This page will help to keep you updated about our office, important health information and concierge medicine in general. (Disclaimer)
Also, please feel free to enter your own comment about the office, about concierge medicine or about any of the articles you see listed here.
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News and Updates
We now have a new answering service which is dedicated to serving the health care community. This is different than the usual generic (non-medical) answering services in that they are more understanding of the needs of our patients. The number to call is the same as our office number - 757-416-6750 - which connects to the answering service after hours and on weekends and Holidays. You may get a brief recorded message first, but you should be able to talk with a live trained operator within 30 seconds, avoiding the long wait times often associated with other answering services.
As your concierge medicine office, we are always looking for ways to improve the quality of your health care. Please let us know how this new service is working for you.
Thank you, as always, for allowing us the honor of providing for your health care in the best way possible.
These are the vaccines that would be most appropriate for patients in our age groups. HD (High Dose) is recommended for most seniors.
IIV3—High Dose—Egg based† (HD-IIV3) Fluzone High-Dose (Sanofi Pasteur) Age ≥65 yrs Dose: 60 μg/0.5 mL
IIV3—Standard Dose—Egg based† with MF59 adjuvant (aIIV3) Fluad (Seqirus) Age ≥65 yrs Dose: 15 μg/0.5 mL
RIV4—Recombinant HA Flublok Quadrivalent (Sanofi Pasteur) Age ≥18 yrs Dose: 45 μg/0.5 mL
The full article on CDC recommendations can be found at the following link...
BIG NEWS for our patients who have HSA accounts!! A little known executive order signed in June of 2019 supports Direct Primary Care practices like ours by allowing patients with HSA accounts to pay the doctors' fees from those accounts, which in effect allows those expenses to be tax deductible! As always in these matters, check with your accountant for details.
Excerpt from Executive Order signed on June 24,2019 (Section 6 b):
"b) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of the Treasury, to the extent consistent with law, shall propose regulations to treat expenses related to certain types of arrangements, potentially including direct primary care arrangements and healthcare sharing ministries, as eligible medical expenses under section 213(d) of title 26, United States Code."
Check out our new upgraded Medical Information site for our patients...
I thought the wonderful Doctors were all gone. Alas , All is not lost! They Care!! They Listen! They are your trusted advocates and advisors! I
Gloria Siegel, trained PWR instructor, hosts exercise classes for Parkinson's patients once a week on Fridays at 1:00 PM at the following address:
Good Shepherd Lutheral Church
1489 Laskin Rd., Va Beach, VA
Patients give Gloria's classes excellent reviews.
Call our office at 416-6750 to learn how to contact her or go to her facebook page.
How often have you left the doctor's office, having been told of a new diagnosis, and not really remembering much of what he or she said? Or perhaps you just want more information about it.
How often has a family member asked you, "What did the doctor say?", or "What's wrong with you and how can it be treated?" Well, now you can access our Health Library located on this website and get information that's easy to understand. You can print pages to keep in your personal health record, or you can easily email the information to family members. Just enter your diagnosis or medical condition in the search box and get the information you need.
Looking for some reliable, updated, easy-to-understand information about health insurance in the U.S., and how it is affected by Obamacare? Check out this site...
How much do you really know about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?
First, take the health reform quiz at the Kaiser Family Foundation site.
Then check out the July 7, 2012 blog entry on the Art of Patient Care website for links to some factual information about it.
Or, go to the following websites...
Hepatitis C is a common infection of the liver affecting about 150 million people worldwide. After the initial infection, about 85% of the time the virus remains in the liver causing a slow inflammatory process that does not cause any symptoms, but over many years can lead to the development of cirrhosis and eventually liver failure.
The infection can be spread by transfusion (especially for those transfused before 1992), IV drug use, tattooing, body piercing, healthcare exposure, and probably by sexual activity.
There are treatments available for Hepatitis C, which can result in a 50-80% cure rate, but you have to know you have it first.
About 50% of people have it and don't know it.
Prior recommendations for testing only included certain high risk groups of people. However, a recent study suggests that screening for Hepatitis C should be broadened to include all adults between the ages of 20 and 69. If this is done, liver-related mortality will decrease by 1% for every 15% of the population tested.
If you would like to be tested or have any questions about it, please let us know or talk to your physician about it.
We are always looking for better ways to communicate with our patients and colleagues, so when a new, free, secure internet-based messaging system became available, we had to investigate.
Twistle is a new, password-protected, email-based messaging system that was created specifically for doctors' offices that allows patients and doctors to type messages to each other and send documents and even pictures back and forth. This is similar to text messaging or instant messaging, only much more secure. It allows direct communication to your personal physician or to the office staff for things like setting up appointments, refilling prescriptions, asking billing questions or even non-emergent medical questions. Your doctor will be able to easily send you lab or X-ray results and you will be able to respond or ask questions.
