BMN Blog

NOV 16
Hepatitis C Screening for Primary Care Physicians By David M. Fettig, MD, Birmingham Gastroenterology Associates in Clinical

An estimated 3.5 million people in the United States are infected with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Many of these people do not know they are infected and are not receiving care or treatment.  The CDC estimates that while Baby Boomers (born 1945-1965) comprise only 27% of the US population, they account for approximately three fourths of all HCV infections.  Therefore, they are at greatest risk for hepatocellular carcinoma and other HCV-related liver disease.  HCV is now the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer in the US. 

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NOV 06
Parkinson’s By Cheryl Pierce, Occupational, Certified LSVT BIG Therapist at Healthsouth Lakeshore in Clinical

Parkinson’s is recognized as the second most neurodegenerative disorder right behind Alzheimer’s. An estimated 7 to 10 million people have Parkinson’s disease worldwide, with 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s being diagnosed just in the U.S. every year. Parkinson’s is known as a progressive condition and symptoms will affect patients differently. Typically, people diagnosed with Parkinson’s will portray some degree of difficulty with shaking or tremor, slowness of movement or bradykinesia, stiffness in movement or rigidity of the arms, legs and trunk and gait imbalance. Because of the loss of dopamine producing brain cells, patients will see their movements become slower and smaller, creating risk for falls and impairing their quality of life.

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NOV 01
Robotic Surgery: The How, When, and Why? By Justin B. Gerth M.D., with Eastern Surgical Associates in Clinical

Robotic assisted surgery has seen an explosion since it was first introduced about 20 years ago with over 4 million procedures performed. Although minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery has been around longer, certain limitations existed within this field. Laparoscopic surgical instruments lack wristed movement, essentially forcing surgeons to operate with chop sticks. The effect was difficulty performing certain procedures and working at difficult angles. Robotic surgery allows wristed action of the instruments, better optics (depth perception), surgeon control of the camera, and better ergonomics. While there is not any significant change in long term outcomes, there are studies suggesting decreased pain and shorter hospital stays.

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NOV 01
When an IT Manager Goes Rogue By Jennifer Lagutin, TekLinks in Technology

Your business' data could be compromised by the most unlikely of sources -- your own IT manager.

Over the past couple months, I’ve encountered multiple chilling examples of IT staff gone rogue. Of course, this isn't happening every day. But when it does, it's especially damaging to organizations with a one-person IT department. These lone IT managers often hold the keys to the kingdom. No one person - IT expert or not - should ever have complete control over passwords, access, processes, etc. Why? Consider these two recent incidents:

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OCT 31
Recruitment under way for new Alabama genetics initiative By Bruce Korf, M.D., PhD, Chair, Department of Genetics, UAB /Children’s of Alabama Co-Chair, Alabama Genomic Health Initiative in Clinical

Full scale recruitment is under way for the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI), a partnership of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Children’s of Alabama. Funded by a $2 million appropriation from the Alabama legislature to UAB, the AGHI is one of the nation’s first statewide efforts to use genomic analysis to identify those at high risk for genetic diseases.

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OCT 24

The state’s first spine procedure using the Mazor Robotic System in conjunction with intraoperative imaging was performed by neurosurgeons with Neurosurgical Associates, PC at St. Vincent’s Birmingham.

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OCT 24
Does your Patient have Venous Disease? By James Isobe M.D. and Christopher Jones M.D. of the Brookwood Baptist Health Specialty Care Network Vein Center. in Clinical

Venous reflux in the lower extremity is when blood from the foot which should travel towards the heart reverses downwards due to gravity.

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OCT 23

There is a lot of confusion about SSDI and SSI, the two types of disability benefits that can be received from Social Security. The definition of disability is the same under both programs, but that is where the similarity ends. The following is a very basic description of the disability programs provided under the Social Security Act, titles II and XVI.

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OCT 23
Controlling Myopia Progression By Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD, FAAO with UAB eye care in Clinical

What is myopia?

