Renowned Osteoporosis Expert and Mercy Health Physician Nelson Watts Launches Area's First Fracture Liaison Service

(CINCINNATI; May 13, 2015) – Despite the fact that bone fractures in post-menopausal women and men age 50 or older are a strong indicator of osteoporosis, only one in five women 67 and older who have a fracture receive testing or treatment for osteoporosis and the number is lower for men. 

Mercy Health Physician Nelson Watts, MD, a world-renowned osteoporosis expert and researcher, is committed to improving this discouraging statistic.

Together with Nurse Practitioners Theresa Cole and Sandy Kesner, Dr. Watts is launching the area’s first Fracture Liaison Service at Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital.

“Many times, patients come in to the hospital with a hip fracture, they have an operation and go home. Very few people will recommend the patient have an osteoporosis check, even though the patient meets the criteria for osteoporosis,” said Dr. Watts.

The Fracture Liaison Service will identify these at risk patients in the hospital and then, after discharge, evaluate and treat them as needed.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, Fracture Liaison Services, commonly known as FLS, are secondary fracture prevention services that healthcare systems implement for the treatment of patients with osteoporosis. The FLS works to:
• Close the care gap for fracture patients, 80% of whom are currently never offered screening and/or treatment for osteoporosis
• Enhance communication between health care providers by providing a care pathway for the treatment of fragility fracture patients

Initially, Mercy Health – Cincinnati’s Fracture Liaison Service will work as a pilot for patients of Anderson Hospital, targeting any patient who has fractured a hip, before the program expands to include other types of fractures and locations.

“Our team will send our findings to the patient’s primary care provider and determine if the provider wants to manage the patient’s osteoporosis. If not, we can follow the patient to ensure he or she has appropriate care,” said Dr. Watts.

Patients who merit osteoporosis testing will visit Nurse Practitioners Theresa Cole and Sandy Kesner at Mercy Health - Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, Eastgate, for evaluation and initiation of treatment for their osteoporosis. Those patients will see their primary care physicians or Dr. Watts’ team for long-term follow-up.