The best gets better

November 30, 2018

New HSS, OrthoAspen partnership ensures access to the most advanced orthopedic care

When does 1 + 1 = 1? When the nation’s top-rated musculoskeletal hospital partners with one of the nation’s top-rated orthopedic specialist groups to make both organizations even stronger.

That occurred on August 13, when the Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) Board of Directors approved a co-management relationship between AVH and its OrthoAspen orthopedic practice with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the New York-based orthopedic hospital that U.S. News & World Report has ranked No. 1 in orthopedic care for nine consecutive years.

As one of the world’s premiere communities for year-round sports activities, Aspen has long been a place where state-of-the-art orthopedic care was particularly important. For that reason, geography was also one of the factors that led to AVH/OrthoAspen becoming HSS’ first stand-alone partner. As HSS expands nationally and globally, partnering with OrthoAspen ensures that Aspen residents and visitors will have access to the most advanced orthopedic care.

A convergence of cultures
The seeds for the agreement were planted nearly two decades ago, when several key individuals became acquainted through their association with Aspen. One was Todd J. Albert, MD, now Surgeon-In-Chief at HSS, who over the course of frequent visits to Aspen formed a lasting relationship with Tomas Pevny, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at OrthoAspen. In addition, a few members of the HSS Board of Directors had second homes in Aspen.

All of those natural ties informed the formal discussions that began about a year ago when Louis A. Shapiro, President and CEO of HSS, reached out to AVH about HSS and AVH/OrthoAspen establishing a relationship.

“The timing was right — we were looking for someone who had experience in improving practice efficiencies,” Dr. Pevny said [pictured at left]. “Moving forward, we are interested in having a teaching and research role. Plus, if OrthoAspen gets to the point of needing to hire a subspecialist in orthopedics, HSS could help us identify an ideal candidate. In every way, this association is good for us and the Aspen community.”

Waqqar Khan-Farooqi, MD, Medical Director of OrthoAspen, agreed [pictured at right]. “As the organizations began exploring partnership possibilities, the agreement felt more and more natural and organic,” he said. “Both are nonprofit hospitals with long histories of community service and a commitment to providing the best possible care for their patients.” 

“Our physicians and AVH’s physicians know each other and have mutual respect, and we started to have a natural dialogue,” Shapiro added [pictured below]. “This is a relationship where two organizations can come together to take something already outstanding to the highest level.” 

A bridge to a healthier future
The partnership will create a “medical bridge” between HSS and AVH with specific goals of improving orthopedic care, research, training and innovation. Transforming those goals into reality will involve clinical knowledge transfer, medical staff development, practice quality enhancement, professional education and academic programming.

Consider this: In 2017, HSS staff treated more than 135,000 patients and performed more than 31,000 surgical procedures. With such vast and ever-growing experience, HSS is uniquely positioned to make recommendations to AVH in areas such as clinical policies and procedures that can improve cost efficiency, quality, outcomes and overall patient experience.

“OrthoAspen has exceptionally well-trained physicians. What they don’t have is access to the massive knowledge that exists at HSS because of our history and volumes,” Shapiro said. “Everything about clinical practice is knowledge you get from seeing the same things over and over again. AVH will have access to all that information; it will seep into the organization and help extraordinary doctors become even more extraordinary.”

Many areas of cooperation
With the agreement in place, HSS will send a team to assess AVH/OrthoAspen from an operational standpoint and determine how to begin sharing people, knowledge, data and more.

While HSS physicians probably won’t provide direct care in Aspen, they will be available for consultations. Also, AVH/ OrthoAspen may host HSS residents and fellows, and AVH/OrthoAspen staff may spend time at HSS facilities observing procedures, performing research and accessing educational programs.

“This is an exciting time for all of us at OrthoAspen,” Dr. Khan-Farooqi said. “We’re eager to tap into HSS’ innovative, high-quality, research-oriented culture and implement best practices in caring for orthopedic patients.”

Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations:

Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Road, Suite 2100
Aspen, CO 81611

Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Road, Suite 201
Basalt, CO 81621

To book an appointment in Aspen or Basalt, please call 970.544.1289 or visit
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