June 29, 2011 — Wouldn’t it be convenient if someone created a listing of spine centers of excellence across the United States that all emphasize non-surgical treatment options before surgery?
Where the staff included board-certified spine specialists who are fellowship-trained in spine — the highest level of training available in the United States? Where each center reveals their outcomes on a Clinical Outcome Report? Finally, there is a free online educational resource: SpineCenterNetwork.com.
“The online network is a byproduct of one-on-one meetings with health insurance company medical directors, employers and primary care doctors who were looking for spine programs that emphasized conservative care first,” explains Bob Reznik, MBA, president of Prizm Development Inc. “Dartmouth Medical Atlas has documented tremendous treatment variation in spine care,” says Reznik. “Some spine practices emphasize aggressive spine surgery too often. Other clinics can emphasize too many injections. Sadly, too many times the back pain sufferer has to travel to multiple offices for biased opinions, misleading information, fragmented care, conflicting diagnoses and treatment plans — and often an unnecessary surgery. That is the perceived problem with spine care today.”
The Spine Center Network was developed to be useful to:
Health insurance plans and employers who want to identify spine centers who conceptually believe in a non-surgically oriented approach to spine care, with the use of Physical Medicine MDs and spine therapists, all under one roof.
Back and neck pain sufferers who are searching the Internet for places to go for relief of symptoms, and are trying to educate themselves as to whom to pursue for proper treatment.
The common thread weaves all these separate spine centers together is that all are based on a common spine center model that is based on a three-legged stool concept, here a multidisciplinary team of Physical Medicine physicians, spine surgeons (ortho & neuro) and spine therapists act as the foundation for care. In most cases, these MDs are fellowship-trained, the highest level of medical training available in the U.S.
The second foundation of this spine center model, is the philosophy where — absent emergency symptoms like loss of bowel/bladder control and weakness in a foot or hand — non-surgical options need to be explored and exhausted first before spine surgery.
The third common aspect among these spine centers is that they use spine-trained physical therapists who have advanced training and experience in the niche of spine care.
The fourth common aspect is the philosophical commitment by all these spine centers to educate the health care consumer. As a free community service, all these centers mail out — at their own cost — a 36-page Home Remedy Book to thousands of back pain sufferers annually. Each spine center also has an on-line spine encyclopedia with exercises, symptom charts and medical illustrations on spine.
The fifth requirement is the willingness to use Prizm’s outcome system to publish an annual Clinical Outcome Report Card.
Back or neck pain sufferers who are seeking a physician can request a second opinion from 16 spine centers located across the United States in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. The network will expand to include other regional centers as they meet inclusion criteria.