 

Myopia is a condition that results in distant objects appearing blurry to a patient when not being corrected with glasses or contact lenses.1 Myopic blur typically results from the eye being too long for its optical focusing components (cornea and crystalline lens), which causes distant objects to be in focus in front of the retina (back of the eye) instead on the retina, a requirement for the eye to be able to see clearly.1 About one third of Americans have myopia, and its prevalence is likely increasing because of factors associated with living in a developed country (e.g., decreased time outdoors).2-5 With that said, the scientific community only has a vague understanding of how genetics and the environment influence the development and progression of myopia.1 While myopia’s visual affects can be a costly nuisance and strain on the health care system,6 myopia also places the affected individuals at a greater risk for developing vision-threatening conditions like cataracts, retinal detachments, and glaucoma.1 Once present, myopia cannot be cured; therefore, preventing it or even reducing the amount of myopia that a patient develops is an upmost priority for the scientific community.7

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OCT 23
Utilizing New Patient Forms and Credit Applications By Brian M. Cloud, Esq. at Cloud Willis & Ellis, LLC in Regulatory

No matter the size of the business, a successful business must be paid promptly and in full. However, often a business, including a medical practice is dealing with numerous overdue accounts receivables.  Such a financial position can be commonplace in today’s business environment.  Although this financial condition is often perceived as “normal” or “accepted” business practice”, savvy business owners should collect promptly and protect their rights in resolving overdue receivables with the proper policy and procedures in place.  Effective policy and procedures generally begin with utilizing a new patient form and/or the credit application.

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OCT 18
How Important is a Mammogram! By Norwood Clinic Imaging in Clinical

For 2017, The American Cancer Society has estimated that around 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 2,470 diagnosed in men, around 63,410 new cases of Carcinoma in situ(non-invasive and the earliest form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed, and approximately 40,610 cases will be fatal.

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OCT 16
October is National Audiology Awareness Month. By Calyn Russ, AuD with Excel ENT of Alabama in Clinical

Over 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss.

That is over 4 times the amount of people who live in New York City.

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OCT 12
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR BUSINESS ASSOCIATE’S HIPAA BREACH? By Beth Pitman, JD, CHPC, Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis LLP in Regulatory

  As of September 30, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has received notices of 237 breaches. 46% occurred as result of hacking or IT security incidents; many at the business associate level.  Ransomware is rampant and projected to increase 670%.  As a covered entity, although a breach occurs at your business associate, under HIPAA, you are responsible for your protected health information and responding to the breach.  OCR has been clear that breaches of 500 or more records will be investigated. Given the significant increase in breaches over the past few years, advance preparation is critical and can reduce the cost and burden of breach response. 

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OCT 10
Billing Under Another’s Provider Number Can Land Physicians in Hot Water By Emma Cecil, JD, Senior Regulatory Attorney & PolicyHolder Advisor with MagMutual in Regulatory

An Oklahoma physician agreed on August 28, 2017 to pay the government $580,000 to resolve allegations that he violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to the Medicare program for services he did not provide or supervise. According to the government, the physician allowed a company that employed him and in which he had an ownership interest to use his NPI numbers to bill Medicare for physical therapy evaluation and management services that he did not provide or supervise. The government further alleged that after he separated from the company and deactivated his NPIs associated with the company, he reactivated those NPIs so that the company could use them to bill Medicare for services he neither performed nor supervised.

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SEP 28
Peripheral Arterial Disease By Monica G Hunter, MD, FACC, FSCAI with Birmingham Heart Clinic in Clinical

Most people are aware that atherosclerosis can cause blockages in the coronary arteries, resulting in chest pain or heart attack, or in the carotid arteries, precipitating a stroke. But atherosclerosis can lead to another serious but often under-diagnosed condition: peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Defined as atherosclerotic obstruction of the arteries to the lower extremities, PAD causes leg pain and is associated with other cardiovascular disease. Although lower extremity PAD affects an estimated 12 to 20 million people in the United States, only four to five million of them are experiencing symptoms.

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SEP 27
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month By The Doctors of Urology Centers of Alabama in Clinical

Did you know that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men? In fact, an average of 480 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day - that’s one every 3 minutes.

