Jeff Riggs and Dr. Neil Conti
SANFORD, N.C. — While FirstHealth of the Carolinas and Pinehurst Surgical Clinic have worked together for decades to care for patients throughout the region, a new provider service agreement between the organizations in Sanford gives people in Lee County and beyond greater access to specialty medical services.
That was good news for Siler City resident Jeff Riggs, who underwent a total hip replacement earlier this year. Riggs works in the gene therapy division of Pfizer in Sanford and ensures its facilities adhere to stringent manufacturing regulatory guidelines. He is constantly on the move.
A lifetime of sports led to hip and shoulder issues. For years, Riggs received non-surgical care such as steroid injections from Pinehurst Surgical Clinic orthopaedic physician Neil Conti M.D. in the practice’s Sanford office. However, in late 2020, Riggs’ hip took a turn for the worse. Moving was painful and difficult.
“We always try non-operative measures first, but they weren’t successful for Jeff, so surgery was our best option,” said Dr. Conti. He performed a hip replacement on Riggs at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst in early February 2021.
Just before Riggs’ surgery, Pinehurst Surgical Clinic’s orthopaedic practice in Sanford moved to FirstHealth’s Lee Campus at 2919 Beechtree Drive in Sanford off US Highways 1 and 15-501 and near 421. The 65,000 square-foot building opened in 2018 and houses numerous medical offices and the area’s only medically based fitness center.
Riggs was one of the first orthopaedic patients to receive follow-up care from Pinehurst Surgical Clinic providers at FirstHealth’s Lee Campus. The new location offers on-site physical therapy and state-of-the-art imaging, including digital x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT).
“The new facility is beautiful and gives patients and families confidence that they are getting great medical care,” said Dr. Conti.
For Riggs, the new location is a convenient commute from home and work. “The location is outstanding,” said Riggs. “The new office is just a mile from Pfizer’s front gate.” Living in Siler City, he noted that trips from home to the Lee Campus take only 20 minutes instead of 45 minutes to Pinehurst.
Just eight weeks after his surgery, Riggs was back on the golf course and at work soon after. He looks forward to walks without pain when he visits the Florida Keys later this year.
“FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital is a larger hospital with a strong history of success,” said Dr. Conti. “This partnership between Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and FirstHealth allows Lee County and nearby residents to get surgical care at a top-flight hospital and subsequent follow-up care close to home.”
Dr. Conti’s mention of “top-flight” refers to the many national awards FirstHealth of the Carolinas earns annually, including those from Healthgrades. For the past three years, FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital – Pinehurst earned the national Joint Replacement Excellence Award™ by Healthgrades for superior hip and knee replacement outcomes. Healthgrades also heralded Moore Regional in 2021 with its national Patient Safety Excellence Award™ and Outstanding Patient Experience Award™.
In addition to orthopaedics, patients can receive specialty care from Pinehurst Surgical Clinic providers at the FirstHealth Lee Campus for ear, nose and throat; OB/GYN; urology; and vascular and vein.
“For more than 75 years, Pinehurst Surgical Clinic has provided high-quality care to the residents of our area,” said David Grantham, M.D., president of Pinehurst Surgical Clinic. “We are excited to partner with FirstHealth in Lee County to increase health care access for those residents. We envision a great opportunity to provide high-value care there indefinitely.”
Mickey Foster, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, said he is pleased that more patients now have easier access to excellent care. “As a Lee County native, I’m especially excited to see these expanded services in my hometown,” he said. “I’m also thrilled that we can continue to grow our relationship with Pinehurst Surgical Clinic. Our organizations are both committed to providing exceptional care, and we look forward to seeing new options come to Lee County.”
The FirstHealth Lee Campus also offers primary care, convenient care, back and neck pain services, neurology services through a partnership with UNC Health Neurosurgery and Spine, and cardiology and pulmonology services in partnership with Pinehurst Medical Clinic.