Since March 2010 when the enrollment period opened up, much has been written, commented on and deciphered about the Affordable Healthcare Act. Still the confusion continues. The new law mandates that every individual have health insurance, but what about the cost? Is it free? Can I keep my existing doctor? What happens if I do not choose to have health insurance? Some of the changes include new rules in the insurance market to increase participation in health plans by expanding eligibility, offering protection against loss of eligibility, improving the quality of services and expanding choices for insurance coverage.
Prior to the new law going into effect, there were approximately 50MM uninsured Americans. The new law is expected to decrease that number by over 30MM people. The sources of coverage will also change due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Previously, the major source of healthcare coverage in the United States came from employers. That will remain the same under the new law only at a lower overall percentage. The newly created insurance exchanges will handle 14% of healthcare coverage, gaining clients from the previously uninsured ranks. While some may choose to continue to proceed without health insurance there will be a penalty in the form of an additional tax starting at $95 per individual or 1% of their taxable income in year one. That penalty will increase in 2015 to $325 per person or 2% of taxable income and will increase once again in 2016.
To help translate and answer questions how ACA will affect individuals, employers, and insurance companies, Dr. Karen Minyard from the Georgia Health Policy Center joins us in the studio to share her in-depth knowledge of the new law. A nurse and hospital administrator for over 13 years, Dr. Minyard is the Director of the GHPC at Georgia State University and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Listeners may find more information about the GHPC at www.gsu.edu/ghpc.
Dr. Karen Minyard
- PHD, Business Administration, Georgia State University
- MSN, Nursing Administration, Medical College of Georgia
- Bachelor of Science, Nursing, University of Virginia
- Board Member, National Network of Public Health Initiatives
- Board Member, Physician’s Innovation Network
Hyperbaric medicine is recognized by most of us as the treatment of choice for deep dive sickness via decompression ( a process for removing excess nitrogen gas bubbles from the blood stream). Well-hyperbaric medicine has come a long way, is appropriate for many indications and can be the treatment of choice for conditions requiring hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) such carbon monoxide poisoning. Hyperbaric medicine has also provided great success in providing evidence-based, advanced wound care technology to improve chronic diabetic ulcers, radiation injuries, burns, and crushing injuries to tissue.
Treatments are provided in FDA approved, multiplace or monoplace hyperbaric chambers that delivers 100% oxygen in an environment that is pressurized 2-3 x normal atmospheric pressure. The theory is that with the additional oxygen and pressure, the oxygen transport cabability of the blood is greatly enhanced bringing an oxygen rich blood supply to promote faster healing in compromised tissues. The chamber also promotes vasoconstriction which can help in some conditions like burns. Patients are monitored by clinical staff throughout the treatment, which normally lasts about 2 hrs. Depending on the severity of the affected area, physicians prescribe and supervise a set number of treatments over time to obtain the healing results. There are not many contraindications for these treatments. Side effects are usually minor and ear or sinus pressure related, which often is naturally resolved within a few hours after treatment. Health insurance companies often cover the costs of the treatments for a variety of clinical indications.
For this segment, we are joined by guest, Charles Hall, BSN of Hyperbaric Physicians of GA (the largest hyperbaric medicine group in the Southeast) to provide the latest information on hyperbaric medicine. Listeners can find more information at www.hbomdga.com.
Dr. David Swhegman
- Medical Degree from The Ohio State University
- Residency completed in Emergency Medicine from OSU
- Former Asst. Professor of Emergency Medicine at Emory
- Chief Medical Director in private practice at Hyperbaric Physicians of Georgia
- Named 2011 “Top Doctor in Atlanta” by Atlanta Magazine
- BSN from South University
- 8 yrs experience in surgical/cardiovascular intensive care
- Joined Hyperbaric Physicians of GA in 2010
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in the United States. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the US- and it is often preventable! The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 140,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year and there will be about 50,000 deaths attributed to this disease. Yet almost 20 million Americans have not been screened (the current screening rate is 65.1%). The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is 1:20.