Of course, you still have all the other options of communicating with us as before - including calling the office staff, or calling your physician directly, or even using regular email although Twistle could easily take the place of the latter option much more securely than before.
You have to be invited to sign up, so if this is something you would like to try, please let the office staff or your doctor know so that we can send you an email invitation.
You can see how easy it is to get set up with this program on the following instruction page... Twistle Instructions
Many of our patients who use Express Scripts for their long-term medications have been dismayed by the recent loss of association between Express Scripts and Walgreens.
What we are suggesting for those patients is that they should consider signing up with CVS CareMark. They should go ahead and establish an account now. Then when they need a medication renewed that previously was handled by Express Scripts, let us know, so that we can call it into CVS Caremark. This seems to be the easiest and smoothest way of making the transfer.
The new April Newsletter is now available for download. Go to the following link below this text to download your copy. All the past issues are there for you to see as well.
Also don't forget to sign up to get all future VBPM newsletters delivered directly to your email box!
Don't forget to download your newest copy of the VBPM Connection! The December issue is now available. You can also download all the past issues from this page...
The October newsletter is now available for download. It's full of news and tips to help you stay healthy!
Due to the increased risk of heart problems, the FDA has restricted the use of Avandia (rosiglitazone) to those diabetic patients in whom no other treatment is effective or tolerated. The Europeans have banned its use altogether in those countries. If you are on Avandia, don't stop it right away, but you should contact your physician and see if any other treatment could be substituted effectively.
People often ask what they can do to keep their blood pressure down without having to take medication. "Eat less salt" is the usual quick answer, but sometimes it's not always easy knowing how to go about doing this. This handout from the Prescriber's Letter may help - "How to Eat Less Salt".
An even better diet however is the one called the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. This includes salt reduction, but goes further to help reduce saturated fat and cholesterol and increase fiber. It not only lowers blood pressure but decreases risk of heart disease as well. Click the link below to learn more about it.
When it rains, it pours! Here's another study showing evidence suggesting that the widely used ARBs (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers) - specifically telmisartan, but may include others like losartan, valsartan, etc. may modestly increase the risk of cancer, particularly lung cancer. These drugs have been shown to be very beneficial in the treatment of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. They actually reduce mortality in those conditions. So, if you are on one of these drugs, DON'T stop it immediately. It may be helping you more than harming you. The best thing to do is discuss it with your doctor and see if there may be an appropriate substitute for you, or if the benefit of continuing the drug is greater than the risk. To help put the risk in perspective, the overall risk of developing some type of cancer in a person's lifetime is around 41%. According to this study, taking an ARB over 4 years increases the risk by 1.2% - not that much, relatively speaking. In addition, the study did not show any increase in the number of cancer deaths.
A new article appeared in the British Medical Journal showing evidence that suggests that if you use drugs like Fosamax, Boniva or Actonel for a prolonged period of time, there may be an increased risk of esophageal cancer. The usual risk in the average population is around 1 out of a thousand. If you take one of these oral bisphosphonates for 5 years or more, the risk goes up to 2 out of a thousand. This is just one more thing to consider when deciding whether or how long to stay on one of these drugs. You have to weigh the risk of developing multiple bone fractures due to osteoporosis vs. the increased risk of esophageal cancer. If you're taking one of these medications, you may want to have your doctor help you decide whether or how long to continue.
A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that those people who ate a low carbohydrate diet substituted with animal sources had a higher mortality rate than those who ate a low carbohydrate diet with vegetable sources. In other words, it depends on what you eat in place of the carbohydrates. If you eat mostly eggs, bacon, and red meat this is not good for you. If you substitute vegetables like green beans, broccoli and other vegetables in place of the carbs, you will fare better in the long run. However, the accompanying editorial indicated that more studies are needed, before we can close the case on this. Stay tuned.
Here's a good way for our current members to get a significant discount on next year's fee!
After September 1, 2010 , and for the next 6 months, for every patient that you refer who actually joins the practice, we will give you $200 off your next year's fee!
Many patients like to find out more information about their symptoms or illnesses on their own through Internet research. The Medical Resources page on this site can help you find almost anything you want to know from reliable, reputable sites. One of the best programs I know that has the most complete information available for both professionals and patients alike is UpToDate. You can use the following link to look up almost any medical topic that you want.
Flu shots are available now, although most doctors believe the best time to start giving them is in mid September through October and November. They can be given as late as Feb or March. The H1N1 will be incorporated into the main flu vaccine along with 2 other strains this year so there should not be a need for 2 separate shots.
There are lots of myths that have floated around over the years about flu shots. Here is a document derived from the CDC that may help to dispel some of these myths...
Calcium metabolism and Vitamin D are very important for maintenance of strong bones and muscles. However, there has been some controversy recently about the safety of Calcium supplements. Here is an article from the Prescribers' Letter that may help explain this further...