News Center

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

New clinic offers fast treatment for patients with severe neck, back pain

INDIANAPOLIS – A new spine triage clinic recently opened at Franciscan St. Francis Health with the goal of quickly assessing and beginning treatment for patients with acute neck and back pain.

The clinic is a combined effort of Rehab Services and the Franciscan Physician Network Spine, Rehabilitation and Neurosurgical Specialists. It is part of an evolving comprehensive Neuroscience Center.

The triage clinic is staffed five days a week, with Erica Cottrell, MD, and Anthony Mimms, MD, sharing time there. Two additional physicians will join the team later this summer, expanding the clinic’s capacity.

Under the spine triage clinic model, patients with neck or back pain call a dedicated phone number, 317-528-BACK (physician referral not required). Through a phone interview
using a standard set of questions and a scoring algorithm based on complexity of the medical
problem, length of symptoms and previous treatments, patients are assigned to the most appropriate medical evaluation.

During the initial spine triage appointment, patients undergo a joint evaluation by a physical therapist and physiatrist. Together they establish a plan of care, often involving physical therapy, which begins right away.

“Right now patients may have to wait weeks to get an appointment with one of our spine specialists,” said Chris DiGiusto, neuroscience service line director. “This clinic will expedite getting patients to the right provider, avoiding both delays in care and unnecessary visits, tests and medications.”

The spine triage clinic is housed in the physical therapy gym on the first floor of the 8051 medical office building at the hospital’s Indianapolis campus. It will eventually move to the third floor.