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The current health care system leaves many behind. Carrell Clinic Foundation is making sure they’re not forgotten.

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The current health care system leaves many behind. Carrell Clinic Foundation is making sure they’re not forgotten.

The current healthcare system leaves many behind, including those needing life-changing orthopedic care.

Someone with a prosthetic leg lifting weights

A successful basketball career is a source of pride for anyone, but especially if you’re missing both legs and one arm. This was the case for Josh, a 27-year-old who had been involved in a train accident at age 10. He went on to discover wheelchair basketball at the University of Arlington. However, when Josh needed a prosthetic arm, he found that insurance wouldn’t cover it. 

This is not uncommon among the millions of young musculoskeletal patients who seek care in the U.S. each year, many of whom lack health insurance. But even for those with coverage, many insurance plans, including Medicaid, often do not cover orthotics. Others fall into a gap in health care coverage, usually by aging out of charitable services or their parents’ insurance between ages 18 and 30, or by being ineligible for both private and government insurance. 

Musculoskeletal issues are some of the most physically visible conditions — yet at the same time, some of the most overlooked for medical coverage. They include issues with the joints, bones, and muscles. Costs can often be prohibitive, encompassing amputations, prosthetics, surgery, and rehabilitation.

The Carrell Clinic Foundation is working to create a health care safety net that makes sure young adults are able to access medical treatment no matter their circumstances. In doing so, they empower people with orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions to live life to their full potential.

Overlooked by the medical system

Under the Carrell Clinic Foundation’s model, surgeons, facilities, and anesthesia providers provide pro bono care. Any prosthetics or orthotics that are needed are obtained through a partnership with Hanger Clinic. The Foundation uses charitable donation funds to reimburse Hanger at prearranged and discounted rates. Priority is given to services and patients who don’t qualify for public or private insurance. To maximize accessibility, patients are able to name medical facilities and providers they would be most comfortable being treated by.  

What’s unique about the Carrell Clinic Foundation is that patients are able to access world-class health care without paying a penny, and without having to deal with insurance middlemen. The focus is on providing care.

“We’re targeting young adults with these medical challenges who are struggling [and] trying to find their way,” says CCF’s Executive Director Christiana Mouser. “We want to empower them to get back on their feet, literally and figuratively.” 

In Josh’s case, the Carrell Clinic Foundation and Hanger Clinic worked together to fit him with a prosthetic that allowed him to continue flourishing in his basketball career. 

Charity musculoskeletal health care

The Carrell Clinic Foundation demonstrates a new way of approaching health care: rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, approaching complex medical issues from an individualized and entrepreneurial focus that brings more people in. 

The Foundation works with a network of partner organizations across the country. This currently includes Hanger, Inc, United Surgical Partners International (USPI), Baylor Scott and White Health, and OrthoForum.

“I volunteer my time and our surgeons volunteer their services,” says Dr. Daniel Cooper, Board Chairman of the Carrell Clinic Foundation. “When we pitch this to other entities, I get five minutes into it and they’ll say, ‘Stop right there. We’re in. You just tell us how we can help.’” 

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Foundation of medical innovation 

Care is at the forefront of the Carrell Clinic Foundation’s work, but expanding and improving upon that care is only possible through research taking place behind the curtain. 

The Foundation awards grants to support research into musculoskeletal conditions, including the recent award-winning Multi-Center ACL Revision Study (MARS), which is taking a close look at the factors that contribute to the long-term success of ACL reconstructions.    

Additionally, the Carrell Clinic Foundation fosters growth of new athletic trainers, medical assistants and nurses in orthopedics by supporting residency programs.

Expanding access for young adults

In 2022 alone, the Carrell Clinic Foundation provided 39 patients with charity musculoskeletal care. As a grantee of Stand Together Trust, the foundation aims to bring more comprehensive care to uninsured and underinsured patients around the U.S. by growing their network to a national scale.

“We are doing good things in a lot of different ways and we’re proud of it,” says Dr. Cooper. “We have an obligation to carry through on this, to expand beyond our borders, locally, and regionally. There’s no reason that it can’t be national.”

The Carrell Clinic Foundation is supported by Stand Together Foundation, which partners with the nation’s most transformative nonprofits to break the cycle of poverty.

Learn more about Stand Together’s health care reform efforts.

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