The paperwork from the Secretary of State shows February 1, 1989 as the date of incorporation for San Bernardino Medical Orthopaedics Group, (doing business as) Arrowhead Orthopaedics. However, the history of this group and its service to this community go back at least another decade.
Dr. M. Kenneth Mudge appeared on the local scene in 1977, as an orthopaedic resident at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Part of his orthopaedic rotation was at San Bernardino County Medical Center. Mudge remembers those days working long hours with no attending or supervising staff. Dr. George Weismann had begun the orthopaedic service at SBMC in April 1971 and continued there until January 1975. Dr. Ken Hoek followed him for a couple of years. From then on, until Dr. Alan Mackenzie was hired as the chairman of the Orthopaedic Department in 1980, volunteer physicians from the county staffed the department.
Soon after MacKenzie arrived, he hired Dr. Tom Burgdorff. However, since the volunteer physicians no longer came to SBCMC, the relative shortage of doctors undoubtedly influenced MacKenzie’s decision in 1980 to invite the “unpretentious, quiet, compassionate and mission-minded gentlemen”, M.K. Mudge, to join his group in 1981 following the completion of his orthopaedic residency.
Burgdorff took a job elsewhere later that year but as the orthopaedic work load increased at SBCC Mudge remembered another unpretentious hard-working surgeon—Dr. James Matiko—whom he had met while in his residency at LLUMC. Matiko was completing the second year of a second subspecialty in hand surgery in Louisville, KY. In late 1985, while in New Orleans for the annual Orthopaedic Academy Meeting, Mudge and Matiko met over dinner to renew their friendship and discuss the future. Mudge recalls: “I knew before this dinner that I wanted to work with Jim and I was pleased when agreed to join our group in San Bernardino.”
Dr. Clifford Merkel joined the group in 1990, followed by Dr. Thomas Donaldson in 1991 and Dr. John Steinmann in 1992. With subspecialty trained physicians in upper extremity, hand, total joints, foot and ankle and spine, the group was ready to venture into private practice. In 1991 the group purchased and renovated a building at 2124 Waterman Avenue and embarked on an ambitious growth and expansion plan.
In 1992, three years after SMOG signed a contract for orthopaedic services of San Bernardino County Medical Center, the group opened their first private practice in the community doing business as Arrowhead Orthopaedics. The group responded efficiently to emergency room consults and the practice grew rapidly with the hiring of Dr. Ronny Ghazal in 1993, and Dr. Barry Grames in 1996. Soon afterwards, however, the Waterman facility was too small. Plans were drawn for a new building on the Waterman site and satellite offices were established in Banning, Redlands and Riverside. However, as the patient population shifted, the group decided to forgo the expansion plans at the Waterman site.
Arrowhead Reginal Medical Center, Colton, California
Photo Credit: ARMC
In July 1998 the group moved the administrative staff to 1465 South D Street and the private clinics to West Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino. In 1999 Dr. Gary Frykman joined Arrowhead Orthopaedics and merged his “Inland Hand” practice at 399 E. Highland Street in San Bernardino into SMOG. This office was later consolidated into the new Redlands facility.
A long-time employee remembers in the early 1990’s Mudge commenting that he foresees the group growing to be a 20-physician group. The group entered the 21st Century well positioned to become the premier provider of orthopedic service in the Inland Empire. In 2002 Donaldson left the group to assume the leadership of the total joints program at LLUMC. That same year, Drs. Tom McIndoe and Virchel Wood joined the group to help with the work load at the newly built county hospital and renamed Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC). Dr. Jonathan Lee joined the group to develop a pain management program. Three additional full-time physicians joined the group in 2003; Drs. Richard Biama, Paul Burton, and Gail Hopkins.
The stage was now set for a new phase of investment and expansion. In 2002 the group acquired property in Redlands and began the design and building of a state-of-the-art facility that would house a clinic, physical therapy, an imaging center and an ambulatory surgery center. In June of 2004 the group’s administrative offices moved into the new facility in Redlands. Two months later the San Bernardino clinics were consolidated into the new building as well.
