BMN Blog

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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MAY 06

Did you grow up thinking you were allergic to penicillin?

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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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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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OCT 01

Breast pain is one of the most common symptoms in patients undergoing breast imaging tests. Known clinically as breast mastalgia, breast pain is a frequent ailment in women regularly affecting their quality of life. In the mainstream, especially in the media and on the internet, breast pain is often associated as a symptom of cancer. However, breast pain can develop from a variety of different conditions.

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APR 14

The Brookwood Baptist system recently incorporated state-of-the art Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) imaging for diagnosis patients with complex cardiovascular conditions. The technique allows for the acquisition of three-dimensional multi-planar moving images of the heart, blood vessels and associated organs without the need for ionizing radiation in about one 15-minute session.

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MAR 24

Observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, Diabetes Alert Day is a wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes – an illness that affects millions of Americans of all ages, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. This year, Diabetes Alert Day falls on March 24, and it’s especially imperative that the people of Alabama take note considering our state has among the highest prevalence of diabetes in the United States.

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DEC 19

Breaking a bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis. Approximately one in two women, and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bone to become brittle and weak, which allows them to fracture with relatively low impact. We typically refer to an osteoporotic fracture as a fragility fracture.

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NOV 19

During your first visit as a new patient to our fertility clinic, the American Institute for Reproductive Medicine, you will undergo a series of lab tests. These tests are critical in determining the right treatment plan. We focus on eight common lab tests.

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OCT 22
Enhancing Your Practice’s Patient By Janet Miller Day, MBA, CMPE in Business

According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the fourth most challenging issue in practice management is collecting from self-pay and high deductible patients. With patient payments representing a growing portion of practice revenue, re-engineering how patient collections are approached is crucial to practice success.

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JUN 19

Sound processes are essential to the success of any business. This is even more important in healthcare, where the ever-changing environment makes process improvement vital in order for a practice to prosper.

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OCT 30

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month was created in 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to remind us that each we all have the power to make the Internet safer.

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SEP 18
Neuropsychology: Understanding Cognition By DeLisa A. West, Ph.D., ABPP (CN), West Neuropsychology, LLC in Clinical

How often do you walk into a room and completely forget why you went into the room? Or do you struggle with remembering someone’s name a few seconds after they introduce themselves to you? It seems that these “senior moments” occur more frequently as we all get older. As a clinical neuropsychologist, I am often asked if this is normal aging or if it is a sign of a bigger problem such as Alzheimer’s disease. The field of neuropsychology is uniquely skilled to answer this very question. Clinical neuropsychology is a sub-field of psychology which examines the relationship between the brain and behavior. It uses neuroscience, neuroanatomy, cognitive psychology, cognitive science and clinical psychology to understand the structure and function of the brain in relation to behavior and the information processing aspects of the mind. Neuropsychologists help to assess, diagnosis and treat individuals with neurological, medical, developmental or psychiatric conditions across the lifespan. Neuropsychological testing can aid in understanding how different areas of the brain are working. Neuropsychologists use various standardized tests to objectively examine a person’s strengths and weaknesses in all areas of thinking or cognition. Tests may be paper-and-pencil, answering questions, computer-based or task oriented. Areas of cognitive impairment or deficit can be identified and placed within the context of the individual’s medical and psychological history in order to determine what condition may be impacting a person’s functioning and thinking. 

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JUL 18
Concussions By Katherine Weise, OD, Professor of Optometry Director, Pediatric Optometry Services at UAB in Clinical

“We’re all wearing our team colors, but colors don’t matter when it comes to concussion,” says Dr. Jimmy Robinson, University of Alabama lead team physician. This year, at the Children’s of Alabama Annual Concussion Summit, a special science, vision, and engineering breakout session featured the insight of Dr. Robinson and others in the trenches of Division I sidelines. Led by UAB’s director of medical athletics, Dr. Heath Hale, and UAB Team Eye Doctor, Dr. Kathy Weise, lead team physicians and scientists from Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Clemson joined forces to weigh in on UAB’s advancements in concussion expertise. What if a contact lens could determine how much the eye sloshes around in the orbit to predict how much the brain moves in the skull when exposed to impact? What if retinal blood flow could predict cerebral blood flow following concussion? What if an objective pupil test could help predict prolonged concussion recovery?

