BMN Blog

MAR 15
Patient Satisfaction- What Is It Worth? By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC with Warren Averett in Business

In the past few years, when we discussed patient satisfaction it pertained only to patient surveys and results. Some managers believe surveys are utilized by specialties, such as, plastic surgery who primarily practice on a cash basis.  Consumerism is here to stay! Cost and quality will create a level playing field in healthcare.  When working with a practice, I love to sit in the waiting room to see operations from the patient’s point of view.  I also search the specialty online to review the competition and the effectiveness of the practice’s website; I may also see online reviews.

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MAR 05
Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain & the Value of Trust By Matt Dennis, National Bank of Commerce in Business

Over the last year or so, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have grabbed the attention of global markets and its participants.

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FEB 27
10 Commandments of Gastrointestinal Health By Christopher P. Shaver, MD, Birmingham Gastroenterology Associates in Clinical
  1. Control all of your “other” medical conditions.  Many chronic diseases negatively influence your intestinal tract: think poorly controlled diabetes, undertreated cardiovascular diseases, thyroid disorders, obesity, and so on.  There is a synergistic relationship between intestinal health and your other organ systems. 
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FEB 08
Think You've Figured Out HIPAA Compliance? Sorry, You're Probably Wrong. By Robbie Morris VP of Healthcare and Security Solution Services with TekLinks in Technology

We hate to break it to you, but there's a HIPAA requirement you’re more than likely doing wrong. The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is cracking down on requiring a true Healthcare Security Risk Analysis.

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JAN 22
Optimizing Today’s Technology for Healthcare By Andrew Burke, CDIA+ with Stewart of Alabama in Technology

We all recognize that healthcare is evolving at a rapid pace. With this evolution, the need to share patient information to positively impact quality care, provide a seamless patient experience, plus save time for your staff to coordinate care is of critical importance.  By making the most of new technology, today’s office equipment can easily and securely, help you do just that. 

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JAN 17

 A couple should consider seeking help from a fertility specialist after attempting to conceive for three months, six months, a year—there really is no right answer. Infertility could be due to a single factor, or multiple factors, and fertility treatments vary in complexity. One factor in particular has become more prominent nowadays in couples who are trying to conceive: age, which effects both the husband and wife, has become a threat to fecundity as society pressures couples to start a family later in life.

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DEC 22

Noncompliance (non-adherence) to medical recommendations can have a significant impact on a patient’s overall health quality, resulting in decreased opportunities for prevention, delayed diagnosis, and incomplete or ineffective treatment. There may also be significant liability and financial risks to a responsible healthcare professional treating this patient, particularly as patient outcomes increasingly become connected to quality indicators and reimbursement.

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DEC 21
UAB, Children’s of Alabama Committed to a Cure By Kimberly Whelan, M.D., MSPH Interim Director, Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham in Clinical

The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama actively works toward the goal of a total cure through research and development of innovative therapies. More than a dozen prominent pediatric hematology, oncology and blood and bone marrow physician-scientists provide exceptional programs in patient care, education and research. Currently, the Center provides care or treatment for 90 percent of the pediatric hematology-oncology patients in the state.

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DEC 19

Two million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis every year and 10 percent of the population will experience it in their lifetime. It has become recognized as one of the most chronic and, often times, most difficult foot problems to treat.

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DEC 07
Awareness is everything when it comes to participating in a clinical trial. By Will O’Donnell – Research & Development Assistant, Clinical Research Center of Alabama in Clinical

Healthcare professionals are all well aware of what a clinical trial is, how they work, and the possibilities   that are provided to those who participate. However, the majority of Americans have not participated or heard about opportunities to participate in clinical research. According to a survey conducted by Research!America in partnership with Zogby Analytics (2017), fewer than 10% of Americans actually participate in clinical trials. Digging further into the reasons why, 55% of those surveyed stated that they were not aware or lacked information regarding clinical trials (Research!America, 2017).  

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DEC 01
Seniors benefit from physical fitness By Agee Robert, Jr., MD with BBH Specialty Care Network Sports Medicine in Clinical

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that it’s too late to get in shape. In fact, research shows that older people who have never exercised can still benefit from physical conditioning. By starting a regular exercise program, you can help prevent coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression and some cancer. Physical fitness reduces the effects of osteoporosis and arthritis — two conditions which can severely limit an older person’s lifestyle. Being in good shape physically can help you remain independent as you age and improve the quality of your life.

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NOV 27
The Cost Category Returns for 2018 By Tammie Lunceford, CMPE CPC, Healthcare Consultant at Warren Averett in Business

As we finalize 2017 participation in the Merit Based Incentive Program, most of us focused on improved performance in quality since the category carried the highest weight of 60%. Those who had previous success in Meaningful Use found the Advancing Care category easy to address.  The Practice Improvement category is new and somewhat vague, but many practices were already performing tasks that qualified as an improvement activity.  It is important to document the approach to improvement and track success because this category is subject to audit in the future.

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NOV 22
“New vascular clinic paves the way in eliminating leg pain” By Katie Reaves, M.S., Vascular Division Manager with Alabama PVD Center in Clinical

Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), yet general awareness of the disease is at 25%. Patients over the age of 50 with a history of smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are at the greatest risk.  A staggering 50% of PAD patients have unrecognized symptoms that may progress directly to severe disease.

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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 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 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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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 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 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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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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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 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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