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Heartland near top for knee replacement

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists in Alexandria bested 14 other Minnesota medical clinics, including the Mayo Clinic, in doing total knee replacements, according to a Minnesota nonprofit that ranks health outcomes.

It was one of four clinics to receive an "above average" rating from Minnesota Community Measurement, an independent, non-profit community organization founded in 2004. The data was recently released.

The organization surveyed patients before their knee replacement surgeries, all done during 2015, and then followed up a year later. Heartland performed 360 such surgeries during 2015.

According to data results, Heartland patients reported an 18.61 point increase in their ability to do normal household chores and daily living tasks following surgery.

The statewide average change in score for patients who had total knee replacement surgery of all reporting medical groups was 16.6 points. A higher score is a sign of improvements in a patient's pain, function and mobility after total knee replacement. The Mayo Clinic scored 16.86. The clinic reporting the best patient scores was Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester.

"My colleagues and I at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists and Douglas County Hospital are proud and humbled to receive this recognition," Dr. Dennis Weigel, joint replacement surgeon for Heartland, said in a news release. "Being among the top four institutions in the state for total knee replacements is a testament to the dedication and care our surgeons and staff demonstrate every day."

Heartland was founded in 1974, and provides bone, joint and muscle care to patients in west central Minnesota. It operates in Alexandria with outreach clinics in Willmar, Glenwood, Morris, Appleton, Graceville, Wadena and Fergus Falls.