Community partnership provides life changing orthopedic care to uninsured local patients

December 2, 2014 Swedish News

Operation Walk brought to Seattle for second year by Swedish Orthopedic Institute, Project Access Northwest, Orthopedic Physician Associates, Physicians Anesthesia Service

SEATTLE – Dec. 2, 2014 – For the second straight year, local patients in need of orthopedic surgical care will receive donated medical services through a partnership between Swedish Orthopedic Institute, Project Access Northwest, Orthopedic Physician Associates and Physicians Anesthesia Service. The partnership is part of the national Operation Walk USA program and will provide local, uninsured patients with donated medical, surgical and rehabilitation care during the week of Dec. 1-5.

Painful joints, whether caused by chronic conditions such as arthritis, an injury, or a lifetime of wear and tear, can be a significant barrier to living a healthy and productive life. For many uninsured or underinsured patients, these conditions mean a lifetime of pain, frustration and dependency.

Carlos Ortiz was an avid walker until he suffered a double-knee injury in 2003. A fall off a ladder left the construction worker unable to walk without severe pain and swelling in both joints. Unable to work, he eventually lost his job and health coverage. Last year, local Operation Walk partners provided him with a successful left-knee replacement and he is looking forward to further increasing his mobility with a right-knee replacement this year.

“I know I have the best doctors and I will recover quickly. Last year I was walking within a month of surgery,” he said. “I want to work full-time in a regular job. This surgery will help me do that.”

Ortiz is one of four local Operation walk patients. In just its fourth year, the nationwide program will provide 120 surgeries in 36 hospitals in 23 states thanks to the services of 85 physicians.

“We are excited to again participate in Operation Walk as a way to help those in our community who would benefit from our partnership,” said James P. Crutcher, M.D., medical director of the Swedish Orthopedic Institute. “It is great to see these patients regain their mobility and improve their quality of life.”

Project Access Northwest, helps connect uninsured/underinsured patients with donated specialty care from providers in King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties.

“This community-wide effort includes multiple organizations,” said Sallie Neillie, Project Access Northwest executive director. “We are grateful for the time and expertise the surgeons, anesthesiologists and other staff members provide for these patients, the donations of replacement joints from the manufacturers and the work of our safety net clinics and Project Access Northwest staff in identifying the patients who will benefit from this life-changing surgery.”

A network of dedicated physicians and caregivers make Operation Walk possible by donating their services.

“We are pleased to be a partner again this year in Operation Walk,” said Sunny Malik, president of Physicians Anesthesia Service. “We whole-heartedly support this community effort to improve people’s lives through access to the specialty care they need.”

“It is a pleasure for our providers to help patients in our community who stand to benefit so much from the care we provide,” said Kara Dowdall, MSHA, CMPE, executive director of Orthopedic Physician Associates. We are truly honored to again be a part of such an incredible partnership and program.”


Patient interviews and photos are available to media upon request

See attached list of Operation Walk USA community partners

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