MyOrthoHealth Patient Tells Surgeon: 'You Give People Their Lives Back'

Joe Foster had been a baseball catcher and spent 25 years as a paramedic. So he wasn’t too surprised when he started having trouble with his knees. What he wasn’t prepared for was how bad the pain got.

“I couldn’t walk,” said Foster, who is now an IT project manager and scrum master at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). “Every step I took was like a hammer hitting my knee. It had gotten to where I could only make it out to my car. I could drive but couldn’t do my own shopping. My daughter bought me a wagon for groceries.”

In the past, Foster had three injections in his knee. But one day, the knee “made a nasty crunch sound, and that was it,” he said. It was time for a knee replacement. Fortunately, he heard that he may qualify for Vanderbilt’s MyOrthoHealth Bundle. The bundle coordinates all the services needed to successfully address shoulder, hip and knee pain, while ensuring appropriate care and a faster return to life and work.

“After the patient navigator explained it all, I said to myself, ‘I need to do this,’” said Foster. “With knee surgery, there can be a lot of unknowns, but she explained the program and how things were going to go. That made the whole process better. I felt fully informed.”

And then there was the fact that Foster wouldn’t have any out-of-pocket costs. “I was like, ‘Nothing is free.’ But it was as part of my VUMC benefits, and that was a big part of my decision.”

The navigator made all appointments for Foster and arranged for the equipment he would need after surgery. “She organized everything,” he said. “It was really cool.”

Foster had his knee replacement in August 2022. “It was same-day surgery, and my recovery was fine,” he said. “Now the pain is gone. I can go anywhere I need to go.” He’s able to play with his grandchildren, and he can once again perform as a keyboardist with his band.

Foster says his bundles experience was well worth it. “My surgeon, Dr. Steve Engstrom, and the nurse were second to none,” he said. After his recovery, Foster told Dr. Engstrom that he was responsible for more than surgery: “He is giving people their lives back.”

Joe Foster can once again play with his grandchildren and perform as a keyboardist with his band.