In January of 2007 the Arrowhead Orthopaedics Hand Center opened its doors in the Redlands facility. This full-service facility now offers a comprehensive line of medical, diagnostics and occupational therapy services in a seamless environment. The completion of this center has opened the way for hiring two additional fellowship-trained hand surgeons who joined the group in 2009.
In June of 2010, AO acquired the practice of Dr. Asghar Husain in Rancho Cucamonga and celebrated its first entry into the West end of the county. Then in October, 2010, the group integrated the practice of Dr. Jay Shah of Ontario. These two West-end practices were recently (June 2013) consolidated into a joint practice at Haven in Rancho Cucamonga. In November 2012, the group integrated the San Bernardino practice of Drs. Walker and Doty at 2131 Elks Drive.
Recognizing the changing demographics in the area and the growing need for orthopedic care in the Hemet/San Jacinto community, the group consolidated its part-time presence in Banning into a new full-time office in Hemet in October 2008. This office has grown in size and scope and on December 16, 2013 the Hemet office was relocated to the campus of Hemet Center of Medical Excellence. Located at 3889 W. Stetson Avenue , the expanded office now offers a comprehensive line of Orthopaedics services along with a full-service Physical Therapy program.
Since June of 2012, Arrowhead Orthopaedics added eight additional Orthopaedic surgeons to a total of 25 Orthopaedics surgeons and two Pain Management physicians.
Today, Arrowhead Orthopaedics physicians have privileges at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Redlands Community Hospital, Riverside Community Hospital, Parkview Hospital in Riverside, Community Hospital of San Bernardino, St. Bernadine’s Medical Center, and San Antonio Community Medical Center as well as other area hospitals. In addition to their active practices, the group physicians have a strong commitment to teaching. As Clinical Faculty at LLUMC, Western University of Health Sciences and Riverside Regional Medical Center, these physicians are actively involved in the training of medical students and orthopedic residents who rotate on a regular basis at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.
Reflecting on the history of this group, none of what has happened over the past twenty four years has been a mere happenstance. The practice has grown to 27 surgeons and has experienced relatively little fallout. There are several reasons for this. First, the group is committed to excellence as manifested in the number of subspecialty fellowship-trained physicians. Second, each surgeon has been carefully selected for surgical expertise and work ethic. The physicians have confidence in each other’s surgical ability and support each other as a team. Third, the group encourages creative thinking, while stressing compatibility and rewarding commitment. Finally, traditional values are paramount. High priority is given to integrity, responsibility, strong work ethic, compassion, and family values. A commitment to nurture a culture of caring for patients, as well as for the family of employees is also important.
Arrowhead Orthopaedics physicians are involved community citizens. In addition to supporting research dedicated to the advancement of orthopedic medicine, several of the physicians are involved with local school sports programs. Others have traveled overseas to provide care in developing countries or to train third-world physicians in the latest medical techniques.
The staff of Arrowhead Orthopaedics remains its greatest asset. The group is blessed to have a very dedicated family of employees who are committed to quality patient care and customer satisfaction. Throughout the years, the group has also benefited from the leadership of several administrators beginning with Leanne Mudge, Fran Kerns, Peter Vanderhaak, Vic Jennings, and the current CEO Nabil Y. Razzouk. The strong supportive administration and staff have brought strength and continuity to the group. As we look forward to the future, we are mindful of the challenges of professional medicine and the changing landscape of the healthcare industry. We will face these challenges with the same unwavering commitment to providing the best quality orthopedic care, in the most pleasant environment, and the most accessible manner. While our doings over the next twenty years may differ from those to date in terms of form or intensity, we are confident that our being the premier provider of credible, convenient, and compassionate orthopedic care in this community will not change. Commitment to Excellence in patient care shall sustain our existence and drive our growth for the next phase of our history.