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Orthopedic Institute serves athletes with new location

For years, doctors at the Florida Orthopedic Institute have treated a multitude of orthopedic injuries endured by USF athletes. Until recently, it only took a drive across Fowler Avenue to reach the institute. Now, the institute considers Telecom Park it’s home.

After being housed directly across from USF for 14 years, the Florida Orthopedic Institute moved its offices to the new 82,000 square-foot location on Fletcher Avenue, near I-75, during the Memorial Day weekend. The facility offers more than double the space than the old offices.

“It’s a very nice state-of-the-art facility,” said Nikki Curski, assistant head athletic trainer at USF. “It encompasses all of their services in one — for example, X-rays and physical therapy.”

Curski said the new location, which has been examining patients since May 27 but whose official grand opening is Tuesday, is more convenient because it is located adjacent to the FOI Surgery Center.

The new center is well accepted by everyone — including FOI employees. Heather Willis, a collections specialist for three years at FOI, said the institute is continuing to make efforts to better serve patients and employees.

“Other than the fact that we are kind of out here in no-man’s land, I don’t really have anything I don’t like,” Willis said. “I am pleased that since we are so far away from a lot of things, our company is putting a deli on-site to accommodate the employees and patients who stay at our surgery center next door.”

The FOI Surgery Center, which is also part of the Institute, opened in Telecom Park in February 2002. The Surgery Center was recently accredited from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. The endorsement comes after a comprehensive examination of the Surgery Center’s facilities and services, and it shows that the association nationally recognizes FOI as a quality health care organization.

“We just received our accreditation, which is pretty prestigious,” said Debbie Baker, business development manager of FOI.

Baker added that the new facility is the only center in Florida to provide such a wide range of orthopedic services. The 12-acre site will house orthopedic research, physician training, medical treatment, diagnostic services and surgery.

FOI has been caring for patients since its 1989 founding at the Fowler location, and in the years since it has added five other satellite offices.

One of the founding members of FOI is Dr. David Leffers, who has been the head team physician at USF since 1984. Two other FOI doctors, Dr. Seth Glasser and Adam Morse, assist Dr. Leffers as orthopedic specialists for USF Athletics. And recently, Dr. Arthur Walling, of FOI, operated on USF soccer star Hunter West, who underwent surgery to remove a calcified part of his pelvis.

In almost every year since 1996, FOI doctors have been recognized for their work at the Institute with the Best Doctors in America award. Their medical peers for the award selected seven doctors from FOI out of the 11 orthopedic surgeons in Tampa this year. Glasser and Walling were among the seven honored.