Although it is possible for young people to get colon cancer, 9/10 people diagnosed are > 50 yrs old. A large percentage of colon cancers begin as polyps in the lining of the colon. Risk factors include: a history of polpys, a family history of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases, smoking, and Crohn’s disease. Colonoscopy remains the “gold standard” for colorectal cancer screening, although there are blood tests and lower GI series that can also aid in the diagnosis. Early stage colorectal cancers can have as high as a 95% cure rate. Screening guidelines recommend starting regular screening at age 50 (unless there are risk factors that indicate earlier) and continuing until age 75. Signs and symptoms include: rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits that last longer than a few days, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and unintended weight loss. Treatments depend on the size and location of the tumors. Early stage disease can often be treated with surgical removal only. Late stage disease can include surgery, chemotherapy and at times, radiation.
For this segment, we have asked a local expert, Dr. Marc Sonenshine from Atlanta Gastroenterology Specialists to return during this month focused on screening to provide us with both basic information and updates on Colorectal Cancer. Listeners can find more information at www.atlantagastro.com.
Dr. Marc Sonenshine
- Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
- MD from Medical College of GA; Residency completed at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Gastroenterology fellowship at Emory University
- MBA from Terry College of Business at University of GA
- Volunteers with Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Camp Oasis for kids with IBD
- Special interest areas: inflammatory bowel disease, prevention of GI malignancy and management of chronic liver disease
What would your life be like if your body craved sleep- as much as 16 hrs per day? Could you work? What would your family life be like? In America, approximately 5% of the population has this problem-hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is a large group of disorders characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) or prolonged nighttime sleep (> 10 hrs/night) over a 3 month period. This condition can have a direct or secondary cause and occurs in men slightly more than women. Symptoms often begin to occur in late teens or early twenties. Hypersomina can be disabling, is poorly understood and the medical understanding of hypersomnia is in its infancy.
There are no known cures for hypersomnia. However, there are treatments (usually medications) that can help the patient to improve their quality of life and have more waking hours. These medications typically fall into three categories: stimulants, non-stimulating, wake –promoting medications and sodium oxybate. The Emory University Sleep Disorders research team has been doing some work using somnogen type medication that appears to influence tha GABA activity. The team also completed a study that examined cerebrospinal fluid in hypersomnia patients which resulted in a breakthrough in determining the cause. The hope is that in the future,with this new information, new rational approaches can be devised for treatments of patients suffering from hypersomnia.
For expertise in this segment, we have tapped Dr. David Rye, and internationally known and respected researcher and leader in this field to lend his expertise and experience to educate listeners and followers about hypersomnia. Listeners can find more information at www.hypersomniafoundation.org.
Dr. David Rye
- Medical Degree from University of Chicago
- Residency in Neurology , University of Chicago Hospital
- Ph.D in Neurobiology, University of Chicago
- Board certified in Psychiatry and Neurology
- Internationally recognized researcher in sleep disorders featured in
- Wall Street Journal, ABC News and CNN
Millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss and the usual culprits are tooth decay, gingivitis and injury. There is evidence dating back 4000 years to the Chinese using bamboo dental implants, the Egyptians using metal implants and Mayan cultures using shells for implants. So although the practice of using dental implants is not new, innovative surgical techniques and technologies now make dental implants better ever for helping patient achieve the benefits of an improved appearance, speech, eating, oral health and self esteem.
Dental implants provide anchors or “teeth roots” that serve as a foundation for orthodontics, permanently fixed dentures or total teeth replacement. Although there are different types of implants, most are made from titanium. Implant material is designed to fuse to bone, over a period of months, during a process called osseointegration. Dental implant surgery can be performed immediately following a tooth loss, delayed (2 weeks-3 mo) or late (>3 mo. post tooth loss). Most people are candidates for the oral surgery with the biggest criteria for success being healthy bone and gums. Heavy smokers and people with chronic diseases may need careful consideration. Like any surgery, there are potential complications such as bleeding, infection, and tissue necrosis. However, today’s success rates are 96-68%.
For expertise in this segment, we local oral surgeon and dental implant expert, Dr. Robert Wunderle to lend his expertise and experience to educate listeners and followers about dental implants. Listeners can find more information at www.atlantaoralsurgery.com.
