Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Collaborates in Free Joint Replacement Surgery
Release Date: 02/02/2007

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa –Two women will be the recipients of a new pair of knees and a hip courtesy of a free joint replacement surgery offer through Alegent Health Mercy Hospital, Miller Orthopaedic Affiliates, P.C., Heartland Anesthesiology and an orthopaedic vendor. The giveaway was extended in December 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.

58-year-old Diane Chapman of Red Oak, Iowa, will be the recipient of a bi-lateral knee replacement and 53-year-old Rebekah Brown of Council Bluffs, Iowa, will be receiving a right hip replacement. Both women have jobs that require them to be on their feet for long periods of time and hope having new joints will reduce their pain and leave them more energy for activities outside of work. Both are thankful for this opportunity. “Really, how can you say thank you, it’s not enough,” said Chapman.

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 surgeries 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 also furnished by an area orthopaedic vendor.

Miller Orthopaedic Affiliates, P.C. received 78 nomination letters from family and friends including those from Brown's daughters and Chapman's co-workers, and whittled the list of candidates to five. Dr. Boese was unable to pick between the two women so he recommended both. Candidates also had to complete an Alegent Health Financial Assistance Policy and both Brown and Chapman met the requirements as neither have health insurance. Dr. Boese will perform both surgeries on the same day in early March.