BMN Blog

JAN 18

The Alabama Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s of Alabama continues to achieve unsurpassed results and bring the latest technology and procedures to children and adults with congenital heart disease in Alabama and throughout the Southeast. Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, the volume of patients has remained steady, demanding adaptability among the 300 members of the Heart Center.

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NOV 30

"Doc, I've got sinus" is a  phrase I often hear as we begin to interview a patient in my Otolaryngology (ENT) practice at ENT Associates of Alabama office at Grandview. And while I understand the patient's colloquial use of "sinus,” to an ENT doctor, sinusitis is a specific problem affecting the paranasal sinus' (air-filled bone spaces that surround the nasal cavity) as opposed to rhinitis, which involves inflammation and /or infection in the nasal cavity. So I want to take the opportunity to explain the differences between the two terms and  how we treat each entity.

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NOV 16

The 21st Century Cures Act is a landmark bipartisan healthcare innovation law that went into effect on April 5, 2021. Cures includes provisions to promote health information interoperability and prohibit information blocking by “Actors,” which include health information networks, HIEs, health information technology developers of certified health IT, and health care providers.

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NOV 03
All Swelling is Not Heart Failure By David Fieno, MD, PhD in Clinical

As a cardiologist, I have become accustomed to diagnosing and treating patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), seeing their leg edema, prescribing lasix, doing an evaluation en route to hopefully watching their recovery. 

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NOV 01

Diabetes is the epitome of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That was the driving force behind our division’s advocacy efforts that led to a change in Medicaid coverage requirements for continuous glucose monitors (CGM) for children with type 1 diabetes.

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OCT 27

Drug testing is increasingly becoming an important part of responsible prescribing practices. Drug testing can alert medical providers to indications of drug abuse or misuse, as well as allow them to monitor for patient compliance with prescription regimens. However, while the medical utility of routine drug testing is becoming apparent, it is important to understand that many of its methodologies were initially developed for forensic and employment-testing applications. Accordingly, traditional approaches to drug testing do not always meet the demands of the clinical context.

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OCT 27

Drug testing is increasingly becoming an important part of responsible prescribing practices. Drug testing can alert medical providers to indications of drug abuse or misuse, as well as allow them to monitor for patient compliance with prescription regimens. However, while the medical utility of routine drug testing is becoming apparent, it is important to understand that many of its methodologies were initially developed for forensic and employment-testing applications. Accordingly, traditional approaches to drug testing do not always meet the demands of the clinical context.

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OCT 21

After a painful odyssey of more than 20 months, the one thing all Americans can agree on is that the CORONAVIRUS-19 pandemic has disrupted every facet of life. Everything from the global supply chain to the educational system have been forced to adapt.

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OCT 19

Fall has arrived, and with the cooler temperatures, many of us want to get outdoors and enjoy the weather, including taking to our local hiking trails. But, as peaceful as a Saturday afternoon hike can be, this activity does come with risks – read on to learn about the six most common hiking injuries and how Southlake Orthopaedics can help if you are experiencing an injury from your favorite fall pastime

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OCT 14

Through ongoing advancements in healthcare technology, healthcare providers and patients can now access broader communication applications thanks to advances in data storage. These advancements have improved collaboration, increased communication outlets and have transformed the way data is stored and shared.

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OCT 12

Not that long ago, before phones with GPS, it was fairly common to become lost in a different city (or even a different part of your own city) and help was needed to become “un-lost.” We could keep driving or stop and ask for directions.

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OCT 05
Value Based Care Disrupting the MarketBy Katila Farley, RN, CMOM in Business

For years, medical professionals have discussed the need to transform the healthcare system, while also keeping it available to all people. There are many different ways of doing this including government programs, fee-for-service, Medicare programs, waivers, etc.

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SEP 16

Nasal obstruction is a significant source of decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, and disruption in overall sleep and restfulness. There are many possible causes of nasal obstruction, including allergies, viral upper respiratory infections, nasal/sinus infections, or even very rarely sinonasal malignancies. Primarily, nasal obstruction is a factor of three sites that work together within the nose to create resistance to nasal airflow.

