The Hospital for Special Surgery, the nation’s top orthopedic hospital, is set to open its first Florida clinic in West Palm Beach this coming January.
The Hospital for Special Surgery of New York is nearing completion of a West Palm Beach facility, a move that will bring top doctors to Florida patients dealing with orthopedic health issues.
The 60,000-square-foot center, at 300 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, is set to open in late January, said Justin Oppenheimer, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at HSS.
Appointments already are being taken for the facility’s five full time and three part-time physicians. More doctors are expected to be added as services grow over time.
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The center also will open with a staff of between 30 to 50 at first, including radiologists, technicians and physical therapists. HSS will even have a therapist who specializes in hands.
More than 500 people gathered earlier this year on Palm Beach to hear HSS doctors talk about hips, backs, shoulders, elbows, hands and knees. The unexpectedly large crowd makes it likely the HSS center in West Palm Beach will be busy from the get-go.
Why is HSS a big deal for Palm Beach County?
For the past 10 years, HSS has been named the No. 1 hospital for orthopedics in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1863, the Hospital for Special Surgery also is the oldest orthopedic hospital in the United States.
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For some time, HSS officals have been looking for ways to bring its storied medical services to the growing, aging and affluent Florida community. “We want to deliver care closer to where people live and work and not just in Westchester County, New York. It means Florida,” HSS President Louis Shapiro told the Palm Beach Post last year.
Today’s retirees are not yesterday’s retirees. Older patients today expect to be able to continue their active lifestyle, including playing golf or tennis, providing an opportunity for HSS doctors to keep them moving and out of pain.
In addition, HSS is seeking to attract elite athletes and professional dancers needing musculoskeletal care. A new top hire is Dr. Kathleen Davenort, an HSS-trained physiatrist who specializes in treating professional dancers in South Florida. “Hopefullly, we will build relationships with dance companies,” Oppenheim said.
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Ultimately, HSS hopes to be a destination center for all sports medicine needs in the Southeast U.S., including professional athletes as well as teenage athletes, Oppenheim said. In the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, HSS treats more professional athletes than anywhere else in the world, he said.
In January 2018, HSS announced its expansion to Florida in partnership with Tenet Healthcare, parent of Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Through a Tenet subsidiary, United Surgical Partnership International, plans are to offer clinical care and other elements of orthopedic care, including diagnostic services such as imaging, rehabilitation and sports medicine.
At the West Palm Beach facility, outpatient surgery will be available. This includes hip and knee replacements for patients, if they are deemed suitable for the procedure on an out-patient basis, Oppenheim said.
Spinal surgeries won’t be handled at the facility but non-surgical treatment, such as physical therapy, will be available. In addition, consultations with HSS doctors in New York, through shared technology from the West Palm Beach imaging equipment, will be offered.
Complex orthopedic surgeries requiring inpatient hospitalization will be referred to New York.
However, trauma orthopedic care will be offered in Palm Beach County through a new affiliation with Wellington orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas Sama, who completed his orthopedic trauma and reconstruction fellowship at HSS in New York.
Oppenheim said Sama will perform surgeries at Wellington Regional Medical Center and Good Sam.
HSS isn’t alone in establishing a big presence in Palm Beach County to score new patients.
In fact, the county is popular with hospital companies seeking to expand. The population is insured and generous, often rewarding medical centers with financial gifts that support research, clinical and education programs.
A major out-of-area player is Cleveland Clinic, which has offices throughout Palm Beach County, including a large medical office at CityPlace Tower office building in West Palm Beach.
Despite the high-profile presence in West Palm Beach, Cleveland Clinic continues to expand throughout the county, with offices in Wellington and Palm Beach Gardens.
And earlier this year, Cleveland Clinic Florida bought 35 acres of land on Lake Worth Road for $9.3 million. The Ohio-based hospital company won county approval to build a medical office building and could build a hospital on the site one day.
Currently, the closest Cleveland Clinic hospital to Palm Beach County is at the clinic’s Florida headquarters in Weston, a lengthy drive for Palm Beach County patients who are directed to the hospital for inpatient treatment or surgery.
In addition, both NYU Langone and Mount Sinai Hospital of New York have opened medical offices in West Palm Beach.