Carilion creating neuro-musculoskeletal center

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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A former grocery store in Roanoke will be offering something new — medical services.

Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic is converting the 65,000-square-foot former Ukrop’s store at Franklin Road and Wonju Street to a neuro-musculoskeletal center. The nonprofit health-care organization, which serves western Virginia and southern West Virginia, expects to open the center in December 2015, paying $7 million for the building and about five acres of land.

The center will specialize in neurosciences (neurology, stroke and neurosurgery), orthopedics, spine surgery, physical medicine, rehabilitation therapies, diagnostics and pain management. Carilion says that, as the region’s population ages, demand for these services is expected to grow.

Dr. Joseph T. Moskal, Carilion’s chief of orthopedic surgery, is leading development of orthopedic services at the center. He says the facility will allow the clinic to treat patients in one location for a number of problems. “Although physicians prefer to specialize in one area, the human body does better when treated as a whole,” Moskal says.

Many health-care organizations aspire to have a center like the one Carilion is planning, but it’s not the easiest thing to pull off, says Dr. Gary Simmonds, Carilion’s chief of neurosurgery, who is leading the neuroscience development of the center.  “There are a lot of places that are able to do it kind of in a virtual sense, but to really pull it off physically is our goal, and that makes it pretty unique.”

In opening a “one-stop shop” for many services, Carilion hopes, for example, to create a clinic for patients with spina bifida, a defect that occurs when the bones of the spine don’t form properly around part of the spinal cord. Throughout their lives, spina bifida patients require treatment from many different specialists, Simmonds says, but a clinic would allow them to be treated at one site.

“I think it’s a great thing anytime you can take a big step forward in patient care and, that’s what it’s all about, and that’s what we’re trying to do … really raise the bar in the quality of the care but also [provide] ease of access for people,” Simmonds says.

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