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SEP 07
Retirement Plan Issues When a Doctor Leaves the PracticeBy William C. Presson, ERPA, APA, QPA, QKA, APR in Business

For many physicians, the practice retirement plan can result in providing one of their most significant assets to be used after retirement. These plans are called qualified retirement plans because they fall under requirements of IRS Internal Revenue Code and are eligible to receive certain tax benefits, unlike non-qualified plans. These plans are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

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AUG 31
Don’t Wait to Lose WeightBy Venkat Kanithimathinathan, MD in Clinical

Obesity is no longer considered a cosmetic issue caused by overeating and a lack of self-control. The World Health Organization (WHO), along with national and international medical and scientific societies, now recognizes obesity as a chronic progressive disease resulting from multiple environmental and genetic factors.

In its latest report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 42.4 percent of U.S. adults were obese with 9.2 percent of these severely obese, which is the highest incidence ever recorded in America. 

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AUG 24
Tracking Instances and Impact of COVID-19 Among Pediatric Cancer PatientsBy Emily Johnston, M.D., MS & Julie Wolfson, M.D., MSHS in Clinical

A pediatric oncologist colleague of ours from Cornell Medical Center in New York posted a question to Facebook on March 23, 2020: How would the new COVID-19 pandemic impact the pediatric cancer population? We were asking ourselves the same question here at Children’s of Alabama. As social distancing and virtual meetings became the norm, we put our heads together – nearly 1,000 miles apart – to figure out how best to provide ongoing care for our oncology patients.

The result is the Pediatric COVID-19 Cancer Case (POCC) Report, a national registry of pediatric cancer patients diagnosed with COVID-19. It’s designed to better help our fellow clinicians provide vital care during an evolving pandemic.

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AUG 19

In my June blog, we looked at what is occurring rate-wise in the Medical Professional Liability market in the United States overall, none of it positive. In this article I want to focus on factors that are just as important as price and which almost always affect premium. (In the third and last installment of this blog I will look more closely at rates in our region, and specifically in Alabama, for both physicians and hospitals).

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AUG 17

It is back to school time. Although it is still hot outside, many schools have opened, we have taken first day of school pictures, and football practice is underway. As we enter this new season, it’s a good time for physicians to review some practice fundamentals. To that end, I offer ten reminders about regulatory compliance fundamentals that can help to avoid legal liability and an unwanted invitation to Montgomery.

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AUG 05

Hernia is a problem which has plagued humankind since the beginning of written history. From the Greek word “hernios” meaning “bud” or “offshoot”, it was originally thought to be a problem that was created and exacerbated by coughing. Treatments originally consisted of stooping and bending, which were erroneously thought to reduce the bulging and improve the symptoms. Surgical fixation was poorly understood and attempts to perform surgery were messy affairs that were frequently fatal.

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JUL 27
Mental Health AwarenessBy Harveen Sodhi, MD in Clinical

Because of the stress we have all been under in the past year, this is a good time to take stock of your mental health. I want to provide information that may help you or someone you love.

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JUL 06

Why do physicians leave their employment with a practice group? 

There’s no single reason for such a separation. A physician's leaving might be planned well in advance, or might be an unplanned, precipitous event. 

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JUN 29

[This is the first of a three-part series. By the end of the series, I hope to have covered national, regional, local, and personal realities of the medical malpractice market so that the reader (especially physicians, practice administrators, office managers, and hospital executives) has a sense of the current disturbing developments they may be experiencing.]

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JUN 24
Practice What You…PracticeBy Basheer Alismail in Business

Mogul, mogul, mogul, drop off. It didn’t take long for the widowmaker, a black diamond trail on Snowshoe Mountain, to send me to the emergency room of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia has some of the best snow east of the Mississippi and as a first-time

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JUN 22

Children’s of Alabama marks an important milestone with the celebration of its Asthma Clinical Pathway’s 10th Anniversary. The quality improvement initiative began in March 2011 with an aim to reduce inpatient asthma length of stay through the delivery of evidence-based excellent acute asthma care.

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JUN 16

Multiple Myeloma is a hematologic cancer of the plasma cells, which are found in the bone marrow. Early symptoms of Multiple Myeloma include fatigue, back pain and bone pain. Because these symptoms are non-specific, patients often go first to their primary care physician which can delay diagnosis, resulting in a more progressive disease. This year alone, the American Cancer Society predicts 34,920 new cases and 12,410 expected deaths from Multiple Myeloma.

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JUN 10

The physician owners of Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center and Clinical Research Center of Alabama have partnered with an investment group and have received an infusion of growth capital leading to the creation of AllerVie Health, a national network of board-certified allergists and immunologists. Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center locations will be rebranding to AllerVie Health this fall. At present, Clinical Research Center of Alabama will not be rebranding and will retain its name as an affiliate of AllerVie Health.

