NEW BRITAIN - In an effort to provide all medical services under one roof, The Hospital of Central Connecticut now offers specialized care for adults struggling with acute back and neck pain issues in its new spine center.
Construction on the spine center started in October 2018. The unit opened on March 7 and features five examination rooms, including one that will have a photoscopic suite for procedures, if needed.
The spine center is on the first floor of the hospital’s main campus and it is part of a multi-disciplinary program treating a variety of conditions.
“This new spine center brings comprehensive, convenient care close to home,” Gary Havican, president of The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center, said. “Now, patients can see a physician, receive imaging, and go to physical therapy all under one roof. This center is changing how patients experience their care.”
The center serves patients with acute and acute non-chronic back pain. Treatment options include physical therapy and injections, depending on the condition of the patient.
“Ninety-nine percent of the patients will be getting therapy,” Subramani Seetharama, the medical director, said. “We’ll hopefully be able to manage your pain and your function and then we are going to educate you on the exercise program that you can do which will keep you fit. We are going to train you for all your recreational activities.”
One of the main focuses of the center is accessibility.
Patients with a condition such as an acute disc herniation, who are having neurological changes and are experiencing severe pain and need surgery, can go through the process in a short time.
“You can get a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) within 24 to 48 hours,” Seetharama said. “We have five spine surgeons who are dedicated to the center. They are going to be on a rotation basis and we will get you an appointment with them within 24 hours. They’ll be seen within a week. This is about access, access and access. Doctor Finkelstein, our vice president of medical affairs, would say that’s the secret sauce here. It’s about access. You can come in, walk into the door and get an appointment. You can get same-day access, we guarantee that you can get appointments within 24 hours.”
According to Seetharama, patients in need of X-rays, MRI’s or those who need to see a radiologist can have an appointment within 24 to 48 hours.
“That’s a guarantee,” Seetharama said. “That is exceptional. I’ve done this for 21 years and there’s no place in Connecticut that you can get access to that quickly. Why should you wait 20 months to get everything taken care of? We have everything under this roof. It’s a one-stop shop.”
The new center will be seeing adults only. They can be treated for neck, lower back and middle back issues. Anything related to the spine, Seetharama said.
Other conditions include injuries, acute pain, spinal stenosis, degenerative discs, pinched nerves, bulging discs, herniated discs, sciatica and muscle spasms.
The center’s multidisciplinary model incorporates clinicians from psychiatry, behavioral health, pain management, neuro and orthopedic surgery, emergency medicine, radiology and more.
“There are a lot of people who have chronic back pain and then they get an exacerbation,” Seetharama said. “They have a lot of hormonal changes, they have issues psychologically that need to be managed. Here when you come in, if you are categorized as a high-risk patient, you will get an appointment with behavioral health within 24 hours and will see behavioral health within a week. You will get psychotherapy while you are getting physical therapy, which is going to help you recover faster.”
The spine center will take patients from all insurance companies and it will be open during business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
To learn more about the spine center at HOCC, visit thocc.org/services/spine-center or call 860-224-5535.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.