By Alexander Germanis
All living things need room to grow. In fact, some animals will continue to grow as long as they are given the space to do so. Coral in the sea is such an indeterminate grower, as are most fish and lizards. As long as their environment provides the right conditions, they will increase in size.
Such growth is not limited to the animal kingdom, of course. For some time now, the surgeons of McLean County Orthopedics (MCO) have felt their practice needed more room to grow. Now, partnering with Method Sports Performance and Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center, MCO has built a new facility with an eye on investing in the future — not only on the future of the practice, but on the future of the Bloomington/Normal community as well.
The Business of Medicine
Naturally, at the core of any medical practice is a set of doctors, and MCO is certainly no exception; in order to manage the day-to-day of the practice there is an equally dedicated team of professionals: nurses, therapists, technicians, receptionists, and administrators.
One of those administrators is MCO’s chief executive officer, Donald Stumpp, CPA. A certified medical practice executive and healthcare finance expert, Don has been working behind the scenes, as it were, in the medical field for his entire 30-year career. “I have been the CFO of a small hospital in Indiana; I’ve worked for a 200-doctor medical group as well,” he shares. In that time, Don has learned: “Running a medical practice is running a business.”
Handling the business end of things is something Don believes should be left to him in order to free up the doctors to concentrate on what they do best. “I don’t need three docs trying to figure out whether to buy a computer,” he laughs. “Let me figure it out. They need to be in the operating room doing what they’re trained and skilled to do.”
Handling the business end of things also means finding ways to funnel money back into the economy of the area. “We shop the Bloomington area as much as possible,” Don explains. “We used a Farnsworth architect [for the new facility] and we support P.J. Hoerr, a local contractor. Plus, we employ 100 people in the community. We’re even paying $250,000 in sales tax just to equip the place. We’re contributing.”
Invested Beyond Business
Anyone who has started his or her own business, no matter how small, knows there is an inherent risk in doing so, and expanding the business can be equally risky.
“It’s a huge undertaking and a huge investment by the doctors personally,” Don states. “We’re not spending tax money, we’re not spending Advocate’s money; this is coming out of the doctors’ pockets. But it’s a chunk of change necessary for us to grow.”
“The new building is not built for the nine doctors we have,” Don continues, “it’s built for the 16 doctors we could have one day. We should have three more physicians joining MCO by end of next summer.”
Investing in the future of their practice is only half of what the new Center for Integrated Wellness means. It is also an investment in the community.
A hard-working, good-hearted and collegial group, the MCO doctors are also a young group, Don points out, meaning they are going to be here for a long time. “They’re committed to Bloomington,” he declares. “They have Bloomington residencies. They have Bloomington ties. Our newest physician, Luke Armstrong, is from Bloomington. Dr. Nik Chokshi’s wife is from Bloomington. Dr. Shaun Kink, a fellowship-trained foot and ankle orthopedist — who is joining us next year — his wife is from Bloomington. These doctors are not going anywhere. They’re betting on the growth of the community.”
Right Place, Right Time, Right Care
Room for the practice to grow means there is room for equipment improvement as well. Housed within the new facility will be a Hitachi Oasis 1.2 Tesla open MRI and an upgraded digital X-ray scanner. How do those improvements benefit the patient?
“We’ll have faster throughput,” explains Don. “[For instance,] the X-ray gives us better images and the doctor is not waiting for the X-ray to get done. When you’re coming in to an orthopedic practice because you want to know, ‘Did I break my ankle,’ You don’t want to wait for the X-ray.”
Improving and providing a full array of services means delivering a better value to their patients, and that is what the new facility is all about. “It’s in our vision statement to be the leading destination for orthopedic care in this area,” Don says. “We purposely chose the word ‘destination’ because we think people will come to us. You don’t need to go to Springfield, Peoria, or Chicago. You can stay here. You should want to seek us out.”
In these days of mounting health insurance rates, it is all that more important to look for a better value in healthcare. ”People need to make choices, especially because they’re being asked to foot more of the bill with these high deductible plans,” Don elucidates. “Because people have choices, we want to provide a facility with good providers and give great service.”
Part of providing good healthcare service is in the timing of it. “There is no reason for you not to see our doctor today,” Don points out. “Even if the doctors are full, we’ll get you in. You do not need the ER because you potentially have a broken ankle; you’re not sick, you’re injured. And we can get you an X-ray in a much less expensive visit than a trip to an ER.”
MCO is also planning on opening an extended-hours clinic, so when those accidents occur at some time other than normal working hours, they will still be the destination for care. “It’s about delivering the right care, at the right place, and at the right time,” Don says. “We don’t want you to have to wait.”
On the Inside
Waiting is not something anyone likes doing, especially when they are in pain. That is why waiting rooms are a thing of the past for MCO. “We have reception areas,” Don clarifies. “We want to give quality care in a timely and efficient manner. You’re not supposed to be camping out for 45 minutes. If you do, that’s a problem and I’ll want to investigate that.”
MCO also recognizes that many people are taking time out of their busy schedules and often taking time off of work in order to come in and be seen. To aid those who still need to get the job done or for those who just like to be distracted, Don promises: “We will provide free WiFi, as we do now.”
Leaving the reception area, one is taken through sun-drenched corridors. Numerous skylights allow the facility to be bathed in healthy, natural light while color-coded walls will help any patient find their way to the proper areas for care.
That care will, of course, include what is typically offered at orthopedic practices. “We have a full array of physical and occupational therapists,” Don reiterates. “You could be in for a therapy appointment and have a follow-up question for your doctor; the practice is in the same building — in the same suite — so the therapist can get the answer you need.”
Also in the same portion of the new facility is the new MRI with its own entrance. “So, if someone has to come back because they have an MRI appointment scheduled for tomorrow,” Don says, “they don’t need to go back through the front desk area, they can just come in by the MRI.”
Started in 1976 by Dr. Jerald Bratberg, McLean County Orthopedics is now entering its 40th year in operation. Now, with the opening of the Center for Integrated Wellness, the longevity of the practice is all but assured. “MCO has been here for a long time,” Don says, “and we are poised for growth to serve McLean County residents for many more years.”
McLean County Orthopedics will begin seeing patients in their new building beginning August 22. The Center for Integrated Wellness is located at 1111 Trinity Ln. in Bloomington.
You may contact them now at 663-6461 or visit them online at mcleancountyorthopedics.com.
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