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When two orthopaedic practices become one, the community benefits

The merger that formed Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute is improving patient care through subspecialties, collaboration and a new outpatient surgery center

Written by Lauren Glendenning
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Editor’s Note: This sponsored content was brought to you by Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute

Through an extensive renovation of a 27,000-square-foot building just off South Lincoln Avenue, SOSI’s new clinic and surgery center will now offer patients a one-stop shop for orthopaedic care.

Orthopaedic care in Steamboat Springs became whole in 2018, when a collaboration of world-class subspecialty surgeons found an alliance as a team that would become greater than the sum of its parts.

The merging of Steamboat Orthopaedic Associates and Orthopaedics of Steamboat Springs into Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute (SOSI) had been a long time coming before it finally happened two years ago.

“It required having everyone on the same page — we all had to want the same thing, have the same risk profiles and the same mindset,” said Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey, one of five partner physicians at SOSI. “Having two competing practices sharing patients but not sharing overhead or patient care was not an efficient way to care for people. Now, our two practices complement each other as one.”

SOSI partner Dr. Michael Sisk said in 1999, when he started practicing at Orthopaedics of Steamboat Springs, one orthopaedic practice in town had split into two due to conflicts between partners. Now, the merger more than 20 years later has led to the opposite: synergy within one practice that ultimately benefits the greater community.

“We all get along and we’re all pulling the wagon together,” Dr. Sisk said. “That feels good and helps us provide a better product, better service to the community.”

Timeline of orthopaedic care in Steamboat Springs

1980s

Dr. Ron Lewis is the first orthopaedic surgeon to come to the Yampa Valley and start a practice. 

Dr. Scott Bowen, Dr. Eric Stahl and Dr. Bill Ferris arrive later.

Dr. Eric Verploeg joins Dr. Lewis and Dr. Walt Lowe in 1989. 

1990s

In 1993, Dr. Bryan Bomberg is hired by that group. There are some other surgeons that arrive then move on, including Dr. Peter Van Patten, Dr. Gary Snook, Dr. Lori Harrington and Dr. Greg Sarin. 

In 1999, Dr. Michael Sisk arrives in Steamboat and joins Dr. Veroloeg.

2000s

In 2000, Dr. Lewis retires and Dr. Verploeg forms Orthopaedics of Steamboat Springs (OSS). Dr. Sauerbrey arrived in 2001 and joined OSS. Dr Devin joined OSS in 2016. Dr. Bomberg led SOA after the departure of Dr. Verploeg and Dr. Meininger joined his group in 2010. Dr Johnston was hired by SOA in 2014 OSS and Steamboat Orthopaedic Associates (SOA) remained separate groups between 1999 until 2018. 

2018

SOA and OSS merge to form Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute (SOSI). The five partner physicians are Dr. Michael Sisk, Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey, Dr. Alexander Meininger, Dr. Patrick Johnston and Dr. Clint Devin. Other physicians with the practice are Dr. Alexis Tracy, Dr. Alejandro Miranda, Dr. Adam Wilson, Dr. Bryan Bomberg, Dr. Kaare Kolstad, and Dr. Darin Allred. 

2020 

Expansion efforts include the addition of Dr. Bobby Howarth, a fellowship-trained total joint replacement surgeon, with more physicians and orthopaedic subspecialties expected to be added in the future

Expertise across nearly every orthopaedic specialty

With fellowship-trained and highly experienced surgeons from both practices, nearly every area of orthopaedic care and surgery is now offered at SOSI. 

Steamboat Orthopaedic Associates was doing a lot of total joints, sports medicine, hands and wrists, while Orthopaedics of Steamboat Springs had more of a focus on the spine, shoulder, foot and ankle, and on sports medicine, said Dr. Bomberg, a SOSI contracted physician.

“It made sense to put together a more subspecialty-oriented practice,” he said. “It allows us to consult and share patients more efficiently to really provide the best care.”

Some overlap exists among specialties, but this is also to the patients’ benefit. Dr. Alexander Meininger, a SOSI partner and sports-medicine specialist with a focus on knee injuries, said that for injuries or treatments in which a surgeon might be less proficient, SOSI colleagues can step in. It also offers patients the chance to find the doctor personality or specific experience that’s best for them.

“We practice what we love — each specialty represents that surgeon’s passion. Our goal is to provide subspecialty-based care across the spectrum,” Dr. Meininger said. “We respect one another, and that enhances the workflow and patient experience.”

This teamwork is especially beneficial when patients present unique or challenging cases.

“The treating surgeon is able to discuss the patient with colleagues and formulate a treatment plan based on that discussion,” said Dr. Patrick Johnston, a SOSI partner who specializes in hand and elbow surgery.

Regardless of their respective specialty, SOSI surgeons all have extensive experience in orthopaedic trauma. Such experience is attributed to working in a ski and biking resort community, as well as training at large trauma centers. 

Dr. Sisk has spent his entire career — more than 20 years — practicing in Steamboat Springs, which means he’s seen just about every sports injury there is. 

