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Rick Smith, COO, Health Central

in the approach of how spine surgery is done,” he says. Timothy Keenen, M.D., from Tualatin, Oregon, agrees. “It’s a new world. I’ve reset my expectations about how big an incision has to be, how long a surgery is going to take and what kind of results I’m going to see.” While the technology and technique are critical components, it’s performance that drives Masson. His highly trained and disciplined Heath Central surgical team has been called surgery’s equivalent of motor sport’s top pit crew “It truly is something to observe when you go up into our OR theater,” says Smith. “The pride within the team is palpable. We have people clamoring to get a spot on that team. That adds to our sense of pride because we know what we’re doing is making a difference — and others want to be a part of that.” Says Masson: “In the end, it’s no about a widget or a procedure. It’s about performance. It’s about focus and flow. It’s about communication and execution. Ultimately, it’s about propelling our own work in healthcare to a level that we didn’t think was possible.” The Health Central/NSI team’s 360-degree approach to patient care is also unique, including not only the surgical service but also one of the world’s most specialized prehabilitation, rapid recovery and rehabilitation protocols. GROWINGBOLDERMAGAZINE.COM

Frank Van Kouwen, physical therapist

“We have what we call our Patient Athlete Program,” says Health Central physical therapist Frank Van Kouwen. “The patients are seen as athletes and encouraged to think of themselves as athletes preparing for an event or recovering from an injury.” “Prehabilitation” means that physical therapists work with patients to get them in the best possible shape before surgery, Van Kouwen notes. “Many patients come to us with a deconditioning syndrome, a downward spiral in which pain leads to weakness and less control, which leads to even more pain and more weakness,” he adds. “Some patients can barely get out of bed, so getting them ready for surgery can take four to six weeks.” Under the guidance of Masson, Van Kouwen and his Health Central team work to strengthen the core, increase core stability, improve joint mobility, resolve alignment issues and correct muscular deficiencies. This specialized prehabilitation program leads to more rapid recovery, makes rehabilitation more effective, and ultimately has a major impact on returning the patient to pain-free mobility. “Masson’s mantra is ‘Show Up Strong,’” says Van Kouwen. “He’s unique in encouraging this kind of prehabilitation. It’s the first time in my 24 years in physical therapy that I’ve been able to work with a surgeon who’s that far ahead of everyone else.”

Patients are shown how to isolate their injuries while becoming as active as possible before surgery, Van Kouwen adds. “That way, they’re motivated to get out of bed and become active post-surgery; sometimes even on the day of the surgery itself. In that way, Masson is unique in the neurosurgical field.” The Health Central/NSI team also includes top exercise physiologists and nutritionists. “We pride ourselves on hiring the best and the brightest in the industry,” says Smith. “When you’re dedicated to the highest quality of care, one point of failure is one point too many.” “Our outpatient nutritional counseling program works in the prehab stage to make certain every patient’s nutrition is optimized,” says Health Central nutritionist Megan Walsh. “It’s important that they’re getting the proper amount of protein and calories, and in some cases we’ll recommend specific supplements to offset deficiencies. We’ll also begin a weight management program when necessary, because positive lifestyle change is a critical part of the overall process. There’s no such thing as a quick fix.” Health Central’s aggressive, multidisciplinary prehabilitation program can even eliminate the need for surgery. “We turn away more surgeries than we actually perform,” says Smith. “We believe in a surgery-as-a-last-resort approach. Our prehab program can, many times, correct problems without surgery. And if surgery is required, the outcome will be much better.” Why has Health Central become a global medical destination? How many healthcare providers say this: “Patients have a right to not only expect but to demand high performance — not only from their surgical teams but from every touch point in their healthcare,” says Masson. “Yes, we believe that we offer the most technically advanced, minimally invasive spine surgery available. But that’s only part of the process required to achieve the best outcome possible. We’re totally focused on a 360-degree service that includes motivating, educating and ultimately coaching our patients to return to the highest levels of performance in work, play and sports.”  Editors note: See Masson’s column in this issue for more information on his own procedure and why mobile neck has become the new standard. G R O W I N G B O L D E R 23

Profile for Winter Park Publishing Company

Growing Bolder September October 15  

Growing Bolder September October 15