That’s because the vision Chhabra and his team had more than 10 years ago is now an impressive reality.
In February, the doors of the new UVA Health Orthopedic Center – located on Ivy Road near the U.S. 29/U.S. 250 interchange – officially opened.
“I can tell you that this facility has exceeded all of my expectations, and my team’s expectations,” said Chhabra, who chairs UVA’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. “Not only is it a very convenient place for patients to receive the full breadth of orthopedic care, but it’s a very team-centric environment as well. It’s a wonderful place to work, and that will help us recruit and retain the best team members in what is a very challenging labor market right now.
“This facility has been designed for patient convenience and team-member convenience so that we can provide the most efficient care possible. It is truly remarkable. This is a game-changer for orthopedic care in our region.”
The facility, which broke ground about 3 1/2 years ago, is one of only four similar facilities of its kind on the East Coast, joining the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, the Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital in Georgia and the University of Florida Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Institute in Florida.
“Thanks to Dr. Chhabra’s extraordinary leadership, UVA now has a comprehensive, state-of-the-art orthopedic facility,” Ryan said. “The building itself is quite impressive, and the health care team is top-notch.
“Patients and their families, including student-athletes, will be well-served by this new center, which reflects UVA Health’s commitment to outstanding care and medical education.”
With 90 exam rooms, four outpatient operating rooms (with plans to expand to six), surgery support and imaging services, a retail pharmacy and food service, the 195,000-square-foot facility is the ultimate one-stop shop for orthopedic and musculoskeletal care.
“This facility is designed to be patient-centric, making it easy for our patients to receive all the orthopedic care they need under one roof,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, chief executive officer of UVA Health and executive vice president for health affairs at UVA. “There is no other orthopedic center like it in the commonwealth, and bringing together our orthopedic patient care, research and education in this beautiful facility will assist our orthopedics team in developing innovative care to serve residents of Virginia and beyond.”
The center unites all of UVA Orthopedics’ outpatient clinics, meaning patients who have sustained multiple injuries will no longer have to schlep around Charlottesville to various specialists – a foot and ankle clinic here, a hand clinic there – for their treatment.
“The thing that had frustrated me for years during my time on faculty was the fragmented care that we were providing,” Chhabra said. “We had clinics in different buildings. You needed to go to a different building for an MRI, a different building for therapy, a different building for prosthetics/orthotics. Now we have everything in one location.
“A patient who has a wrist fracture and an ankle injury or back problems and hip problems – they can now be seen in this facility in a very convenient and efficient manner because all of our specialists are here together. They’re working together, they’re collaborating together, and they are providing the highest level of care together.”
Chhabra said the center speaks to UVA Health’s mission of elevating the education for the next generation of physicians; it has an education center and bioskills lab to train orthopedic residents and fellows.
“All of our education needs were incorporated into this building so that we could recruit the best residents and fellows and medical students, and we can provide an optimal environment where they can learn,” Chhabra said.
“So we’re advancing education, advancing clinical care, advancing clinical research in this facility. And also community outreach – we have a sports concussion center for our high school athletes here.”
One of the hallmarks of the facility is its open, collaborative feel, which allows doctors from different clinics to easily communicate. And the large amount of natural light pouring through the lobby and upper two floors makes for an even more inviting space.
“I felt like having a lot of windows was really important,” Chhabra said. “A lot of our clinics at our other locations were in the middle of the building and had no light. I wanted lots of light – not only for our patients, but for our team members.”
The facility also features walking trails that connect to Charlottesville’s Rivanna Trail. They can be used by employees, visiting family members or patients who are doing their rehabilitation.
A big advantage of the new facility is having an ultramodern physical therapy center. Patients can attend appointments, then take an elevator downstairs for therapy sessions.
Among many ancillary benefits, Chhabra believes the facility – which is located right down the street from UVA’s athletic facilities – will help in the recruitment of UVA student-athletes.
“I think if a parent is looking for their kid to come here and play sports, they’re going to want to know that their child will get the highest level of care if injured, and this facility will help do that,” he said.
“They will be reassured that if their child gets hurt, their child will be getting the best care possible from some of the best specialists in the country and by some of the best trained team members in orthopedic surgery anywhere. I’m just so excited that we’ve finally reached the finish line and we’re here, because it’s truly remarkable.”
Chhabra hopes the center will become the standard.
“I think this is the first of many opportunities of really advancing the care we have for patients not only in Charlottesville and Albemarle and at the University, but for the state and the region,” he said.