Baptist Health System earns top national honors for bone health program

Sep 1, 2021

Breaking a silent bone epidemic

(San Antonio, TX) - Baptist Health System is addressing a silent health epidemic that can cause long-term disability in those over age 50, and the system is being recognized among healthcare institutions across the country for its efforts.

hip-boneOsteoporotic or fragility fracture is a serious complication of osteoporosis and often the first sign that a person has the disease. Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of the nearly two million individuals who experience fragility fractures each year are tested or treated for osteoporosis. Failing to prevent future fractures can be deadly; nearly 25 percent of patients who suffer a hip fracture die within a year. The majority who do survive experience a loss of independence and often require long-term nursing home care. Those fractures are costly; nearly $18 billion in related costs every year. By 2025, experts predict those numbers to rise to nearly three million fractures and $25.3 billion in costs each year.

Baptist Health System is ensuring its osteoporotic fracture patients receive the treatment and care they deserve and the system earned the nation’s highest honors for its efforts. Through participation in The American Orthopaedic Association’s Own the Bone® quality improvement (QI) program, three Baptist hospitals have been designated as “Own the Bone Star Performers” for the upcoming year, an achievement reserved only for institutions that perform the highest level of fragility fracture and bone health care.

Three Baptist hospitals -- Mission Trail Baptist Hospital on the south side of San Antonio, North Central Baptist Hospital in Stone Oak, as well as Resolute Health Hospital in New Braunfels -- join more than 260 health care institutions nationwide that have implemented Own the Bone. Through the Own the Bone program and its national web-based quality improvement registry, all three hospitals are equipped with the tools to establish a fracture liaison service (FLS) and to document, track, and benchmark care of fragility fracture patients. Through an FLS program, a care coordinator, such as a nurse or physician’s assistant, ensures that fragility fracture patients are identified, evaluated, and treated.

OTB-2021-SP-LogoOwn the Bone Star Performers must achieve a 75 percent compliance rate with at least 5 of the 10 Own the Bone prevention measures, including: educating patients on the importance of Calcium and Vitamin D, physical activity, falls prevention, limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking; recommending and initiating bone mineral density testing; discussing pharmacotherapy and treatment (when applicable); and providing written communication to the patient and their physician regarding specific risk factors and treatment recommendations.

Through participation in Own the Bone and recognition as an Own the Bone Star Performer, Mission Trail Baptist, North Central Baptist and Resoulte Health Hospitals have demonstrated a commitment to helping patients understand their risk for future fractures and the steps they can take to prevent them.

Kevin Kirk, D.O. orthopedic surgeon with The San Antonio Orthopedic Group and director of the Own the Bone program at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital, said he is proud the program is helping to improve the quality of care the hospitals provide for patients in San Antonio and New Braunfels. “Longterm, we hope to help reduce the number of fragility fractures that occur in our communities,” Dr. Kirk said.

What can people do to protect their bones?

  • Get adequate calcium and vitamin D, through either diet or supplements, if necessary.
  • Engage in regular weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercise.
  • Prevent falls around the home and be careful of stairs, railings, clutter, etc.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake to 2-3 drinks per day.

Dr. Kirk encourages anyone over age 50, who has experienced a broken bone, to talk to their health care provider and get a bone density screening to determine if osteoporosis might be the cause. He said it is important for them to learn additional steps that may be needed to prevent future fractures.

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