A new M Health Fairview clinic, opening this week, is reducing barriers to healthcare by making it easier and faster for people who have experienced limb loss to get fitted with a new prosthetic.
Designed in collaboration with the patients it will serve, the M Health Fairview Amputee Clinic unites a handful of multi-disciplinary experts under a single roof. Rather than visiting a prosthetist, a physical therapist, and other specialty physicians over weeks or months of separate appointments – often at different locations – a patient will be able to see them all at once.
The clinic is located at M Health Fairview Clinics and Specialty Center - Maplewood. Patients can make appointments by calling 612-676-5698. The clinic’s care team is led by Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Wayne Hsiao, MD, who specializes in care for amputees and others who have lost physical function due to injuries or health conditions. Hsiao will work alongside a physical therapist and a prosthetist to:
“Everything we do in this clinic will be centered around each patient and what that person wants to do, including the activities they would like to pursue and the goals that they want to achieve,” said Gary Kroll, the M Health Fairview director of prosthetics & orthotics.
To help achieve that vision, Kroll turned to Andi Courneya, an amputee and prothesis recipient.
In May 2005, Courneya was injured when a truck struck the motorcycle he was riding. His left leg took the brunt of the impact. Though a medical team saved the leg, Courneya lost almost all foot function. A year later, he decided to undergo an amputation and be fitted with a prosthetic so that he could keep up with his toddler Jocelyn, who was just starting to walk.
“To be able to sustain my previous lifestyle and do the same things with my kids is a big deal,” said Courneya, who was 23 years old at the time of the accident. Read Andi’s full story here.
At the time, Courneya was living in Coon Rapids. Due to the medications he was taking following his amputation surgery, he relied on family members to shuttle him back and forth for prosthetic care.
“It was definitely a lot of appointments. Different people were doing all different parts of this,” Courneya recalled.
In the years since his own procedure, Courneya has decided to become an advocate for others with similar medical needs. When Gary Kroll contacted him for help designing the new clinic, Courneya agreed to meet for a brainstorming session.
“There have always been many intermediary steps to getting a prothesis,” Kroll said. “Now, all of that can happen in a single appointment. The convenience is one benefit, but the delivery of a final prosthesis to the patient in a really short time is the ultimate goal of this clinic.”
That message resonated with Courneya.
“It’ll absolutely have the desired effect. If you can knock three or more appointments down to one meetup, you’re saving hours of time,” said Courneya, noting that access to support groups, transportation, and insurance information is equally critical for amputees. Education about prosthesis maintenance and part replacement is also important. Fortunately, all of this will be available through the clinic.
Finding the right prosthesis was life-changing for Courneya, who 14 years after his amputation can run around the backyard kicking a soccer ball with his kids without a second thought.
“I couldn’t have imagined ultimately winding up where I’m at in terms of functionality with the foot that I left behind,” he said.