“Trauma and fracture work is never the same. I’ve always enjoyed caring for trauma injuries — especially in winter, you just never know what’s going to come through the door,” Dr. Sisk said.

“The only two subspecialties not represented at SOSI are congenital pediatric orthopaedic surgery and orthopaedic oncology. Also, there are some rare procedures not offered by SOSI because they can be done only at tertiary-care hospitals,” Dr. Johnston said. 

Meet the SOSI team

SOSI offers care with fellowship-trained physicians in the areas of sports-medicine orthopaedic surgery, shoulder and elbow surgery, foot and ankle surgery, spine surgery, hand and elbow surgery, total joint replacement, and shoulder arthroplasty. SOSI also has a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, or physiatrist, who specializes in evaluation of spinal and musculoskeletal disorders; non-operative spine care, including epidural injections; and EMG and global orthopaedic assessments. Here are the physicians:  

  • Michael S. Sisk, M.D., Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon. Sports Medicine Certification
  • Andreas M. Sauerbrey, M.D., Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine Certification; Fellowship Trained in Shoulder,  Elbow  and Hand Orthopaedic Surgery.
  • Alexander K. Meininger, M.D., Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine Certification ; Fellowship Trained in Sports Orthopaedic Surgery.
  • Bryan C. Bomberg, M.D., Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon; Fellowship Trained in Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery.
  • Patrick B. Johnston, D.O., Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon; Fellowship Trained in Hand and Elbow Orthopaedic Surgery.
  • Clint Devin, M.D., Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon; Fellowship Trained in Spine Surgery; Adjunct Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery Vanderbilt Spine Center.
  • Adam S. Wilson, M.D., Board Eligible Orthopaedic Surgeon; Dual Fellowship Trained in Shoulder and Sports Orthopaedic Surgery.
  • Alejandro D. Miranda, M.D., Board Eligible Orthopaedic Surgeon; Dual Fellowship Trained in Sports and Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic Surgery.
  • Alexis Tracy, D.O., Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

For more information about SOSI and the new Steamboat Surgery Center, visit steamboatortho.com or call 970-879-6663. 

Large geographical coverage

Physicians at SOSI have a long history of providing outreach throughout northwest Colorado, Wyoming and western Nebraska. Dr. Michael Sisk and Dr. Bomberg have been treating orthopaedic patients in Craig and Granby for more than 30 years.

“Our goal is to provide one destination for all of your musculoskeletal needs for patients in Grand, Routt and Moffat counties, all the way to the Utah border and beyond,” said Dr. Meininger.

Today, SOSI physicians see patients in Craig, Granby and Winter Park, as well as in Wyoming with locations in Rock Springs, Lander, Cody and Rawlins.

SOSI is also proud to offer enhanced access to orthopaedic and subspecialty care in Moffat County through partnership with Memorial Regional Health. Dr. Johnston said some physicians also do outreach work in Nebraska communities that would otherwise be without orthopaedic care.

“With all of that travel, it is helpful that three of our surgeons are also pilots,” Dr. Johnston said. “Dr. Michael Sisk has actually been a pilot since he was a high school student.” 

New clinic, MRI and ambulatory surgery center in partnership with UCHealth

The new practice soon outgrew its original space. SOSI’s needs for a larger clinic directed it to the Wildhorse Marketplace, where it found 27,000 square feet available at the former Sports Authority building. The new space will allow SOSI a state-of-the-art facility on par with any in Colorado or the region.

“Vertical integration, or the ability to offer all of its services in one location — office visits, imaging, MRI and surgeries — will revolutionize orthopaedic and spine care in northwest Colorado,” said Dr. Sauerbrey.

The first floor of the building houses our ambulatory surgery center (ASC), named Steamboat Surgery Center, which was built in partnership with UCHealth. The center will provide a lower cost of care and higher-quality patient experience. “This facility would not have been possible without the merger that formed SOSI,” Dr. Meininger said.

“We’re now able to use economics of scale as a large group to offer more services, expand our practice and launch new ventures,” he said.

Other hospital corporations had approached SOSI to partner on an ASC, but Dr. Johnston said the SOSI team felt it was important to partner with the local hospital.

“ASCs can lower the cost of care and keep healthy outpatient surgeries in a facility where they aren’t exposed to sick people — something that has really been brought to light with the recent pandemic,” Dr. Johnston said.

The board for Steamboat Surgery Center consists of three administrators from UCHealth and three surgeons from SOSI. 

Patients benefit

In addition to the collaboration among physicians in patient care and the sheer number of subspecialty fields offered, SOSI also hopes to provide more convenience and cost savings at Steamboat Surgery Center.

“In a hospital setting, carpal tunnel patients are treated the same as a spine or knee patient,” Dr. Sauerbrey said. “This leads to expenses that aren’t always necessary.”

“We’re trying to separate that out so you’re only paying for the service you actually need,” he said. “Patients don’t need a hospital setting for many orthopaedic procedures. A surgery center allows us to offer reduced rates and great outcomes.”


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