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Workers’ compensation insurers and employers have looked for ways to cut the $3 billion a year cost incurred from hernias, a tear in the abdominal muscles that each year sends 700,000 people, mostly men, to surgery. The system works best when the employees are able to have their injuries treated in the most effective and expeditious way possible. Anything that speeds up the healing process, gets the patient back to work sooner, and reduces the risk of recurrence is good for everybody! The HERNIA INSTITUTE is dedicated to these principles.

“Our service is geared to help the insurance adjustors and case managers have their injured workers seen and cared for in a timely fashion – often on the same day as appointments are requested.” says Dr. Michael Graham. “Our concierge service is available to assist out of town patients with travel arrangements (including taxi or limo service if necessary), hotel accommodations, and activities while here in Miami. Our surgeons specialize in hernia surgery and have a combined experience of over 35,000 cases. Our patients are assured high quality care in the diagnosis and treatment of their problem, including in-office ultrasound to help in the diagnosis or exclusion of hernias in difficult cases.” The institute’s electronic reporting system allows adjustors and case managers to make decisions in a timely fashion. (see Advances in Technology-p.4, or click on ‘Patient Reports’) The program is designed to allow prompt scheduling of surgery in order to get the patients back to work sooner.

Over ninety-five percent of our procedures are done as out-patients, with local anesthesia and sedation – we have the patient cough during the procedure to help identify and assure a strong repair. Traditional surgeries have a 10 to 15 percent failure rate and keep patients out of work for as long as two months. With the Prolene Hernia System mesh developed by Dr. Gilbert at HIF, our rate of recurrence is less than one-half of one percent, and most patients are back on the job in 10-14 days. By the third to fourth week they are able to resume normal work activities, without permanent impairment. The repaired hernia is stronger than before.

“The service can save employers thousands of dollars”, said Bill Tuttle, a workers’ compensation supervisor for Crawford & Co., a third-party insurance administrator in Fort Lauderdale that sends many of its hernia patients to the Hernia Institute. “Our doctors and staff understand the needs of the adjustors and case managers and we are very responsive to them”, says Dr. Young. “Our global package programs simplify the administration of the claims – from the first consultation, to reporting, to the surgical procedure, and follow up examinations and work status reports. For this reason, several large Florida companies, numerous municipalities, and national corporations send most of their workers’ compensation hernia patients to the Hernia Institute.

Our experience at the Hernia Institute was very satisfying. The staff and Dr. Gilbert were very courteous and helpful. At first we were unhappy that our company was sending us to Miami for surgery, but after we met the staff and doctor we understood why! J.W., Lakeland, FL

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