New York, NY—April 8, 2014
After orthopedic surgery or an injury, rehabilitation is often a critical factor on the road to recovery, and where to go to receive quality care is an important decision. The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Rehabilitation Network, marking its 20th anniversary this year, has become a valuable resource for individuals looking for a facility in their community that meets the highest standards of care.
“We are the first and oldest hospital-based rehabilitation network in the United States,” said JeMe Cioppa-Mosca, vice president of Rehabilitation at Hospital for Special Surgery. “Many patients travel to HSS for care. The goal of the Rehab Network is to provide people with a resource with which they can easily and confidently find a therapy provider in a convenient location, which is generally close to where they live or work.”
Rehabilitation at Hospital for Special Surgery enjoys a stellar reputation, offering the most advanced treatments and closely collaborating with hospital physicians to achieve excellent outcomes. But it is difficult for many patients who do not live in the area to attend therapy at the hospital facility several days a week, and the Rehab Network has proven to be a valuable resource for these individuals, according to Robin Benick, the Network’s clinical supervisor.
The Network has grown from 36 members when it started to 144 member sites today in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida. More than 700 therapists in the Network serve thousands of patients each month. Information about Rehab Network practices is accessible on the HSS website, so it is available to everyone, even those who are not patients at HSS.
"Our goal was to form a partnership with community-based, privately owned PT practices, and it’s a wonderful collaboration,” Benick explains. “The program benefits our patients; our doctors, who want the best for their patients; and the practices that are part of the Network.”
Applicants must prove their credentials and fulfill certain criteria in order to join the Network. Membership criteria were designed with the patient in mind to ensure both quality and continuity of care, according to Benick. Such factors as scope of service and clinical experience are carefully considered. There is a site visit, as well as a review of policy and procedures and which insurance plans are accepted. Geographic location is also taken into account. The practice must be independent, accept Medicare and be open for more than 12 months. It cannot be owned by a physician or medical practice.
Once a therapy practice is accepted into the Network, it is reevaluated to ensure that members maintain a consistent level of quality. Practices are revisited every 12-18 months by an HSS site surveyor.
In 2013, more than 100 applications were requested by therapy practices in the tri-state area and Florida. After reviewing the requirements, about one-quarter of the practices sent it back and six new members were added last year.
Members of the Network enjoy a number of benefits. “We place a high value on connecting high-quality clinicians with each other. They have the opportunity to network and collaborate with one another at Network-exclusive events, as well as at other HSS programs,” said Cioppa-Mosca.
Educational opportunities for members abound. HSS offers ongoing continuing education courses that members can take at a discount. They have access to weekly HSS Sports Medicine conferences, clinical discussion forums and an HSS Rehab Network e-newsletter. The HSS Rehabilitation Department has its own Grand Rounds each quarter -- the only CME-accredited Grand Rounds at HSS that is not physician-based -- and Network practices can attend in person or live-stream it.
“The combined expertise of the medical and rehabilitation professionals at HSS and of our Network members, along with our emphasis on professional education and advanced research efforts, place our Network at the highest level of excellence in rehabilitation,” said Cioppa-Mosca.
The department has also published a textbook, Postsurgical Rehabilitation Guidelines for the Orthopedic Clinician, designed to help therapists provide rehabilitation based on best practices and evidence-based research. Members of the Network can purchase the textbook at a discount.
Member practices have the option of displaying a plaque indicating they are part of the HSS Rehab Network. John Dugan, PT, owner of Farmingdale Physical Therapy East on Long Island, has been a member from the beginning. He characterizes HSS continuing education programs as “top-of-the-line.” He says it is gratifying to be a member of the Network on both a personal and professional level.
"Knowing that you meet the HSS Network’s high standards, to be associated with that caliber of care, is of great personal value,” he said. “From the standpoint of the patient, it’s like receiving the ‘Good Housekeeping’ seal of approval.”