Giving Up Traditional Insurance
Cori is an avid football fan and is loyal to our Kansas City Chiefs. Last spring she set out on a transformation that has changed her life.
Not only does she look fantastic but she feels healthier and happier with her progress. She is a mother of three active children and is excited to be setting a good example for them by being healthier and taking care of herself.
Cori’s encouragement for others is to be prepared for hard work. The results will not be instant and expect setbacks. It really is about making small steps towards a bigger goal.
How did she do it? Hard work. Nothing compensates for hard work. She began running and really watching her diet. Her diet focus was not only about healthier choices but also portion control. Cori has completed two half-marathons and has plans for more.
Go Cori and Go Chiefs!
Ann Riggs, DO
I recently had the opportunity to experience the pitfalls of my own commercial health
insurance. I tell patients all the time “the proof is in the pudding.” Well it was my turn to see how this pudding really was in the health insurance world.
This past fall my daughter was hit with yet another bout of strep throat. She has fought it throughout her young life. At the age of seven I made the call to consult with one of my favorite ENT docs. It was an easy decision that she would do better if we proceeded with tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
I, like so many of my patients, have a high deductible plan that I have married with an HSA(Health Savings Account). I knew the bulk if not all of the cost of the procedure would be my responsibility. I did not hesitate to ask for cash pricing.
Insurance Negotiated Pricing vs Cash Pricing
Pricing for any surgical procedure needs to include the following fees:
- Surgeon’s Fee
- Anesthesiologist’s Fee
- Surgical Facility’s Fee
INSURANCE NEGOTIATED PRICING:
|Anesthesiologist + Facility||$2624.00|
FINAL PRICING AND SAVINGS:
I was actually able to pay the insurance negotiated pricing for the surgeon and the cash pricing for the anesthesiologist and the facility. My final pricing was $1830.34 for the entire procedure. And there lies the proof in the pudding:
Almost $1200 in Savings
Happy Healthy Kid at Great Cost Savings by Paying Cash
Ann Riggs, DO
The recent commercial promoting screening for hepatitis C in the Baby Boomers has scared many of my patients and their friends. Scare tactics usually work for a desired action, but is this really necessary? I would argue it is not.
Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted by blood exposure. It is estimated that almost 3.2 million people in the United States have the virus.
The hepatitis C virus can cause liver damage, can cause cancer, and can cause death because of the liver damage or cancer. You can also have the virus and never develop symptoms.
Risks for acquiring hepatitis C:
tattoos, blood transfusions, organ recipients, accidental needle sticks, IV drug use, and sexual intercourse
Pharmaceutical companies that have a vested interest in the drugs used to treat hepatitis C have a lot to profit with increased diagnosis. With increased screening, we get increased diagnosis which leads to increased usage of medications which leads to huge monetary gains for the pharmaceutical companies. While we do not include hepatitis testing in our routine labs we do recommend annual evaluation of liver enzymes which indirectly looks for the presence of hepatitis C.
And while I have certainly lost patients from a variety of disease processes, I have never had a patient die from hepatitis C…don’t be scared regarding this issue, talk to your doctor.
Ann Riggs, DO
Whether you are traveling or hosting the holidays, this time of year brings with it an abundance of stress. Finding the perfect gifts and dealing with difficult family members can, for some, overshadow the reason for the season. Oh, and everyday life keeps on ticking as well.
What can we do to slow down, relax, remain healthy and enjoy??
Try this simple breathing exercise. It’s called the 4-7-8 breath and can actually alter our nervous system. It is calming and relaxing, it is free and it is easy!
First, exhale completely, blow all that stress and frustration OUT.
Second, inhale through your nose to the mental count of 4.
Third, hold your breath for a mental count of 7.
Next, exhale through your mouth to a mental count of 8.
Lastly, repeat this sequence for a total of 4 breath cycles.
I recommend starting and ending your day with this breathing exercise and adding it in any time you feel stressed throughout your day.
This is quick, anyone can do it and it has research proven health/relaxation benefits.
This simple breathing technique can help us erase some of the stress in our busy lives.
The power of the breath! Is it really that easy? Try it and find out. Prepare to be Dazzled!!
—Beckie Moore, Integrative Family Nurse Practitioner
Role of Magnesium
Magnesium is #12 on the Periodic Table and is a mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions. There are over 300 reactions in your body that depend on this vital mineral.
It is estimated that 80% of individuals would benefit from magnesium supplementation. Magnesium is not checked on routine lab evaluations. Common signs of possible magnesium deficiency are below:
- dark leafy greens
- whole grains
- dried fruit
- dark chocolate
There are so many forms of magnesium salts used for repletion and supplementation.
