The Center for Bone & Joint Surgery of the Palm Beaches has been serving the western communities for more than two decades, and there’s a unique family element to the practice now that the son of the one of the founders has joined the team.
CEO Dr. Harvey Montijo Sr. and his original partners Dr. Garvin Yee and Dr. Mark Waeltz have grown the practice since 1994, allowing it to mature into a firm bringing expert orthopedic care here in the western communities and throughout Palm Beach County.
Today, there are multiple offices at Wellington Regional Medical Center, and offices in Belle Glade, Boynton Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and a new office that will bring the Center for Bone & Joint Surgery into Martin County. The largest location is in Royal Palm Beach and has six orthopedic offices, physical therapy centers and an MRI center.
“We’ve been pretty much here since 1998,” Montjio Sr. said of the flagship office on State Road 7. “It started with just a building in the rear, and the parking lot was here in the front where this building stands. As we expanded, we moved the parking lot to the back of the surgery center building. We built this 36,000-square-foot facility. It houses most of our surgeons at this point.”
The Center for Bone & Joint Surgery has had the ability to grow in locations in part because it continues to welcome new surgeons to the practice, bringing on board top orthopedic surgeons that have trained and specialized in areas of surgery that are often new to the practice.
About a year and a half ago, one of those new surgeons was Harvey Enrique Montijo Jr., Montijo Sr.’s son, who brought his specialty in foot and ankle surgery to the family practice.
“I think everything I’ve trained for, and all the training that’s been done, is definitely going to use here,” said Montijo Jr., who attended Duke University Medical School in North Carolina before continuing his studies with a residency in Charlotte, N.C. “[At OrthoCarolina], we had a very heavy trauma presence, and it has been very surprising the amount of trauma we have here, even being treated at Wellington Regional, Palms West and Palm Beach Gardens. Things that would usually go to a level-one trauma center, I’ve been surprised that we’re using them so much here.”
For Monijo Jr., returning to a place he grew up and joining his father and new colleagues has been a small-town surprise.
“The one thing that has really surprised me about the community is how small it is,” he said, explaining there’s an inter-connectedness that often leads to referrals. “There are cases where I’ve done a hip fracture on somebody’s mom, and then all of sudden you are getting five or six people who are coming to see you… I think when you grow up here, you kind of know it, but Palm Beach County, no matter how big it is, it’s pretty well-connected.”
Not only is there family now at the Center for Bone & Joint Surgery, but Montijo Sr. has worked with some of his employees for 20 years. The more than 250 employees today serve the patients as much as the orthopedic surgeons at the practice, he said.
“We are an integral part of the western communities as a business. We have been involved with the community on multiple levels and multiple events, supporting a lot of the charity events that the community has,” Montijo Sr. said. “We have a very strong retention rate in our employees, and that has been part of our success. We have these individuals who have weathered the storms with us, and they’re like family.”
Montijo Sr. and his partners have been able to continue to grow the practice and stay current, updating to new technologies as they have developed through the years.
“Thanks to technology and integration of computers, it’s easy to have the same information for any particular patient. You have access in any particular office,” Montijo Sr. said. “So, if it’s in Boynton Beach, and the skillset of the surgeons there don’t match, but they do see the initial orthopedic surgeon there, and they get referred here, they don’t have to redo everything. It’s already integrated into the system. We just have to pull it up.”
Montijo Sr. is still very much involved in his craft as a total joint replacement specialist. He continues to be active as a surgeon in artificial hip, artificial total knee and arthroplasty. But Montijo Sr. said that unless it’s completely necessary, many surgeons like himself are conservative in the approach to various injuries for patients who come to his offices.
“We’re not just surgeons. Most of what we do is take care of the patients without the blade, without the surgical approach,” Montijo Sr. said. “Physical therapy, bracing, injections, different modalities that you can have short of surgery, and at the same time give you some options or advice with the physical therapist to modify your training, so you don’t get hurt but still reach your goals as an athlete, or as a weekend warrior, or as a geriatric person who just wants to stay fit.”
Montijo Sr. also embarks on international projects to educate surgeons overseas. He recently returned to the practice after a trip in Vietnam, where he has been visiting since 2011. He goes there once a year to train surgeons at an orthopedic and trauma hospital in Da Nang.
“Some of their surgeons have come to be trained here. It has been a two-way street, where they come for training here, and I go over there and do some interesting procedures and surgeries,” Montijo Sr. said. “I’ve also been to Cambodia, training surgeons there. But it has mostly been Vietnam, and now my first experience in Nigeria, in Africa, will be next month.”
As he goes to other countries to instill knowledge, his practice here is ready to see the next generation of patients with the next generation of medical professionals and the latest technology.
“We have a new generation of surgeons coming on board, and we’re excited to see that,” Montijo Sr. said. “What we built 25 years ago still has an opportunity to continue to be part of the community, so I really consider myself blessed to have my son in the practice. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow. I’m looking forward to see what this brings down the road.”
The Center for Bone & Joint Surgery of the Palm Beaches has seven offices across the county. For additional information, call (561) 798-6600 or visit www.boneandjoint.org.