Hope all is well. COVID-19 is still with us, but life must go on. I don't expect any miracles, but a good COVID 19 vaccine will go a long way toward easing the problem - we'll be sure to keep you updated on any new recommendations when they are available.
** Office Visits - Virtual and In-Person
We are still on "COVID schedule." We see patients (who are not COVID-suspects) on Tuesdays, and usually also during part of Thursdays. The rest of patient-care time is spent doing virtual visits using FaceTime or Zoom.
Medicare announced that they will continue to support virtual visits and phone follow-ups until the end of September. Most insurance companies have followed suit.
I hope that insurance carriers, including Medicare, will come to their senses and realize that virtual visits, as an aid to, and sometimes a replacement of, the traditional office visit does work. There is no doubt in my mind that, done correctly, this can help reduce the cost of medical care, and in many cases improve the quality of medical care.
** More Insurance Accepted
Good news for our ConnectiCare patients who are on the Access or Exchange program (that's the Affordable Care Act side of ConnectiCare insurance). We now participate in that program. All you are responsible for is the copay, deductible and, in rare cases, uncovered services.
** Back to Medicine
While staying home much more of the time these days, I hope you didn't fall into the trap of reduced exercise, consuming more unhealthy foods than you should, and gaining weight. There's so much you can do for yourself even if you feel bored staying home. As I have mentioned in the past, the Canadian Royal Mounted Police exercises have stood the test of time, and much of it can be done at home. The internet is loaded with appropriate demo's and instructions.
But for some people there could be a different reason for weight gain, and that is the medication you may be taking. Examples include some antidepressants, epilepsy and blood pressure medications, steroid hormones (e.g. prednisone), birth control pills and insulin. Don't just stop taking any of these medications, but knowing about this potential side effect may motivate you to do more to control excess weight, and to discuss the possibility of a medication change with your physician.
** Back to COVID
While some people in our patient community did contract the disease, many were mildly symptomatic. None required hospitalization, and we haven't lost anyone. I hope you're watching yourselves carefully, and help maintain the good statistics. If you have any questions, feel free to call!
Until next time, stay safe and stay well!
Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.