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JUN 08
Addiction in Healthcare: Knowing the Signs and How to Get HelpBy : Mike Wilkerson, MD Corporate Medical Director, Bradford Health Services in Clinical

With the imminent emergency of the Covid virus subsiding, discussions have shifted from the physical dangers to concern about its lasting psychological effects. Healthcare organizations report alarming levels of stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression in employees, especially clinicians. This sharp rise should bring another equally troubling issue to the conversation: substance use disorders and addiction among healthcare providers and professionals.

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JUN 04

Fifty percent of women will have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in their lifetime. A portion of those women will identify sexual intercourse as a precursor to their symptoms. Typical UTI symptoms include painful urination, lower abdominal pain, urinary frequency, urinary urgency, foul-smelling urine, and blood in their urine (hematuria).

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MAY 25

When the Birmingham Medical News asked me to write a blog, they told me I could write about anything. Anything? Anything. 

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MAY 18
COVID-19: Where do we go from here?By Bertha Hidalgo, PhD, MPH in Clinical

What a year we’ve had. This time last year, we were starting to transition out of stay-at-home orders, attempting to find balance between a return to work and life, and trying to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.  In a year’s time, Alabamans lost 11,043 friends and loved ones. Many also lost jobs, personal connections, and much more. Now, vaccines are widely available, giving us all an opportunity to regain some normalcy. All over the country, individuals aged 12+ can be vaccinated, which allows us to protect ourselves, but also others.

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MAY 11

As many as one out of three women experience urinary leaking with cough, sneeze, exercise or certain activities that increase abdominal pressure. Until the mid-1990’s, most treatments had either poor success rates or increased morbidity with complications like urinary retention, severe postoperative pain or protracted recovery. In 1996, the Tension-free Vaginal Tape (TVT), also known as the midurethral sling, was introduced to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI). These devices offered physicians a resource to treat SUI in the context of a procedure that could provide high success rates (95 percent) and low risk rates (one percent).

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MAY 06

Did you grow up thinking you were allergic to penicillin?

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MAY 04

Imagine a gently winding forest path stretching out before you, in sight of a place that feels friendly and familiar. Subtle sounds provide the soundtrack as you take slow, steady steps through the path’s vibrant color, light and shadow, followed by a deep inhale.

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APR 27
2021: A Year of ScrutinyBy Tammie Lunceford, CMPE, CPC in Business

As we all know, 2020 was a difficult year in the healthcare due to the COVID pandemic. Now, with a large number of people vaccinated, there is hope that things will stabilize.

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APR 22

In the past year, most physicians have been so busy with all the complications and changes in approach to care that resulted from the pandemic that they haven’t had time to examine aspects of their practice that aren’t part of the daily work. If you haven’t performed a recent review of the potential threats to your practices’ financial health, I recommend doing that, starting with your commercial insurance plan.

Partnering with an experienced agent who specializes in the healthcare arena can provide you with multiple carrier options to compare while helping you negotiate more favorable terms than some companies will offer to clients who work directly with the carrier only. Let’s take a look at a few of the items my team is focused on for our healthcare clients and the emerging threats that are continuing to impact more medical businesses. 

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APR 13

In recent years, we have seen robust growth in the use of orthobiologics for a number of orthopedic injuries. Orthobiologics are organic materials, including cells, tissue, blood components and growth factors, that are used to replace lost tissue, stimulate regeneration and healing, reduce pain and inflammation and/or improve joint function.

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MAR 30
Managing Vendors' Remote Access - Who's That Knocking on the Door?By Nic Cofield, Vice President, Client Services in Technology

Most medical practices have permitted key business partners to access critical IT systems remotely. This is usually done to provide fast and efficient support of these systems. It could be an EMR vendor that needs to access a database, or perhaps a third-party IT service provider that will access systems for updates. Regardless of the requirement, every form of remote access that is provided to an outside party is a potential risk.  

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MAR 23

It’s great to see the continued momentum in the state’s quest to get all Alabamian’s vaccinated. As COVID-19 vaccine availability expands to include more age groups, providers are naturally going to get more questions about the vaccine, potential side effects, interactions, etc. The Risk Consultants at Inspirien Insurance Company have compiled a list of 10 frequently asked questions regarding the vaccine to expedite clinical visits and support clinicians in their quest to combat COVID-19. These FAQ’s were obtained from evidenced based sites such as the CDC, The American Medical Association, and The New England Journal of Medicine.

