either New York or Yale University. “We offer specialists in Pediatric Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine, Orthopaedic Spine, Foot & Ankle, Hand & Upper Extremity, Total Joint Replacement, Orthopaedic Trauma, Neurosurgery, Pain Management, Physiatry and Chiropractic services. We also provide in-house diagnostics, X-ray, ultrasound, surgery center, physical therapy and a 3T MRI machine. This provides a wide variety of services patients can take advantage of, in a one stop facility.”
The center routinely performs arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, knee or hip as well as rotator cuff repair, hand surgery, joint replacement, spine surgery, and other surgeries, as well as interventional pain management procedures.
For patients to receive the necessary care, the center features fifty exam rooms, three X-ray units, a three-room operating room, approximately 5,000 square feet of physical therapy space, a suite for pain injections, a pharmacy and access to durable medical equipment such as braces and crutches for injury management and postoperative services. And for speed, accuracy and client convenience, the Orthopaedic Specialty Group uses electronic medical records, so no matter which location the patient goes to, doctors have access to all the patient’s medical information.
The group recently broke ground on a second, 50,000-square-foot facility in Shelton, which will be consolidated with a smaller existing office. A further forty exam rooms are being added, and the new structure will also house record storage in the lower level, further reducing costs and increasing efficiency. “Also, all of the organization’s administrative and support staff will be located in this new facility, further improving the organization’s ability to efficiently meet our patient’s needs.”
Many of its patients are referred through word-of-mouth, employers, insurance carriers, other patients, as well as referring physicians or medical providers. This has resulted in a continuum of care for families, such as children moving into adulthood and on to senior citizens. It was awarded a contract to be the sports medicine provider for Sacred Heart University and has been tasked with developing a comprehensive student health service for all students and staff at the institution, which has grown to almost nine thousand undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff and about ninety sports programs.
“They wanted us because our size, our reputation, our corporate ideals and our values fit with what their vision entailed – an organization that would have the ability to grow with them, meet their needs professionally and be willing to invest with them in this new endeavor,” states Fiore. Additionally, the group also serves as the team physicians for Fairfield University and the team doctors for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, an affiliate of the New York Islanders hockey team and the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent league professional baseball team.
Although growth is a priority for the Orthopaedic Specialty Group and OrthoFast, Fiore says being independent is vital to future success, particularly for orthopaedic surgeons who wish to run their own operations and make their own decisions.
In order to meet the business challenges of the future, the group holds an annual retreat at which the doctors sit down with one another for an entire day offsite planning the practice’s strategic goals and objectives, and ways to achieve the desired goals. “The management team and I try to ensure that we are building an organization that meets the shareholder’s goals, and continues to provide the most advanced Orthopaedic care in Southern Connecticut.