Prior to working in a surgical setting, I always thought that once it is decided to have orthopedic surgery, you would be put on the next available surgery spot with your Surgeon, and that was that. Now I know it is not that simple. Nothing is ever that simple; there is a rather extensive process to even be on the surgery schedule. 

When I first started learning about this process, it seemed overwhelming to me. However, after a few deep breaths and getting to know the awesome staff at Washington Orthopaedic Center, I now know that the process is very manageable.  And just like me, you will have the wonderful staff at WOC to help guide you on your journey to wellness.

Senior woman with her hands on a painful knee while sitting on examination tableThe first step on this wellness journey is obviously coming to WOC with an orthopedic issue.

You will first be scheduled with a provider to assess any injuries and issues that can be treated by one of our orthopedic specialists.  In the clinic, the provider will look into non-surgical options first and work with you, the patient, to see what works best for your lifestyle. We always strive to do the least invasive option whenever possible for our patients. Once it is decided that the best possible option is surgery the process begins.

Every patient has a different journey, but they all follow the same general surgical path.  We always start with a review of insurance and the urgency of the procedure. If the procedure is deemed urgent by the surgeon or if you are double covered or have Medicaid or Worker’s Comp insurance, you will proceed directly to our ASC surgery scheduling department.

If you do not fall into either one of the categories listed above, you will proceed to our financial services representative, Traci.  She then contacts your insurance to review your benefits.  This process provides her with the amount of your co-insurance and any outstanding deductible amount.  Once you have reviewed your insurance benefits and amount responsible with Traci, our Surgery Scheduler will begin the insurance authorization process for your surgical procedure at our ASC.

Either Janet or Michele, our surgery schedulers, will also contact you and review a quick series of health history questions. Some questions you would be asked are, do you have a history of diabetes, or high blood pressure, or use diuretics. Based on your medical history and the procedure that you are having, then determines if you are one of the lucky individuals who will be meeting with one of our RN’s in the house for a preoperative teaching or if we are able to complete the teaching via telephone. 

The teaching takes place in the comfort of our education room at the surgery center. You will meet with one of our highly qualified RN’s and be asked additional health history questions, what medications you take, if you have any allergies, and past surgical history to name a few. Some patients may need to have certain lab draws or an EKG at this teaching as well.  An EKG is a simple noninvasive test that looks at the electrical activity in the heart. If there is an abnormal result, the test results are reviewed by our anesthesiologist.  After the questions are all finished, and tests were done, we review with the patient what to except for the upcoming surgery. You are encouraged to ask whatever questions you may have or review anything that may need to be clarified.  We want you to be as ready and prepared for the procedure as possible, therefore if you have any questions, no matter how irrelevant you might think it is, please be sure to ask.

Dr. Dujela performing surgery

We will discuss this with you during your teaching, but please note that for the safety of our patients, you must have someone to drive you home after surgery because of the anesthetic used during surgery.  To help our patients on their journey to recovery, we ask that they also have someone stay with them for at least the first twenty-four hours, and sometimes longer after the procedure.

I know this may seem a bit overwhelming at first, it definitely was for me, but the dedicated staff at WOC is here the entire way to make this journey as easy as possible for you to navigate through the 8 step program.   

Step 1: Make an appointment with a WOC provider.

Step 2: If surgery is the best treatment option, you may be directed to Traci.

Step 3: Traci contacts your insurance and reviews everything with you.

Step 4: Janet or Michele will start the authorization process.

Step 5: Janet or Michele will contact you to review your medical history and get you on the schedule.

Step 6: You will have your pre-operative teaching, either in person or on the phone.

Step 7: You will be contacted the business day prior to notifying you of what time to arrive at the ASC.

Step 8: Day of surgery!! Remember, no eating or drinking anything after midnight.

Now it’s time to start the process, be sure to give us a call and make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon today at 360-736-2889 to get started on your journey to wellness!

-By Josie Dekoker