  1. Is a patient who is immune-compromised, has an immune disease or has cancer eligible to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

According to Dr. Carlos del Rio, a Global Health Expert at Emory University “there is no contraindication in my mind to take the COVID-19 vaccine.” Dr. Rio goes on to note that clinical trials did not include those individuals in an immune-compromised state, so the efficacy of the vaccine is still unknown and may not be the same as an individual who is not in an immuno-compromised state. Patients are advised to not take the vaccination if they have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine or any component of the vaccine.

  1. What are the most common side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and how long do they last?
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MAR 17

It took a trip to a textile store… yes, a textile store. It was late 1940s, and Michael DeBakey (who would later become the most innovative and most distinguished cardiovascular surgeon in the world) was thinking how to address a major clinical need for a deadly disease – ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Albert Einstein just died of one, with echoes of his sudden death reverberating in the world and in the medical community. Einstein consulted doctors, including DeBakey, but no treatment options existed at that time.

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MAR 16
Vaccine Hesitancy By the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in Clinical

Currently, Alabama ranks toward the bottom in the country in regard to the number of citizens receiving the vaccine on a per capita basis. Why does Alabama seem to be trailing behind the rest of the country in vaccination rates?

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MAR 02

Patients and friends often ask me if the pain in their hand could be from carpal tunnel syndrome. I find that, while many people have heard of carpal tunnel or have known someone who has dealt with it, there is a lot of misinformation about the condition and how it is best treated.

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FEB 16

It is the most complex cardiothoracic surgery performed in newborns, one in which surgeons literally construct a new, larger aorta for babies born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Called the Norwood procedure, it must be done within the infant’s first week of life, followed by a second surgery when the baby is three to six months, and a third at age four or five.

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FEB 11

The journey toward mental health parity began in 1961, when President Kennedy directed the Civil Service Commission (now known as the Office of Personnel Management) to implement mental health parity. The Strengthening Behavioral Health Parity Act (“SBHPA”), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, represents a major milestone in that journey by adding ERISA plans to the plans that are covered by the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 and by working to achieve parity in physical and mental health care management processes.

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JAN 13

The Food Allergy Treatment Center is offering continuing education through the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. This continuing education virtual webinar is designed to provide physicians and other health care staff with a practical and timely overview of the important developments in food allergy and treatment options. The course will cover a review of food allergy diagnosis, management, including anaphylaxis management, and available treatment options. Adequate time after each session will permit time for questions and discussion. This educational activity is designed for those who evaluate, diagnose, and manage patients with food allergies.

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DEC 15

It has been a difficult 2020 with the ongoing presence of COVID 19 exhausting frontline healthcare entities and stalling the outpatient services. The pandemic has been a devastating historical event, but it has brought sweeping changes for 2021.

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DEC 07

Because of COVID-19, many of us will be more alarmed than usual when we hear a sneeze or a cough this allergy season. The truth, however, is that seasonal allergies are very common so it is important to be able to tell the difference between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies.

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DEC 01

State Health Officer is a difficult role to fill, especially this year. While partisanship and conspiracies continue to divide us, it is the job of the State Health Officer to make decisions for the good of all people throughout Alabama. This is exactly what Dr. Scott Harris has done for Alabamians during (and before) the COVID-19 pandemic.

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NOV 23

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week occurs annually around the week of Thanksgiving and is intended to increase awareness about GERD and its potential health risks when left undiagnosed or untreated, potential adverse effects of long-term proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication use, and the links between chronic heartburn and adenocarcinoma, the most common type of esophageal cancer in the U.S.

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NOV 13

Many practices are currently leveraging Microsoft Office 365 for e-mail, file storage, and internal collaboration. Unsurprisingly, the number of threats targeting this information (phishing attacks, compromised credentials, etc.) continues to grow at a rapid rate.

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NOV 05
White Coats with Empty PocketsBy Wayne Harris, CFP® in Business

Everyone should have a developed, thoughtful, and unique financial plan. However, newly practicing physicians face more unique financial challenges than most recent graduates due to many having considerable accumulation of student loan debt. Once physicians begin earning income, there are pressures to play catch-up with peers who have had longer to establish their careers and savings accounts.

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