Tonawanda News

September 19, 2013

KMH seeks patient for free joint replacement

Staff reports
The Tonawanda News

KENMORE — For the right patient, a new effort by Kenmore Mercy Hospital could make a huge — even life-changing — difference.

The hospital is seeking a patient in need to receive a free joint replacement surgery by Dr. John Repicci as part of Operation Walk USA, a nationwide effort dedicated to improving the lives and mobility of uninsured patients. The service will include all aspects of the surgery, including hospitalization and pre- and post-operative care at no cost.

Dawn Cwierley, public relations manager for Kenmore Mercy Hospital, said the hospital sought prospective recipients through primary care offices, but since one of the criteria is that the patient not have insurance, that cut back on the candidates who would actually be seeing primary doctors.

“This is a really great opportunity for someone who has needed something who has been putting it off,” she said. “It’s an expensive process for people.”

This marks the first year KMH is participating in Operation Walk USA, Cwierley said. The participation is due to the urging of Dr. Repicci, one of the hospital’s original orthopedic physicians

“He really wanted to be involved with this,” Cwierley said. “It’s a great opportunity to extend the mission behind Kenmore Mercy. And all the pieces are falling together this year to make this possible.”

To qualify to be considered for the surgery, a prospective patient must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; fall within 100 to 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and have no access to third-party medical care insurance such as Medicaid, state-funded programs, etc.; require either a primary total hip or primary total knee replacement surgery only; and live no further than a one-hour car ride or 60 miles from Kenmore Mercy Hospital. Those who live outside the recommended area may be accepted into the program at the discretion of KMH. A stable living situation in which to recover is also a requirement.

“Regardless of circumstances, people in need should have relief from debilitating joint conditions and receive a new lease on life,” Repicci said in a press release. “This is the essence of Operation Walk USA.”

Those interested should call 447-6102 to see if they qualify. Eligible patients will be referred to a screening process. To learn more about Operation Walk USA, visit



TO LEARN MORE • Interested patients should call 447-6102 to see if they qualify. • For more information on Operation Walk USA, visit