Demand for orthopaedic services as the population both ages and grows in Northern Colorado has propelled the Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies into a major provider of services within the health-care community.
Bravo entrepreneur award winner Mike Bergerson, CEO of the Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies, said in 2016 when the center opened its newest facility in Greeley, “Our office in Greeley will help us keep up with increasing patient volume and demand for orthopaedics. Our doctors and staff are looking forward to being a part of the Greeley business and health-care community.
The Greeley location has indeed achieved that goal under Bergerson’s direction, as have OCR’s other two locations in Fort Collins and Loveland. And, in October, when a merger with Front Range Orthopedics and Spine becomes effective, those successfully attained goals will spread to the new facilities that come with the merger, including an additional one in Fort Collins along with sites in Longmont, Lafayette, Westminster, and Frederick.
The partnership will create the largest privately-owned, fully vertically integrated orthopedic and spine medical group in Colorado.
Most of OCR’s present physicians, who are fellowship trained and board-certified in specialties such as sports medicine and podiatry in addition to orthopaedics and spine-related matters, traveled to all three of its facilities prior to the pandemic. Post-merger, that pattern will likely be expanded. But currently, said Carli Taylor-Drake, director of marketing and practice development, all are taking advantage of telemedicine. “We plan to continue to offer telemedicine options to our patients where and when possible.” However, she added, “Due to the nature of our organization, much of what we do requires an in-person physical evaluation and hands-on care.”
Over the last 50+ years, Taylor-Drake said OCR has “grown from a small, general-orthopaedic clinic into a highly subspecialized, vertically-integrated model of musculoskeletal care.” That model includes, in addition to its medical clinics, therapy facilities, X-ray and MRI centers, a trauma program and a sports-medicine outreach program.
Following the merger and the full integration of both organizations, the center will have 45 physicians and surgeons, 34 physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and other professional and support staff bringing the total number of employees to approximately 600 people. The goal of all is to provide the highest quality of care and the best patient outcomes in the lowest cost settings.
OCR physicians contribute to their communities in non-medical ways as well. For example, they match, dollar-for-dollar, all contributions to the Jean Friday Fund to which employees who choose to wear denim on Fridays contribute $3. The “Jeans Dollars” then go to a variety of non-profits and food banks several times a year. Other ways in which the center and its employees involve themselves are by holding an annual food drive for the Larimer County Food Bank and donating to several organizations $1 for each patient survey that is returned.
Another example of OCR’s out-of-the-exam-room activities is the Greeley facility’s “Walk with a Doc” on the third Saturday of each month. “Walk with a Doc” offers Greeley residents a five-minute talk by either a family or sports-medicine physician, or both, along with a 30-minute walk during which walkers can have their blood pressure checked and can also ask the physician(s) general health questions.
OCR and FROC History
Both the Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies and Front Range Orthopedics & Spine are roughly 50 years old. OCR got its start in 1969; FROC opened its doors a year later.
OCR’s original four physicians pioneered and supported procedures such as internal-fixative devices for trauma and fracture surgery. Its physicians were among the early adopters of arthroscopic surgery that involves using a surgical scope and small incisions to operate on damaged joints, such as the knee and shoulder.
FROC’s original practice composed of four orthopedic surgeons has grown to 11 physicians and nine physician assistants who see patients in four locations: Longmont, Lafayette, Westminster and Frederick. It is the longtime provider of sports medicine services to the St. Vrain Valley School District.