Dr. Ryan Kehoe of Aspen Orthopedic Specialists

When I called Dr. Ryan Kehoe in the midst of a pandemic, he was between surgeries. The orthopedic surgeon was still operating, but on essential cases only.

At that point, he estimated his case load was down about 85%, but on this morning to give us the time we needed to chat, he felt he should call me back in a couple of hours fol- lowing the completion of the second surgery.

“That way,” he said, “our conversation won’t need to be rushed.”

A couple of hours went by, and my phone was silent. Then another 15, 30, 45 minutes elapsed. When the phone rang, I blurted out what I had been thinking: Everything OK with your second surgery?

“Surgery went great,” Kehoe said. “It’s my kids. I don’t think they like me very much as their teacher.”

Another byproduct of COVID-19: universal home schooling.

With students settled and assignments deployed, one of the top providers from Aspen Orthopedic Specialists – and a recent addition to NOVO Health’s provider panel – was ready.

Dr. Ryan Kehoe is one of the physician partners of Aspen Orthopedic Special- ists, a group of independent orthopedic specialists serving the greater Milwaukee area and Madison. Providers at Aspen partnered with NOVO Health earlier this year, participating in NOVO Health’s Bundled Payment Program for Health Care, which packages surgical procedures and related services into cost-saving bundles.

“Delivering affordable and accessible orthopedic services is what our indepen- dent practice is all about,” said Kehoe. “We can make a big impact helping NOVO Health employer partners in southern Wisconsin.”

Regional employers in the Milwaukee market are clamoring for more health care options, Kehoe said, to address issues of cost and quality as well as the overall patient experience offered to their employees, which begins with better access to services.

Aspen Orthopedic Specialists has long offered same- or next-day appointments for their new and cur- rent patients (augmented at this time with telemedicine as an alternative approach to seeing patients). Kehoe works in several clinics, including Brookfield, where he was born and raised.

Asked what he loves most about his job, Kehoe doesn’t hesitate.

“Getting injured athletes and injured people back to their level of performance,” he said.

His answer hinted at a love of sports when growing up. Check that box. Basketball, and especially soccer.

Might it also indicate that the doctor as a young athlete did something highly injurious that influenced his choice of career?

Kehoe minimized this.

“Broke my foot that took away some soccer playing time, but nothing terrible on the injury front,” he said.

Kehoe pointed to other key influencers that led him to orthopedics and sports medicine.

I liked math and science, and I was interested medicine,” said Kehoe. “Also, I’m somewhat mechanically inclined. I like power tools.”

As an orthopedic physician, Kehoe can help his patients on many fronts and treats problems with the elbow, hand, wrist, hip, knee and shoulder. He has a special interest in knee and shoulder instability, arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and cartilage transplant and restoration.

The advanced sports medicine and arthroscopic techniques used by Kehoe enhance faster rehabilitation protocols, create less postoperative pain, and allow a more rapid return to activities.

“It’s all about getting the athlete or industrial athlete back to doing what they need to do, back to their desired level of activity.”

Dr. Ryan Kehoe

Regarding activity, Kehoe played a lot of soccer, through high school, eventually playing at the University of Wisconsin for the Badgers. He stayed in Madison for medical school and residency, eventually covering the Badger soccer team as a sideline medical provider.

“Good to see things from both sides, as an athlete and a care provider,” said Kehoe.

He stayed in Madison for years and continued playing in city leagues until a meniscus issue slowed him down. Eventually he put himself on the bench.

Following his residency, Kehoe jumped at the chance to study at the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), the Alabama-based organization founded by James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon known for his work with high profile athletes (Michael Jordan, Brett Favre) and sports teams (Alabama Crimson Tide, Washington Redskins).

Though the fellowship program, Kehoe was as- signed to Troy University, a small Division I school in southeast Alabama, to treat athletes with musculoskeletal injuries. He stressed the importance of the advanced training in sports medicine and orthopedics he received and the bonds he forged with the teams under his care.

“I think working at a smaller school provided me a range of opportunities that I wouldn’t have experienced had I been assigned to some of the bigger programs ASMI works with,” said Kehoe. “I was pretty much on my own and ran my own clinic.”

Following his medical sojourn to the South, Kehoe would return to Wisconsin, get married and start a fam- ily. He loves spending time with his family, boating and racing cars. Kehoe grew up around racing but did not get much of a chance to partake. He’s got an old Win- ston Cup stock car that he gets out on the Milwaukee Mile or at Road America when he can.

“I race as much as my wife will allow, which is not a lot,” said Kehoe. “My current goal is to not wreck the vehicle when I’m on the track.”

Kehoe ends by discussing the potential of the re- lationship between Aspen Orthopedic Specialists and NOVO Health.

“Our success in Milwaukee and Madison is driven by the value we provide,” he said. “Price points, efficiency, access, and not just for the self-insured employer.”

For Kehoe and his partners at Aspen, providing pa- tients the ability to access high-quality, affordable care is important.

“We see patients the same day or next day,” said Kehoe. “We all help each other out so we can get you in right away.”

Speaking of right away, Kehoe excused himself, making the smooth transition from surgeon to elementary teacher.

Well, maybe smooth is not the right word.

Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is a writer and content creator for NOVO Health.

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