Care Center Spotlight: Potomac Valley Orthopaedic Associates

Published March 24, 2017

Potomac Valley Orthopaedic Associates has the distinction of being one of the oldest care centers within The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics. Founded in the late 1960s, the care center was first known as The Washington Orthopaedic Group. Since then, the care center’s geography has grown, expanding into four office locations in Columbia, Germantown, Olney and Silver Spring, with 11 physicians and multiple specialties, including sports medicine, spinal surgery, foot and ankle, hand, pediatrics, general orthopaedics and trauma care. Across the four locations, the care center schedules more than 4,000 patient visits per month.

In recent years, Potomac Valley has invested in a number of improvements and unique services for better patient care. In addition to creating a new call center, which has streamlined the scheduling process so all patients are offered an appointment within 24 hours, the practice also offers durable medical equipment on-site. To improve efficiency, Potomac Valley developed a completely digital x-ray system, allowing physicians to immediately review images with patients in the exam room. In 2013, the care center remodeled the Columbia office and added additional exam rooms to accommodate a busy schedule and improve patient flow.

Potomac Valley has a thriving physical therapy program, which is offered in each location. The care center currently has 19 members on the physical therapy team including a certified hand therapist and seven physical therapist assistants, and is the only practice in Maryland to offer the specialty spine clinic Medical MedX. This clinic technology is able to fully evaluate the range of motion and strength in a patient’s neck and back, comparing the results with typical numbers according to weight, gender and height. Recently, Potomac Valley developed a custom orthotics program as an additional service within the therapy clinic. Patients receive a full evaluation, which includes digital gait analysis, weight bearing and non-weight bearing assessments, creation of a cast mold, and receive their orthotics within two weeks following evaluation.

The care center continues to grow, and recently opened a new office in Germantown, occupying 10,000 square feet in the medical office building across from the new Holy Cross Hospital, where Dr. Douglas Murphy serves as President of the Medical Staff, and Dr. Ricardo Cook serves as Chief of Surgery. 

The decision to join The Centers stemmed from the desire to be a part of a group large enough to deliver comprehensive services and compete with organizations such as MedStar, Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, yet still able to maintain physician autonomy. Through strength in numbers and a unified vision, the physicians at Potomac Valley are confident The Centers’ model offers patients the highest-quality and personalized orthopaedic care.

Dr. Charles Mess Sr., one of the first partners to join the practice in 1971, recently reminisced, “When I led them, we were looking at amalgamating with another group for size, but we never got to that stage.” He retired in 2010, but remains connected through his son, Dr. Charles Mess, Jr., and former colleagues. “The practice has grown through the years and maintained a good medical reputation, and I’m proud of them for moving in this direction.”

As The Centers continues to grow, the physicians are looking forward to a deeper integration among practices and a cohesive EMR system to foster strong relationships with other colleagues for even better patient care.