FAIRMONT - Linguistics are a significant part of the job for Dr. Timothy Payne, whether he's cracking light-hearted jokes about his field - those orthopedic surgeons, always going from joint to joint and making no bones about it - or creating analogies to better explain complex diagnoses to his patients.
Payne started practicing this week at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont, a move that came after nearly 30 years at an orthopedic clinic in Downers Grove, just west of Chicago.
In addition to his work at M&M Orthopaedics, Ltd., Payne has served as chairman of the surgery department and president of medical staff at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, a community of 49,000.
CALL?HIM?‘BONES’?— Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Timothy Payne laughs as he poses with a model skeleton at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont.
Why leave after all that time?
It's a question Payne expects, but the answer isn't quick, even for a native New York resident.
"You have the same problems in rural and metro areas," he said. "Finding primary care physicians is tough."
According to Payne, practicing orthopedics in the Chicago area is becoming increasingly complex, due in part to an over-abundance of health care facilities; changes in hospital admission policies that are increasing the challenges for independent surgeons; and legislative action that significantly cut workmen's compensation reimbursements.
"I wanted to go someplace I could work," he said.
What he wanted was an employer like Mayo that values a "positive patient-physician relationship" and would appreciate his ideas about patient and community education.
"I tend to be resistant to a quick fix," Payne said. "... People say that medicine is a science but really it's an art of trying to educate people on a functional level."
For an example, he spoke of tennis elbow, a common ailment that can often be successfully treated with simple stretches, avoiding invasive procedures or injections, which only mask the pain but fail to fix the underlying problem.
"To get into health care today, a physician has to be willing to get out into the community - you have to take the lead to educate the public and break down that language barrier," he said. "The challenge is how do you make [a diagnosis] clear without diluting it so much it's ridiculous."
Payne is looking forward to working with his colleagues at the Fairmont site and is already planning collaborations with physical and occupational therapists to help businesses improve their work environments and decrease work-related injuries.
In the short time he has lived in the area, Payne is already taking steps to become an active member of the community, joining a golf club and getting involved with Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce.
"I'm originally from a small town, so this is like a rebirth for me," he said, describing Fairmont as a progressive city with a lot to offer.
Payne earned his doctorate from Rush Medical School in Chicago. His residency in pathology was completed at Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago; general surgery and orthopedic surgery residencies at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke Medical Center, Chicago.