Dr. Robert Wunderle
- Dental School completed at The Ohio State University
- Residency program completed at Emory University
- Board-certified in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Founding member of Atlanta Oral and Facial Surgery private practice
Dr. Paul “PJ” Schaner
- Dental school and residency completed at University of Pittsburgh Medical Ctr
- Fellowship in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery obtained from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC
- Special interests include:
- dental implants, aesthetic surgery and dental trauma surgery
Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common kind of cancer in the US and the third leading cancer-related cause of death in the US. Although the CDC reported in November of 2013 that 20 million Americans still have not completed a colon cancer screening test, the incidence of colon cancer has been steadily decreasing over the past 20 years. Possible reasons for this decline are improved screening finds pre-cancerous polyps early, treatments have improved and screening procedures have improved. It is expected that as the Affordable Care Act advances and more people have insurance (and this type of screening is covered) , that screening rates should improve. A procedure called a colonoscopy is the primary screening procedure (62%) for colon cancer screening. In addition, a colonoscopy has many other GI related indications, such as : bleeding, abdominal pain, polyp removal, unexplained weight loss and inflammatory bowel disease.
Until recently, many patients were fearful of going to get the colonscopy test completed due to discomfort during the procedure, an unwillingness to complete the required preparation or lack of insurance coverage. Beginning at age 50 (45 for African Americans), screening for colon cancer should begin if the pt. has no symptoms. A colonoscopy may be indicated earlier for patients with GI symptoms, a family history of colon cancer, or IBS. Now, in the news, are virtual colonoscopies- which require no sedation but do have additional radiation exposure risk.
For expertise in this segment, we have turned to a board certified GI specialist in Atlanta, Dr. Max Shapiro- who has a special interest in colon cancer screening . Dr. Shapiro is board certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology/hepatology and is in private practice at Metro Atlanta Gastro at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta. Listeners can find more information at www.metroatlantagastro.com.
Dr. Max Shapiro
- Medical Degree from Tufts University in Boston, MA
- Internal Medicine fellowship completed at Emory University
- Fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology from Georgetown in DC
- Board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
- Private practice at Metro Atlanta Gastro with interest in colon cancer screening
Do you see signs of aging on your face? Do you have more wrinkles , fine lines and discolorations than 10-15 years ago? Most of us do not like the idea of showing our age and many of us are busy seeking solutions to not only prevent further skin aging, but to address past damage as well. Some studies say we prioritize beauty treatments in times of economic turmoil. Business results show prove this point-especially in America where we still spend to look good. Beauty spending increased 26.5% from Q3 to Q4 one year ago. Now, with clinical evidenced based products with pharmaceutical grade ingredients, many of us can get professional results at home for improved beautiful skin, completion improvements and correction of skin problems .
Symptoms of skin aging include discoloration, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles, decreased elasticity. Skin types and skin conditions affect what products will work to transform our skin condition and protect it from damage of UV light and pollution. Products that may be used to improve facial appearance and skin condition include: antioxidants, corrective creams, exfoliants, masques, toners, sunscreens, serums, eye and lip care, cleansers and moisturizers.
For expertise in this segment, we have sourced our expert from a beauty expert, licensed skin care therapist and self-proclaimed beauty junkie, Gregorie Guillaume,
- Licensed Aesthetician in NYC and LA
- Beauty Blogger and writer for multiple media outlets
- Co-Founder of HueKnewIt
Urinary incontinence and an overactive bladder is not only a significant social and economic health problem, but it can be a “bother” for many women. There are large variations as the the degree of this problem and when to treat it. The prevalence of urinary incontinence in women peaks around menopause and some have estimated this health condition affects 3-17% of women. Urge incontinence is more likely to require treatment than stress incontinence. Causes for this condition are typically bladder or sphincter dysfunction or both.
Urodynamic testing are some procedures administered that can be administered in clinics, doctor’s office and at times the hospital. These focus on the bladder’s ability to hold urine and empty steadily and completely. Indications for urodynamic testing include: urine leakage, frequency of urination, painful urination, sudden strong urges to urinate, problems with starting a urine stream, problems with emptying the bladder completely and recurrent urinary tract infections. Testing procedures range from simple observation to sophisticated instruments and imaging. Types of urodynamic tests are: uroflowmetry, post void residual measurements, cystometric tests, leak point pressure, pressure flow studies, electromyography, and video urodynamic testing.