- Magnesium Ascorbate
- Magnesium Aspartate
- Magnesium Bicarbonate
- Magnesium Carbonate
- Magnesium Chloride
- Magnesium Citrate
- Magnesium Fumarate
- Magnesium Gluconate
- Magnesium Glutamate
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Magnesium Hydroxide
- Magnesium Lactate
- Magnesium Lysinate
- Magnesium Malate
- Magnesium Orotate
- Magnesium Oxide
Which is best??? And to be honest until writing this blog I had never considered the differences. In my research, I now recommend one of the following:
Magnesium Citrate–induces more gastrointestinal side effects for individuals that may suffer from constipation
Magnesium Glycinate–induces less gastrointestinal side effects for individuals that do not have any constipation issues
Magnesium Oxide–most available, affordable and side effect profile more neutral
Ann Riggs, DO
**disclaimer: noted misspellings/grammatical errors in graphics but felt graphics value outweighed the errors.
Direct Medical Care Introduces Beckie Moore, APRN
Beckie Moore, APRN was born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in Platte County, Missouri. After 12 years in Platte City, Missouri, she and her family settled just north of Dearborn, Missouri, where she enjoys her time away from patient care on her farm. Beckie graduated valedictorian from North Platte High School in 1983. She has been an RN since 1987. Beckie went on to earn her Master’s degree in nursing from the University of Missouri, Kansas City in 1999. As a Family Nurse Practitioner in the Northland for over a decade, Beckie noticed patients interested in and seeking alternative options that were not taught in her traditional western medicine education. Seeking answers and education for herself, she discovered that the University of Arizona offered a two year medical fellowship in Integrative Medicine. Beckie completed her fellowship in 2016. She hopes to compliment patient care with her new knowledge base. Her passion is treating root causes of illnesses and promoting wellness at every turn.
But Doctor I am not eating that much…
While there are always exceptions rarely does one become overweight by not eating.
The balancing act of creating a calorie deficit is key for weight loss. Please see my prior blog post regarding the fundamentals of weight loss:
Calories Consumed < Calories Expended= Weight Loss
It can be one misstep in your day that will sabotage all your good efforts. Stealing the term introduced to me by an inspiring patient, I would like to bring “the calorie creep” to life in the pictures below:
Keep in mind it does not have to be junk food that can be your calorie creep–avoid the creep in whatever form!
Ann Riggs, DO
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- Puffey eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Asthma flares
- Difficulty breathing
One of the most common allergens is grasses and specifically timothy grass. We are seeing these right now. While preventive treatment is ideal, treatment is currently focused on relieving the symptoms. There is a new option for allergy sufferers of common grasses for future seasons. The middle of freezing temperatures is when the grasses are dormant. It is that time that preventive treatment needs to start.
The newest option to treat for the timothy grass allergen is Grastek. This is immunotherapy in a pill. For those that have endured the weekly shots this is a novel, relatively painless approach to immunotherapy that can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Grastek covers Timothy grasses but also has cross coverage to other grasses.
It should be started for seasonal care 12 weeks ahead of pollen and throughout the season or taken consecutively for 3 years.
Click on the following link for more information on administration of Grastek.
Another common allergen that is on the horizon is ragweed. Fortunately, our timing of discussing this form of treatment is ideal. The same manufacturer of Grastek has developed a similar treatment for ragweed with the prescription drug Ragwitek.
Ragwitek like Grastek should be taken 12 weeks before the allergen season. In this geographic area the typical ragweed season begins about August 15. That gives an estimated start date of the medication in mid-May.
Ragwitek is taken similarly to Grastek with pre-seasonal and seasonal administration or continuous administration for 3 years.
TRADITIONAL ALLERGY CARE
- Loratadine–Claritin, Alavert
- Montelukast Sodium–Singulair
- Oxymetazoline–Afrin, Sinex
- Ipratropium Bromide–Atrovent
While avoidance can be difficult here are some pointers that may help:
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is high especially between 5AM to 10 AM when pollen counts are highest
- Wear a mask when mowing or avoid mowing altogether
- Choose grasses for your lawn that produce less pollen–dichondra and irish moss are some examples
- Mow frequently to keep grass short
- Keep windows closed
- Avoid attic fans
- Bathe pets frequently
- Do not dry clothes outdoors
- Minimize alcohol intake as it leads to dehydration and increased sensitivity to allergens
Another topic to come…How do I know what I am allergic to?
Ann Riggs, DO