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SEP 14
Physician Workflow and Coding Specificity- The Effect on Value By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC at Warren Averett in Business

It has now been two years since the implementation of ICD-10, everyone survived! While denials have been minimal, the goal of implementing ICD 10 to acquire more specificity and a complete picture of health has not been fully achieved.  Physicians and managers have created a new set of shortcuts to assure payment of claims, relying on paper superbills or inappropriate conversions from ICD 9 to ICD 10.

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SEP 01
Children’s orthopedics department expands staff and services By Shawn “Skip” Gilbert, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Orthopedics, Children’s of Alabama in Clinical

Every caregiver strives to expand the services they provide to their patients, while also improving quality of care and safety. These are certainly our goals at the Children’s of Alabama orthopedic clinic.

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AUG 23
Tennis Elbow…? But I don’t even play tennis! By Michael D. Smith, MD with Southlake Orthopaedics Sports Medicine & Spine Center, PC (Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon) in Clinical

As a hand and upper extremity Orthopaedic surgeon, I see many patients that present to my office with pain in their elbow and forearm. For a certain subsets of these patients, I ultimately diagnose them with lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow. Oftentimes, their reaction is the same. They say, “Doc, I don’t even play tennis, how could I have tennis elbow?!” Unfortunately, many people assume that lateral epicondylitis will only affect those individuals that are active in racquet sports, when in reality; tennis elbow can affect both men and women regardless of their hobbies.

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AUG 04
Atrial Fibrillation By William McAlexander, MD with Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery at Brookwood, Russell Ronson, MD with Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery at Brookwood and Macy Smith, MD, FACC, FHRS with Cardiovascular Associates in Clinical

Bang, bang, bang! If you experience your heart banging against your chest or skipping beats you may be experiencing an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is an irregular rate or rhythm of the heartbeat, where your heart can beat too fast or slow. Most commonly, this is caused by atrial fibrillation (AFib), when disorganized electrical signals cause the heart’s chambers not to beat in sync or fibrillate. Millions of Americans are affected by this disease and the number increases each year. AFib is the most common abnormal heart rhythm in America.

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AUG 03
OMNIVR system By Stirling Shirah, MD medical director at Aspire Recovery Center at Cahaba River & Member of Hospitalist Services of Alabama, P.C. in Clinical

"Aspire Physical Recovery Center at Cahaba River is proud to offer its guest use of the OMNIVR system. The OMNI is a virtual reality augmented rehabilitation system that allows trained clinicians the opportunity to work with guests in novel, yet functional ways.

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AUG 02
New Therapy for Malignant Brain Tumors By Christopher Jahraus M.D. with Shelby Baptist Medical Center and Generations Radiotherapy & Oncology PC in Clinical

Tumor Treating Fields or TTF as it is more commonly known is a recently developed method by which malignant brain tumor cells are prevented from reproducing. Shelby Baptist Medical Center and Generations Radiotherapy & Oncology PC has begun therapy on its first patient using this entirely new approach in the treatment of malignant brain tumors with the Optune TTF system.

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JUL 20
Prostate Cancer and Modern Medicine By Joelle Hamilton M.D., Medical Oncologist with Urology Centers of Alabama in Clinical

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in American men and the second leading cause of cancer death. While a majority of men will be diagnosed after the age of 65, younger men do need to consider screening for prostate cancer, especially if risk factors are present such as African American heritage or a family history of prostate cancer.

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JUL 18
The Value of the Team Approach By Tammie Lunceford, CPC Healthcare Consultant, Warren Averett in Business

Most all medical practices are preparing a MACRA project this summer. Our healthcare team has had the opportunity to speak to many physicians and managers regarding preparation for the transition from volume to value based medicine and reimbursement.  A large project can be overwhelming for any practice but this is more than a project, it is a culture change!

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JUL 13
Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline By Jennifer McInnish, Au.D. a board-certified Audiologist at Brookwood Baptist Health Specialty Care – Ear, Nose & Throat in Clinical, Uncategorized

Between 2000-2015 the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, bringing it close to 48 million. With the aging baby boomer population, that number will continue to climb in the coming years.  

