Q & A: Jorge Perez Lopez, MDBeyond Magazine
Jan 12, 2021
Jorge Perez Lopez, MD, is the Medical Director of the Halifax Health | Brooks Rehabilitation Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation within Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach, Fla. Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), Dr. Lopez graduated from San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine/University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. Dr. Lopez belongs to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Association as well as the Medical Association of Puerto Rico.
Formed in 2013, the Halifax Health | Brooks Rehabilitation partnership today includes the Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation, a 40-bed acute inpatient rehabilitation unit, and seven outpatient clinics located throughout Central Florida.
When did you first think about becoming a physician?
Probably when I was a teenager. I played a lot of sports and suffered some injuries. I became fascinated with sports medicine and the rehabilitation afterward.
Is that why you ultimately chose physiatry?
I had thought of orthopedics first, but my personality was more in tune with PM&R. In rehabilitation, you have to focus on everything – a patient’s issues may all be interconnected. I enjoy helping patients become independent and getting back to their lives and communities.
How did you get connected to Halifax Health | Brooks Rehabilitation?
In 2013, I was finishing my third year of residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. I’m originally from Puerto Rico, so I was looking for something closer to home. One of my fellow residents told me about this new Halifax/Brooks unit opening in Daytona Beach. I did my research on Brooks and the area, and it was the only placed I applied.
What was it like to help start up a new facility?
It was a little nerve wracking at first, going from being a resident to helping run a new practice. The original Halifax/Brooks Medical Director was a mentor and a monumental influence for me. It was great to have the framework of the Brooks organization yet still grow something from the beginning with your own ideas.
Halifax Health | Brooks Rehabilitation is now in its seventh year. How is it going?
Very well. Our 40-bed inpatient unit is consistently filled at 36 to 38 patients and is often at full capacity. We may look to add 10 more beds – there is certainly a need. As our partner, we’ve traditionally drawn a large majority of our patients from Halifax Health Medical Center. Now, with the opening of the Halifax Health | UF Health Medical Center in Deltona, we could see more referrals. We’re also seeing growing referrals from other providers throughout the area. In 2018, Halifax/Brooks opened five outpatient rehabilitation clinics in our Volusia county and neighboring Flagler county, and we’re actively seeking a physician to help grow the clinics.
When deciding on where to go for rehabilitation, what sets Halifax Health | Brooks Rehabilitation apart?
When we opened, I believe we immediately became the best option in the area and still are today. As an inpatient, you’ll see a PM&R doctor every day. Our therapy sessions – at three hours a day – are longer and more intense than you’ll get elsewhere. And, if you were or still are a Daytona Beach Halifax Health Medical Center patient, your other doctors are literally steps away. We employ cutting-edge technology and are experts at treating the most complex cases. We have a dedicated staff of therapists who are all committed to Brooks. It’s a great team.