Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Collaborates in Free Joint Replacement Surgery
Release Date: 12/22/2006

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa –Alegent Health Mercy Hospital is partnering with Miller Orthopaedic Affiliates, P.C., Heartland Anesthesiology and DePuy to offer a free hip/knee replacement surgery. The offer extends to anyone in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area with a medical need but lacks the financial means to pay for a major surgery.

“The purpose of this joint replacement giveaway is to find someone who’s in desperate need of a knee or a hip but doesn’t have adequate health care coverage to cover the high cost of this surgery and who might not be able to afford it otherwise,” said Bob Zagozda, administrator for Miller Orthopaedic Affiliates, P.C.

Marnie Hedrick, Marketing Director for Miller Orthopaedic Affiliates, came up with the idea from a television show and wanted to enlist the help of additional area providers as a way to give back to the community. When approached, Alegent Health jumped at the chance to be a part of this opportunity. As a non-profit, faith-based organization, Alegent Health is committed to promoting healthy communities and providing a safety net to vulnerable populations in the community. From July 2005 through June 2006 alone, Alegent Health provided $13.8 million in charity care from more than 23,000 patients. And since its launch in 2004, the Alegent Health Community Benefit Trust has provided more than $14 million in grants to 70 local, not-for-profit organizations.

“We are excited to take part in this wonderful opportunity and see this as another way to put Alegent Health’s Mission into action by providing high quality care for the body, mind and spirit of individuals in need, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Marie Knedler, vice president and chief operating officer for Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. “More importantly, our contribution will help make an extraordinary difference in the life of someone in need who, without our help, might otherwise go untreated.”

The surgery will be performed by Clifford Boese, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon with Miller Orthopaedic Affiliates, P.C. Alegent Health Mercy Hospital will provide the free hospital stay, operating time for the surgery and a week of joint replacement therapy. During the surgery, Heartland Anesthesiology will provide Anesthesiology to the patient and the knee or hip replacement device will be furnished by DePuy.

Family and friends are encouraged to nominate individuals they feel are in need of a hip or knee replacement and fulfill the charity requirement. Candidates will Nomination letters can be submitted to Miller Orthopaedic Affiliates, P.C. Information can be faxed to (712) 323-3252, e-mailed to or sent to Miller Orthopaedic, Attn: Marnie Hedrick, 1 Edmundson Place, Suite 500, Council Bluffs, IA 51503. Nominations are due by December 22. Finalists will then fill out an Alegent Health Financial Assistance Policy and must meet the requirements in order to be eligible. The winner will be announced on January 12, 2007.