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JUL 12
Hard-to-heal wounds can be a problem for many people By Matthew Reed M.D.,Justin Moellinger M.D. & Beatrice Chaicharncheep M.D. with Medical West Advanced Wound Center in Clinical

Hard-to-heal wounds can be a problem for many people. One way that Medical West is offering treatment is through hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the Advanced Wound Center.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the application of 100% oxygen that is applied to a patient under pressure. The therapy is used for decompression sickness, for infections, air pockets in blood vessels, and for diabetic wounds that won’t heal.

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JUL 10
Multidisciplinary liver clinics coming to Children’s of Alabama By Reed Dimmitt M.D. Director, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology David E. Dixon Endowed Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology in Clinical

With the addition of two more physicians in the coming months, Children’s of Alabama will soon be able to expand the care we provide to pediatric patients with liver disease.

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JUL 06
INTERNET USAGE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION By Ron Prevatte Director of Sales and Business Development with Integrated Solutions in Technology

The internet is a necessary part of the healthcare world today. This forces us to deal with the issue of managing employee Internet usage which can be a drain on your organizations productivity. This holds true in the healthcare industry whether you run a small clinic, large practice or hospital.

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JUN 22
Always Do Something You Enjoy with Suzanne Blaylock, M.D. By Lori M. Quiller, APR Director of Communications and Social Media Medical Association of the State of Alabama in Business

TUSCUMBIA – When you walk into Dr. Suzanne Blaylock’s office at the Helen Keller Pavilion, there’s a medical journal on her desk, paused and waiting for her to return to continue reading the most recent article. On the wall behind her chair are framed reminders of why she choose anesthesiology as her specialty – awards recognizing her from the Peer Reviewed Professionals, the Consumers’ Research Council of America as one of America’s Top Anesthesiologists, and the Consumers’ Research Council of America’s Top Physicians. Dr. Blaylock always knew she’d have a career in medicine, but what she got was so much more.

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JUN 21
Managing Pain Well? By C.J. Talbert, MD-Orthopaedic Surgeon Southlake Orthopaedics Sports Medicine and Spine Center, PC in Clinical

The AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) has recently sponsored some remarkable multimedia public service campaigns. You may remember the recent “Decide to Drive” initiative about distracted driving /texting. Well, their newest is “Painkillers are easy to get into. Hard to escape.”  Included in the AAOS statement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports on an average day in the U.S., more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed and 78 people die from opioid-related overdose.  It is considered an “epidemic.”  We all have relatives, friends, and patients who have been caught up in and succumbed to the detrimental effects of drug addiction.

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JUN 13
The CoolSculpting® Trend Continues to Grow – With Good Reason By Warren B. Seiler III, M.D., Owner and Medical Director at Seiler Skin in Birmingham, Alabama in Clinical

For years now, I have seen patient after patient frustrated with stubborn fat in areas that do not respond well (or quickly) to diet and exercise. Their concerns are very common, and certainly not something of which to be ashamed. Patients also frequently ask me for my recommendations on non-invasive cosmetic treatments designed to address these issues, like CoolSculpting®, Sculpsure®, Vanquish™ or Zerona™.

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JUN 06
Birmingham Heart Clinic Uses New Device to Treat Atrial Fibrillation By Michael S. Bailey, MD with Birmingham Heart Clinic in Clinical

Birmingham Heart Clinic physicians are now utilizing a new approach to reduce atrial fibrillation stroke risk and eliminate the need for blood thinners over time.

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MAY 30
Safe Summer Contact Lens Use By Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD, FAAO with UAB eye care in Clinical

Summer is quickly approaching, a season that usually comes with warmer weather and, for many of us, vacation time. Vacations come in a variety of forms. You may prefer a staycation where you simply stay at home and avoid emails for a week. You may favor an once-in-a-lifetime trip to a place like Iceland, or you might head to the southern Alabama coast to catch some sun at the beach. While the travel possibilities are nearly endless, a contact lens wearer needs to be prepared for every situation.   

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MAY 25
HEARING LOSS AND COCHLEAR IMPLANTATION By Stephen Favrot, MD with ENT Associates of Alabama, PC in Clinical

Hearing loss is a common problem. 15% of American adults aged 18 and over report trouble hearing. Over the age of 65, one third of the population has significant hearing loss. Most people with Hearing Impairment suffer some social, psychological and physical problems. Social consequences of hearing loss include reduced social activity and problems communicating with family and at work.  Particularly in the elderly Hearing Loss can be isolating.

