BMN Blog

JUN 21
Erectile Dysfunction: More Common Than You ThinkBy Brian Stone, MD and Alan McCool, MD in Clinical

Problems with your erections or “erectile dysfunction (ED)” affects over 50 million men in the US. It remains an embarrassing topic for those who are affected.

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JUN 14

Necessity is the mother of invention according to Plato. No truer words could apply to the pandemic. And it has led to a litany of “inventions” or rather, innovations or adaptations. Now the question is which ones will stick? And what must be done to avoid any potential setbacks since most of these adaptations were put forth in haste? 

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JUN 01
Addiction is Also Mental HealthBy Ian Henyon, MS, LPC in Clinical

May was Mental Health Awareness month. Awareness encourages us to be informed and focuses our attention to clarify experience and perceptions. I would like you to consider your perception of the following two patients:

Patient One: 28-year old male with a history of Bipolar II disorder but with poor medication compliance. He has twice failed out of college and now relies heavily on financial support from his parents. He has limited employment experience and he generally cannot keep a job more than a couple months. He has been arrested on a few occasions for minor thefts involving shoplifting and breaking into cars.

Patient Two: Has the exact same history except that he is also a frequent user of heroin, fentanyl, and alcohol.

As with a lot of practitioners, you likely view Patient One as a victim of chronic mental illness, deserving of our understanding as well as all the resources our community can muster to support him in achieving a healthier lifestyle.

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MAY 17
Working Smarter, Not HarderBy Georgina Perry, CPA, CMPE in Business

Recently I have had conversations with clients about how hard it is to make the most of the revenue generated and keep the loyal but burned-out staff engaged so the practice can survive to work another day. Recovery from COVID for small businesses has been tough, but especially in healthcare where the demand for service remained high during the pandemic. Now, medical practices are looking to make the most of the revenue they can generate without overwhelming current employees. With that in mind, it’s time to work smarter, not harder.

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MAY 12

Physician practices thrive on a continual stream of new patients for their long-term survival. Historically, a patient chose a primary care practice based on the proximity to their home or by recommendation from a list of providers given by their insurance company.

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MAY 04
What’s In a Name?By Helen Combs, Healthcare Consultant in Business

When it comes to selecting a name for a medical practice, the final choice, or actual name is meaningful. In 2021 our group, formerly Shelby OB-GYN, moved our Obstetric services to Grandview Medical Group. We also opened a new office location at Grandview.

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APR 26

These are unprecedented times in the construction industry and even more-so in the healthcare construction industry. The early days of the pandemic saw construction material costs soar as a record-setting building and remodeling boom hit the residential side of construction, fueled in part by so many people spending more time at  home.

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APR 19

Mental healthcare in Alabama is changing. And it’s about time.

For too long, an Alabamian facing a mental health crisis had two primary options: the hospital emergency department or jail. Neither option is ideal, and neither fully addresses the deeper mental health or substance abuse issues at hand.

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APR 14

“If you want something done … give it to a busy woman.”

We have all heard that as professional women, right? Now, who has the time to add in the concept of building wealth for yourself or your family in addition to everything else you’ve already been asked to run with.

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APR 07
My InspirationBy Hernando Carter, MD in Clinical

When I was four years old, Dr. Jacqueline Stewart, a pediatrician, inspired me to want to be a doctor. Born as a preemie, I battled asthma and bronchitis in my early years. My mother would take me to appointment after appointment with various symptoms. Coughing, wheezing, congestion, and chest pain plagued my little body.

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APR 05

Each day, we are learning more about the social impacts of COVID-19 and the mitigation strategies, and it should be no surprise that these impacts are deleterious. Over a few months in early 2020, most of our lives became completely reoriented in an effort to manage the unknown effects of the new illness. Families with schedules that were structured around school activities, sports, and church suddenly found themselves sequestered at home indefinitely. When schools reopened, they did so with disjointed schedules subject to the randomness of positive COVID cases. While families felt increased stress, people without children or partners experienced an even more crushing isolation. With remote working, holidays cancelled, churches closed, community activities suspended, and restaurants carry-out only, individuals endured this period through Zoom and social media.

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MAR 22

As I sit to write this, memories from the last few decades of my life flood my mind. I choose to write this first and foremost as a woman and as a physician second, in hopes that someone who has had similar symptoms may seek help.

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MAR 15

“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus

As a healthcare administration professor with the recent global healthcare-related events in mind, I often think about the future of our healthcare industry.

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MAR 01
March is Colon Cancer Awareness MonthBy Chris Shaver, MD & Ken Sigman, MD in Clinical

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer globally with approximately 1.8 million new cases per year. In the United States, the disease trails only lung cancer with 125,000 new cases per year and in Alabama, 2,470 new colon and rectal cancer cases were documented in 2021. 

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FEB 08

When it comes to Medicare, billing under the wrong physician’s ID can cost doctors and hospitals – literally. Consider these three recent incidents that, taken together, resulted in more than $7 million in penalty payments to the government:

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FEB 01

Overview

There is no doubt that technology has brought improvements to almost every professional field, including healthcare. While the medical field has been slower to adopt technology and software improvements, we are seeing the use of web-based software increase in place of using paper, which is due in part to mobile and tablet devices that have become commonplace. We should now focus on utilizing the technologies that we’ve created to set a new standard of secure but, accessible provider and patient data.

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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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