September 2016

I would like to nominate Dr. Cara Wylie, DPM, for the AHA Gold Star Award for “stellar” service. Dr. Wylie is a podiatrist at the University of Colorado Hospital and Clinical Instructor for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Surgery at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

My story is about finding care for my son, and being so moved by the experience that I felt compelled to write. By way of background, my son has struggled with ingrown toenails for years and has had multiple temporary procedures to provide relief until his feet stop growing. These are painful procedures and the results only last a few months. In the past, we had this work done in east Denver where his pediatrician is located. Now a teenager, his feet seem to have stopped growing at size 13 so we were seeking a permanent solution. I was looking for a new podiatrist for this more serious procedure.

Two things brought us to needing a new provider. First, the former podiatrist treated his feet several times, took my insurance card and accepted the co-payment each time. Several months later the office called to say that actually they were not an “in-network” provider for our health insurance plan and I would have to pay the uninsured rate—I owed them for work already provided amounting to more than $500! I was upset that they had not realized this issue sooner, but indeed work had been done and I had to pay. I needed a podiatrist within our insurance network. Secondly, as there are risks with any procedure I was hoping to find someone at the CU School of Medicine; I believe their providers are the best in their fields and would minimize the risk of rare bad outcomes like permanent neuropathic pain and even amputation! I found Cara Wylie, DPM at UC Hospital and she far exceeded our expectations.

As we entered the orthopedics waiting area at the UCHospital outpatient pavilion I became uneasy about my choice of this new provider—we saw many people coming and going including nurses, technicians, and doctors, and many patients who were struggling to move. I became anxious that we would be lost in the shuffle, anxious that my son’s health needs would be treated as unimportant compared to the more serious illnesses around us, and anxious that this big healthcare environment would be difficult to navigate and manage. I am sharing this story because this healthcare experience was one of the best I have ever experienced.

The UCH employees who greeted us were pleasant and helpful, quick and clear both before and after the procedure. Dr. Wylie was gentle, careful, detailed and knowledgeable. When we saw her first for consultation and then for the procedure she reviewed all possible risks and benefits in detail that I had never heard before. She explained the actions she would take to minimize the risks and wrote everything down for me. It is a painful procedure and my son marveled at how much better she was in explaining and treating him as compared to past experiences. I watched her work expertly and was amazed at her care for big and little things. She gave us materials we needed for aftercare and even her personal cell phone number with instructions to call with any questions. She made the next appointment right there in the room. Wow, this was professional and personal. My son’s toes are healing well and look great. I was thrilled, and immediately resolved to share this Gold Star story. I give Dr. Cara Wylie and the care team at UCH Orthopedics “five stars” for the care we received, thank you!