By JONI TRUEX
Public Relations Director, Kosciusko Leadership Academy
The Kosciusko Leadership Academy met at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center to learn about the Orthopaedic industry at a session sponsored by the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mary Kittrell welcomed KLA Cadets and provided an overview of tourism in Kosciusko county.
Bob Hastings, a research director of DePuy Synthes, provided a history of the orthopaedic industry in Kosciusko County. Warsaw is the Orthopaedic Capital of the world due to the largest concentration of orthopaedic headquarters, manufacturers and providers. In 1895, Revra DePuy operated DePuy Manufacturing out of Hotel Hayes. The first product manufactured was paper fiber splints. As the company grew and changed locations, additional employees were added. Several of these employees went on to start their own orthopaedic companies, including Zimmer, OEC, Biomet, among others.
Executive Director of OrthoWorx, Brad Bishop, provided information about OrthoWorx which was formed to promote, protect and advance the Orthopedic industry. Zimmer, headquartered in Warsaw, remains the largest employer in town and is the industry leader in knee replacements.
Zimmer and Biomet are in the process of seeking approval to form one company from the two. OrthoWorx was created in 2009 as a forum for companies and the community to work together. OrthoWorx concentrates on branding and awareness, education and schools, and skills for the orthopedic industry. STEM education is only one of the many programs started by OrthoWorx.
Director of Product Management, Hips at Biomet, Seth Nash, offered a global perspective and introspective look at the U.S. market. The current world population density and income growth shows there are areas outside of the United States that are rapidly growing in regards to the population’s ability to pay for medical costs.
“Globally, the orthopedic market is still a growth industry. Maybe the new reality is one to five percent growth a year, overall, where double digit growth was the norm” stated Nash. Medical Device Excise Tax is limiting the ability for companies to invest. Medical devices are not the driving increases in health care costs as medical devices have increased only slightly.
Warsaw will be the first to realize what the future combined Zimmer and Biomet companies’ impact on the community will be.