Northwest's total joint program earns gold seal for quality of care
Contributed photo, Dr. John Maltry specializes in adult reconstructive orthopedic surgery.

The Total Joint Program at Northwest Medical Center has earned the Gold Seal of Approval for health care quality.

The Joint Commission, a not-for-profit independent organization that accredits and certifies approximately 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S., awarded Northwest Medical Center its Disease-Specific Care Certification for total knee and total hip replacement surgeries.

NMC is the only hospital in Arizona to have received that designation.

"We sought this comprehensive, independent evaluation to further enhance the safety and quality of care we provide to the hundreds of patients who receive hip and knee replacements at Northwest Medical Center each year," said Paul Kappelman, chief executive officer of the hospital.

To earn the distinction, a disease management program undergoes an extensive on-site evaluation by a team of Joint Commission reviewers every two years. The program is then evaluated against the commission's standards by assessing the program's processes, its ability to evaluate and improve care, and through interviews with patients and staff.

Kappelman said the program's success "has been a collaborative effort between our orthopedic surgeons and our staff to fine-tune processes related to our total joint surgeries, including a comprehensive patient education program so patients are fully prepared for the surgery and their recovery."

The result, he noted, is patients who benefit with better outcomes after knee or hip replacement procedures.

John Maltry, MD, who specializes in adult reconstructive orthopedic surgery, is one of the orthopedic surgeons who participates in the Total Joint Center. Maltry said he only does minimally invasive total knee and total hip surgeries that capitalize on using the latest in instruments and techniques.

"Minimally invasive surgery gives the same good work as in the past, but we don't cut any muscles and we make smaller incisions," Maltry said. "That translates into much shorter hospital stays for the patients."

While a knee replacement 15 years ago might have had a seven- to 10-day hospital stay or longer, today the in-hospital time averages 2-1/2 days, Maltry said, and the stay for a hip replacement is down to about 1-1/2 days. Both types of surgeries have similar outcomes to those years ago with longer hospital stays, he added.

Marty Einstein, 51, a Phoenix resident and competitive power lifter for more than 30 years, chose the Total Joint Program's David Martin, MD, to perform a hip resurfacing.

"I was disappointed in the responses of some other surgeons I consulted in Phoenix about how my mobility would be restricted after hip surgery," Einstein said, "so I was pleased when Dr. Martin examined me and determined I was a candidate for the resurfacing procedure on my left hip."

Hip resurfacing is a new, conservative surgical procedure alternative to total hip replacement that resurfaces, rather than replaces, the end of the femur (thigh bone). In doing so, it preserves the bone stock on both the femoral head and neck because the surgeon reshapes the damaged joint, but doesn't cut the natural bone of the femur. Both sides of the joint are fitted with metal prosthetics.

Einstein said his hospital stay was 1-1/2 days, during which time he completed three physical therapy sessions after the surgery.

"I had another six weeks of physical therapy in Phoenix after that, and to this day have no pain in that hip," Einstein noted. "I've gone back to power lifting and will compete in May in the Western States National Power Lifting Competition."

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