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Mountain Home prosthetic company listed as one of best small businesses in the U.S.

Mountain Home is a great place to live.

Its lush forests and lakes draw in thousands of tourists every year, fueling a rapidly growing economy that has turned the area into one of the best places in the state and country to work.

The city’s brewery is listed as the No. 1 brewery in the state on TripAdvisor.

Baxter Regional Medical Center, the area’s largest employer, is Magnet certified and has received awards from Modern Healthcare’s ‘Best Place to Work 2021’ and Arkansas’s ‘Best Business to Work 2021.’

Mountain Home is also home to JP&O Prosthetic & Orthotic Lab, one of 2020/2021’s winners of Small Business Expo’s ‘The Best of Small Business Award,’ one of the country’s most prestigious awards for small businesses with under 75 employees.

“It was the Small Business 100. So, it was the top 100 small businesses under 75 employees nationally,” said Matt Shimmel, director of administrative operations for JP&O. “A lot of it was how we handled the pandemic. How we were able to stay operational and all that throughout the pandemic.”

JP&O was started in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in 1989 by David and Robin Yates and has expanded to over eight facilities across Arkansas and Missouri since its inception. Its Mountain Home facility, built in 2000, functions as the northern Arkansas leading prosthetic lab.

In 2007, JP&O built another lab in Harrison, Arkansas, before expanding in Batesville in 2008 and Branson, Missouri in 2010. The company most recently built a second lab in Jonesboro.

Rob Yates, the son of David and Robin Yates, took over as CEO for the company in 2007, helping to expand business outward. The Yates family merged with Ottobock, a larger German prosthetics company.

“In the last year, we were invested in by Ottobock,” Shimmel said. “They’re a German-owned company, and they’re the leading manufacturer in prosthetic devices and componentry. Rob is still our CEO. The only real difference is in who cuts our checks. We’re still fully operational, and we still do everything that we always did.”

JP&O focuses on providing comprehensive support to amputees by providing bracing solutions and full custom limbs.

The Mountain Home facility features a fully operational prosthetics lab that can create a full limb for patients from scratch. The facility also keeps a full-time physical therapist on staff to assist patients in recovery.  

Patients can usually receive their new limb, with training on how to use it, within 4-6 weeks from first meeting staff members at JP&O.

Prosthetic limbs can run from anywhere between $10,000 to $60,000, depending on what’s needed for the patient. JP&O offers a free evaluation to every patient after their primary care physician releases them.

“So, once they’re released from their doctor, we’ll bring them in for a free evaluation,” said Kyle Jetton, clinical team lead for JP&O’s Mountain Home facility. “Kind of get some history and goals of what they want to be able to do or get back to. And then, once we make a plan considering those goals, we provide them with the best technology available to meet their needs and make their life easier.”

Over the past four years, JP&O Mountain Home has assisted in over 38,000 services in the local area.

Most of that support has gone to bracing knee, spinal and wrist injuries, though the facility still sees its fair share of amputees. Most amputees that come through the doors at JP&O have diabetes and have to amputate one of their legs below the knee.

Diabetes complications can include nerve damage and poor blood circulation. These problems make the feet vulnerable to skin sores that can worsen quickly.

Treatments for foot ulcers vary depending on the severity of the wound. In general, the treatment employs methods to remove dead tissue or debris, keep the wound clean, and promote healing. Wounds need to be monitored frequently, at least every one to four weeks.

When the condition results in a severe loss of tissue or a life-threatening infection, an amputation may be the only option, and a surgeon will remove the damaged tissue to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible.

“We do everything from wrist splints to knee bracing. Spinal and lumbar back bracing,” Shimmel said. “Kyle sees most of the prosthetic patients, and most of those are below the knee amputees. They are mainly caused by diabetic and dysvascular issues. Poorly managed diabetes is the driving factor.”

JP&O has a full team of limb specials that work on each prosthetic from start to finish. The lab, where the crew spends most of its time, features its own furnace, which is used to heat the plastic needed to create a limb.

After heating, the plastic shell is then molded into the correct shape over a plaster model of a patient’s limb before moving on to final sculpting, lamination, and assembly.

“Once they get a cast, we break it out and now have a copy of this person’s residual limb,“ Shimmel said. “Once we get the residual, they draw in the trim lines, and then they pull the plastic. Then they’ll bring it in and bust it out. And he’ll have his trim lines, and he can cut everything off, and then they have what they call a check socket. Once the check socket is good, it’s good to go.”

For more information on JP&O Prosthetic & Orthotic Lab, please call (870) 425-3252.

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