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Lakewood Experiencing Unprecedented Growth in Orthopedics with TCO Partnership

In its first full year of partnership with Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO), Lakewood Health System experienced a nearly 30% increase in the number of orthopedic patients seen over the previous year.

Lakewood originally partnered with TCO, sports medicine partner of the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, and St. Paul Saints, back in September of 2021, and since that time has seen a steep increase in the number of patients served. Over the course of 2022, Lakewood cared for an additional 95 orthopedic patients over its previous highs, performed 133 total joint replacements (45 more than previous highs) and was able to keep and treat nearly three times the number of patient fractures over the previous year.

“Orthopedic care and overall coverage was an area we knew we needed to improve on at Lakewood,” said Lisa Bjerga, Lakewood President & CEO. “We just didn’t feel we were effectively meeting the scope of our patients’ needs. The partnership with TCO has not only made us measurably better, it has surpassed even our expectations. Partnering with a world-class organization like TCO has given us the opportunity to provide our patients with a level of care unlike any in the region.”

Before partnering with TCO, Lakewood worked with a local independent ortho group which was later bought by a larger system. The result was declining coverage and an overall concern of someday losing the service line altogether.

Today, Lakewood offers full-time orthopedic coverage with four board-certified TCO surgeons, an on-staff orthopedics physician’s assistant, and a team of trained orthopedic nurses, physical therapists and support staff. Increased coverage and expanded service and care offerings have been the primary driver of growth as patients are now able to receive consistent care quickly without the need to send them elsewhere.

“Previously, for procedures like fracture care, we were forced to send patients to other facilities simply because we did not have the coverage to handle them here,” said Bjerga. “Now with TCO, patients are able to receive the care and treatment they need right here at Lakewood. It’s a total win for our patients and that has always been our goal.”

Twin Cities Orthopedics has also announced its plans to open TCO Staples – Therapy, a one-stop-shop for physical therapy and sports performance services in fall 2023. A cornerstone of the new Staples Plaza construction, this 7,000 square foot facility will offer top-of-the-line equipment and technology, allowing them to provide the best possible care for patients while evaluating their outcomes.

“This new facility is more than just a physical space, it represents a commitment to the community and our partners at Lakewood,” said Dr. Paul Diekmann, TCO orthopedic surgeon. “It’s been my privilege to serve patients in the Staples and Brainerd areas for over a year, and in that time, I’ve seen firsthand the need for TCO’s expanded services. Whether a patient is recovering from an injury, looking to improve athletic performance, or simply wanting to get back to their daily routine, TCO Staples – Therapy will have everything they need to reach their goals. We’re incredibly excited, and I know the community is, too.”

Patient do not need a referral to schedule an appointment with a TCO orthopedic specialist at Lakewood and can do so by calling 218-894-1515. With comprehensive care providing everything from diagnosis, to treatment and rehabilitation, Lakewood looks to continue this growth in the months and years ahead.