Who’s Who: James Walter Simmons, III, D.O., Ph.D.

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Bone loss and subsequent fractures accompanied with aging is significant. Patients with osteoporosis have a 1 year mortality rate after a hip or spinal fracture due to low bone density. Osteoporosis is treatable, but often goes untreated because it is unnoticed by the patient. When a fracture occurs, the patient is typically treated for the fracture at a hospital without a follow-up with the primary care physician to address the long-term problem of osteoporosis. The annual cost of osteoporosis-driven fracture is $17 billion in healthcare and $47 billion in indirect costs.

In 2014, James Simmons, D.O., Ph.D., established the South Texas Fracture Prevention Clinic to address this need, using the Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) program. The FLS program is outpatient-based, but includes interfacing with hospital-based providers to promote bone health assessment and treatment after discharge.  The FLS program is part of the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s (IOF) Capture the Fracture program, and the only one in Texas. During the first few years of the South Texas Fracture Prevention Clinic, the clinic was economically stressed, as many did not understand the value or were even aware the program existed. Dr. Simmons pushed the concept forward because of its importance for society, both medically and economically. The program has seen tremendous growth in improved healthcare for seniors in the San Antonio region. In 2019, they treated over 2000 patients. The program is the first in Texas to earn a Bronze Star from the National Osteoporosis Foundation for the number of patients served.

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