Tune in to this segment for more information about the “What, When and Why” of urodynamic testing as presented by local urogynecology expert, Dr. Jennifer Elliott, a local Atlanta gynecologist. Listeners can also obtain more information on www.whaatlanta.com.
Dr. Jennifer Elliott
- MD from LSU School of Medicine
- Completed residency at Atlanta Medical Center
- Board certified OB/GYN
- Named “Best Doc” by Lifestyle magazine
- In private practice at Women’s Health Associates
The computer screen is a common tool used in today’s workplace , home and society interactions. The American Optometry Association reports that in Western cultures, many American workers spend hours looking at computer screens. The Vision Council reported in 2012 that 70% of Americans will experience some eye strain from looking at digital devices annually. School children are also at risk as 60 million kids will use computers or digital devices (not TV’s) for > 1 hr/day. School performance starts with the eyes and it has been estimated that 80% of learning comes visually. Computer eye strain is the first computer related health complaint. Some vision health care experts report that if you are looking at a computer screen or digital device for > 2 hrs per day, you have a 90% chance of developing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS also affects work performance and the bottom line for companies with a significant workforce that works on computers and digital devices. It is becoming a public health issue as in 2013, over 10 million visits to eye professionals were made for CVS.
Computer Vision Syndrome is usually not permanent but can be very painful and it is very treatable. Typical causes are unsuitable work environments and improper use of eye glasses and contacts. Symptoms are typically associated with “near work” and can include: eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Treatments range from limiting exposure, to redesign of work environments (lighting, computer settings), eye drops and proper use and fitting of eye devices.
Tune in to this segment for more information about the causes, symptoms and treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome. Dr. Marc Lay, a local Atlanta optometrist who has completed doctoral research work on this subject, will lend his expertise on this topic affecting so many adults and children. Listeners can also obtain more information on www.georgiaeyephysicians.com.
Dr. Marc Lay
- Doctor of Optometry at State University of NY, College of Optometry
- Completed residency at Salisbury VA in NC
- Doctorate research work focus in Computer Vision Syndrome
- Former volunteer with SCOSH in Lima, Peru to provide vision services
- In private practice at Georgia Eye Physicians in Duluth, GA
As the holidays approach us, many people look forward to spending time with family and friends and to the joys of the season. However, the holidays can bring some unwanted guests- stress and depression, for adults and children. Changes occur from year to year and these changes can affect is especially around the holidays- even positive changes. For others, the holidays are associated with negative feelings. Even after the holidays, many people experience the “Post Holiday Blues.” A recent poll showed that 8 /10 Americans experience stress around the holidays.
External triggers for holiday stress and sadness may include: loss of a loved one through divorce, death or a move, loss of a job or home or toxic relationships. Internal triggers can may be unresolved grief, underlying medical conditions, fear, isolation and loneliness and the contrast between expectations and reality. Sometimes, these feelings may be more than the “blues” and mental health professional involvement may be warranted if problems such as changes in appetite, sleep and weight persist for more than a few weeks or there is a lack of energy, social withdrawal and continued sorrow.
For most of us, however, planning ahead and using some key strategies can get us through this season. Seeking serenity, practicing forgiveness, letting go of unrealistic expectations, avoiding substance abuse, staying away from toxic people, practicing self care, reaching out to others, planning things we enjoy ourselves can help.
Tune in to this segment for more information about holiday stress triggers and causes and some strategies to make your holiday experience be filled with more hope and gratitude. Dr. Theodore Morgan, a local Atlanta psychiatrist will lend his expertise on this timely topic and also discuss when more than our own strategies may be warranted and professional help enlisted. Listeners can also obtain more information on www.gabehavioralhealth.com.
Dr. Theodore Morgan
- Medical training at Meharry College of Medicine
- Completed psychiatry fellowship at University of Alabama
- Board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry
- Member of the America Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- In private practice at GA Behavioral Health