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MAY 18
The Importance of a Family Medicine Physician By Sidney Shah MD_Dr. Sidney Shah joined Norwood Clinic in 2006 and specializes in Family Medicine / Occupational Medicine. in Clinical

A family medicine doctor is someone you can always feel comfortable voicing your concerns to and leave an appointment feeling as though you were really listened to. They will help you to become an informed and active member of your healthcare decision-making process.
 

 

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MAY 10
Association Installs New President for 2017-2018 By Medical Association of the State of Alabama in Business

MONTGOMERY – Boyde Jerome “Jerry” Harrison, a family practitioner from Haleyville, was formally installed as president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama during the 2017 Inauguration, Awards Presentation and 50-Year Physician Recognition Dinner on Friday, April 14.

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MAY 05
The 3 Pillars of Athletic Health: Rest, Conditioning & Nutrition By : Ricardo E. Colberg, M.D. with Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Clinical

You may have thought that a sports orthopaedic center would be a place to go only after a catastrophic sports injury—something breaks or tears or starts hurting so badly you can’t physically use it.

 

“Most athletic injuries seen in sports clinics are indeed overuse injuries that have reached a point of taking the patient out of the game,” said Dr. Ricardo Colberg of Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center. “Although 85% of sports injuries do not require surgery, many patients wait until they are unable to compete to start correcting their issues.”

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APR 28
Pediatric neurology division grows to meet increasing patient needs By : Leon Dure, M.D. UAB Professor and Director, Division of Pediatric Neurology William Bew White, Jr. Chair in Pediatric Neurology in Clinical

As pediatric medicine becomes more specialized, the demand for specialists grows. One need look no further than the Division of Pediatric Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) for evidence of this trend.

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APR 27
Recycle Electronics and Keep Your Practice Safe By Blake Perry CTO at Keep IT Simple in Technology

Recycling electronics is a great way to help conserve and reuse valuable resources and materials found in many gadgets, including glass, plastics, and various metals such as copper, gold, palladium, and silver. Many electronics, especially computers and televisions, contain toxic materials such as cadmium, lead, and mercury. Recycling and reusing electronics helps to keep these toxic materials out of our landfills and water supply.

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APR 20
Pain with intercourse? Vaginal discomfort? Not for me! By : Rupa Kitchens MD with Urology Centers Of Alabama in Clinical

As we women age, we do not always know what is coming next. We think we do, but we may not. We all know the stereotypical changes that happen with menopause, and of course, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. that can occur with age.  I can tell you that many women in their late 40s to late 70s are not expecting pain with intercourse, vaginal pain and discomfort, or both. It is honestly a surprise. And not a good one at that. It can make a healthy sexual relationship go sour very quickly, which not only hurts the woman’s quality of life, but her partner’s as well. This can affect the relationship as a whole, and both parties’ overall health, which can then lead to other medical issues. In our practice, we traditionally have treated men for erectile dysfunction and other sexual issues, but we understand that female sexual health is important as well. 

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APR 19
Medical Association Celebrates Doctors’ Day in Alabama By Lori M. Quiller, APR Director of Communications and Social Media Medical Association of the State of Alabama in Business

MONTGOMERY – On March 29, officials from the Medical Association of the State of Alabama participated in a proclamation signing ceremony declaring March 30, 2017, the Second Annual Doctors’ Day in Alabama formally recognizing Alabama’s nearly 17,000 licensed physicians serving millions of residents through private practice, in hospitals, in research, and in other health care facilities.

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APR 18
The Perfect Colonoscopy and How to Get It By Christopher P. Shaver, MD, Birmingham Gastroenterology Associates in Clinical

A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of your large intestine.  The primary indication for the procedure is colon cancer screening.  However, it is also an effective diagnostic tool for the evaluation of chronic intestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding as well as unexplained anemia.

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APR 14

2 pounds asparagus  1 spring onion or scallion (thinly sliced) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 4 hard boiled eggs (chopped) 1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs 1/4 grated parmesan 

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