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JUN 20
Prostate Cancer: Understanding Your Treatment Options By Bryant Poole M.D. & Andrew Strang M.D. with Urology Centers of Alabama, P.C. in Clinical

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. Although it is common, it is still one of the least well-known cancers and a diagnosis can cause confusion about treatment, symptoms, and potential side effects. In search of a minimally-invasive treatment for your prostate cancer? Through our partnership with Vituro Health, Urology Centers of Alabama is the first and only in the state to offer High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU treatment.

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MAR 22
Ocular Melanoma: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You! By Elizabeth A. Steele, OD, FAAO with UAB Eye Care in Clinical

A rare cancer of the eye known as uveal melanoma has affected a specific demographic, mainly women, who attended Auburn University in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Uveal melanoma is the most common cancer in the eye, but overall its incidence is extremely low, known to affect only 4.3 per 1 million people in the US.  While these cancers are uncommon, they can lead to unfortunate outcomes including total removal of the eye, and even aggressive cancers spreading throughout the body, making it crucial to catch them early.

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MAR 14
Confidence in the face of disaster – Are you ready? By Drew Braden Senior Technology Consultant with Keep IT Simple in Technology

If you surveyed managing physicians and office managers from the Birmingham area about their business continuity plans, how confident do you think they would be with their Disaster Recovery solution? Do they feel prepared? Have they even thought about it?

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MAR 06

The assessment of patient compliance is very difficult. Many patients may not want to disappoint their physician and will not be completely accurate about their degree of compliance. Other patients are not able to accurately evaluate or do not know their degree of compliance. In one study, 10% of patients reported that they were 100% compliant with their medication use. Using pill count methods, however, the use of the prescribed medications ranged from 2% to 130% of the prescribed pills.

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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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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 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 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 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 12
Prostate Cancer By Medical West Hospital in Clinical

The prediction: 161,360 new diagnoses and 26,730 fatalities.

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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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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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MAY 04
OVER SIXTY YEARS OLD AND STILL MISUNDERSTOOD By : Janet Cox , Attorney at law with Cox Disability Law in Regulatory

Social Security Disability under Title II of the Social Security Act*

Surveys have shown that most Americans know little about Social Security law and the vital benefits it provides. By far, the least understood Social Security benefit is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This lack of knowledge has been measured through objective testing in various academic studies. Anecdotally, I know this to be true based on recurring questions and comments I have received from the public and clients alike over the last several decades of my work as a social security disability attorney.

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APR 10
Coronary artery calcium score. What is that? By John D. McBrayer, M.D. with Heart South Cardiovascular Group, PC in Clinical

Early detection of coronary artery disease is a significant problem. One third of deaths after 35 are secondary to cardiovascular disease. One half of middle aged men and one third of middle aged women will develop coronary artery disease. Currently our ability to detect early disease is limited. By the time symptoms occur there is usually 70% obstruction of the coronary artery. Data from autopsies on Korean War casualties indicate initial signs of development of coronary plaque in the early 20’s of age. Theoretically it would seem appropriate to begin prevention therapy as soon as possible but who should get it? Obviously, the patients with known vascular disease and equivalents such as diabetes would need this therapy. Those without established disease need an estimate of their risk.

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MAR 03
Are you sleepy? By Stuart J. Padove, M.D. with Medical West Sleep Medicine in Clinical

Are you sleepy? We would like to introduce you to our Sleep Center here at Medical West!

Have you ever said?:

• I have been told that I snore

• I suddenly wake up gasping for air during the night

• I have been told that I stop breathing while sleeping

• I feel tired during the day even though I slept all night

• I have high blood pressure

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