Douglas Cipriano, MD
I moved to Sandpoint in 1994 after completing my Orthopedic Training at the University of Utah. My intention after training had been to return to Colorado, where I grew up and attended the University of Colorado for both undergrad and medical school. My father, mother and three brothers moved to Sandpoint while I was still in school, I had visited Sandpoint for Christmas, but never really spent much time here. My mother called one day and wondered if I would consider coming to Sandpoint. My father was the only Orthopedic Surgeon in town at the time, and he was looking for some help. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn the “business” side of medicine, get to know my father better, and watch my brothers grow up. I planned on being here a few years then likely moving to a larger facility. I am still here.
Medicine always changes, we discover new medications, new techniques and new ways to make our patients better. The “business” of medicine changes as well. I have been blessed in Sandpoint to have a wonderful, loyal base of patients. People that not only turn to me for care, but turn and say “hi” when they see me on the street. They ask about my kids, my wife, and how my practice is going. The benefits of a small town practice have no price. The benefits come in the day to day acknowledgment through patients that say “hi” and “thank-you” and let you know that what you do in life is worthwhile. I have stayed in Sandpoint long after I had planned to, because these priceless benefits mean more to me than making more money in a larger town. I have been able to build a large practice and offer technology such as an open MRI to my patients. I was able to grow Sandpoint Orthopedics into something I was proud of.
Unfortunately, medicine is also a business. Over the years, despite a loyal patient base, the need to hire more personnel, provide better up-to-date technology, and provide state of the art care has driven the cost of running a practice higher. When you combine that with a limited population and many orthopedic providers to compete with, I felt the monetary pressure to close my practice and move to a larger community.
Instead, Bonner General Health offered a partnership opportunity. Through the years I have worked collaboratively with Bonner General Health. I served as Chief of Staff, have been on the Board of Directors, and continue on as Chief of Surgery. This hospital is truly special. It is remarkable that a facility with this level of technology and knowledgeable staff is able to survive in a community this small. So many times, that I cannot count, patients have remarked to me about how exceptional their care was. Out of town patients have remarked that their care was better than they ever received in larger big name hospitals, in their home cities. While we have cutting edge technology, and well educated doctors, a lot of that praise is because of the quality of our nursing. Because we are a smaller hospital, they have the time to attend to the needs of our patients.
I am proud to start this new phase of my career in building a world class orthopedic department for Bonner General Health. I truly believe this is a hospital worth the community’s pride and support.