Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Teen Lifestyle Balance

Facts that are not so fun:

  • Obesity in adolescents has tripled over the past 30 years
  • 56% of high school students in Colorado do not get the proper amount of physical activity
  • This generation is suspected to be the first to live shorter lives than their parents

To combat these realities, The Pueblo City-Council Health Department is now offering a free program for teenagers between the ages of 11 and 18 to teach them to live healthier lives.

The summer class meets each week for 10 weeks, each class lasting 90 minutes. The class is also offered in the fall and spring, both for 14 weeks each, and each weekly class lasting 60 minutes.

All you need are athletic shoes. So for minimal time and preparation, teens in the area can learn to get in shape, manage their weight, and live a healthier life.

As it’s a voluntary program, you know you’ll be surrounded with people with similar goals and hopes, so the program fosters a comfortable atmosphere.

At the end of the class, there are opportunities to win prizes for those that really give the program their all. Sign up today!

For the full article and more information on the Pueblo County Health Department, click here, and you can “attend” the Teen Lifestyle Balance Event on Facebook. You can also call The Pueblo City-County Health Department at 583-4315.

 

 

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Have a Healthy Swimming Season

As the weather gets warmer, more and more people are venturing out to the pools for some summer fun.

But do you know the risks that go along with sharing water with other people? Sure, plenty of people are freaked out by public pools, but there are some really easy ways to avoid “recreational water illness” (or RWI).

 

Follow these simple rules to have some safe fun this summer:

  • “Welcome to our OOL. Notice there’s no ‘P’ in it. Let’s keep it that way.” Enforce this.
  • Not feeling well? Don’t swim.
  • Shower before you go in the pool. The pool is not your shower. Most public pools have showers nearby for a quick rinse.
  • Don’t put lotion on before going in the water.
  • Take bathroom breaks every hour.
  • Wash your hands after you use the bathroom.
  • Change diapers FAR AWAY from the pool.

And most importantly…

  • DO NOT SWALLOW THE WATER.

Breaking any of these guidelines allow bacteria, viruses, and other organisms to move from person-to-person in the water. When you ingest, inhale, or make contact with these cells, it can lead to common RWIs such as cryptosporidium, norovirus, or E. coli which all lead to diarrhea-like illnesses.

You can see the full article and more information here.

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You Could Save Up to $3,000 on an MRI

One of our newest patients actually lives 6 hours away, but he’s coming to our facility anyway because we will save him $4,800.

A new article from Colorado Public News explains that this extreme gap in pricing isn’t all that uncommon.

Medical professionals agree: an MRI is essentially the same thing no matter where you go. While paying more for a hotel stay might warrant a nicer room, an MRI scan does not offer better or worse quality based on price.

So why does a shoulder MRI at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs cost $3,460, while other facilities, like ours, cost around $600 for the exact same test?

Some hospitals claim that the higher cost covers the facility being open 24 hours/day, others claim to have the “best” and “newest” state-of-the-art equipment (even though, again, it all produces the same image), and, still, others simply refuse to comment on the matter.

The president of the Colorado Medical Society, Dr. Michael Pramenko, says “In health care, we’ve sort of locked out the ability for consumers to determine costs for procedures.” Have you ever tried to get a straightforward price from a hospital? No one will answer you. Price transparency is hard to come by.

“Many consumers will check half a dozen gas stations for a few cents difference in price, but would never think they could save thousands of dollars by checking prices for a medical test like an MRI.”

Shopping around for medical care is just like shopping around for gas. Many people don’t realize they can get the same quality of care at a much lower price. Instead, they forego medical care because they think they can’t afford it.

Don’t let prices dictate what care you receive. Take care of yourself. You can afford it if you look around on sites like www.saveonmedical.com, or call us for an appointment today.

You can watch the video here.

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Turning Health Care Convenience OR Price into Convenience AND Price

Which would you rather have in your health care: convenience or low cost? Oftentimes, when choosing one, the other is sacrificed.

Hospital radiology departments can generate a lot of traffic for the perceived convenience of location and as a one-stop shop for medical care. However, there is no shortage of articles that will tell you that diagnostic imaging is more expensive at a hospital than the same services cost at a freestanding imaging center.

Even insurance companies find independent imaging centers to be more cost-friendly. As this article points out, Humana Insurance told its customers “the average national cost for an MRI at a hospital is $1,035 versus $617 at a free-standing center,” and United Health Care urged its customers to “check with your doctor to see if the scan can be performed at an imaging center which is usually less expensive than a hospital.”

Sometimes we tend to trust the old adage “you get what you pay for” and believe that paying more means we receive higher quality. When it comes to imaging pricing though, higher cost does not automatically denote higher quality.

This article points out that “costs were not based on factors such as quality or value, but instead on the leverage of providers.”

It begs the question, if hospital services are not necessarily of significantly higher quality, why are they so much more expensive than freestanding imaging centers? Some factors include the power of certain brands over others, the cost of 24 hour operations versus standard M-F business hours, as well as the ability to charge whatever price they want, thanks in part to the lack of price transparency and the lack of comparison shopping done for medical procedures. (Note: You can use Save on Medical for easy comparison shopping.)

Along with sacrificing lower price, people at hospitals tend to experience longer wait times and receive less personalized, quality customer service than independent imaging centers offer. Much of the time it’s a numbers game for big health networks and hospitals. They get so much volume that they have to rush patients in and out, rather than focusing on customer service, because there are so many customers waiting to go next.

In essence, by going to a hospital, you’re paying more for a longer wait period and lower quality customer service. What if you could live in a world of “and” instead of “or,” as in “convenient and cost-saving”?

It turns out, you can. Independent imaging centers, like Compass Imaging in Gulfport, Mississippi and Rosetta Radiology in New York City, on average feature lower-priced procedures, procedures that use the same technology, of the same high quality, and that yield the same results of the hospital radiology scans. Plus, you will receive a greater focus on providing exemplary customer service.

In addition to offering a better customer experience, independent imaging centers can provide a better experience for the referring physician’s office.

Regents Health Resources conducted a large study on hospitals versus independent imaging centers. They surveyed physicians on their main sources of dissatisfaction with referrals:

  • 53.5% said Scheduling and Registration
  • 34.2% said Reports: Turnaround Time and Quality
  • 32.8% said Preauthorization
  • 23.4% said Quality of and Access to Radiologists
  • 21.4% said Imaging Technology

Convenience and low cost sounds a whole lot better than convenience or price, just like the couple in this commercial prefer a “liftgate and great gas mileage” as opposed to a “liftgate or great gas mileage.”

http://www.youtube.com/v/v3rBTS5UiqA?fs=1

“I like ‘and’ a lot better.” So do we.

Author: April Weiner, graduate student at University of Tampa and PR/Social Media intern at Save On Medical and Atlantic Health Solutions.

You can find the full, original article here, on Save On Medical’s blog.

By checking out our Save On Medical profile, you can see why we’re the best option: we offer weekend and early morning appointments, we can accommodate spanish-speakers, and have refreshments for our patients. Make your next appointment with us a Save On Medical appointment.

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Chronic Pain Almost Cured

Pain is a good thing, surprisingly. It alerts our bodies that something is wrong.

But some paints are simply pains, not warnings. Some pain is constant. About 100 million people (that’s one third of Americans) suffers from chronic pain.

Because pain is sometimes good, curing chronic pain has been wary research. Doctors don’t want to stop our body from recognizing when something is wrong, but they want the unnecessary pain to stop.

A lot of painkillers don’t even do the job they claim to. They mask the pain instead of cure the source, and that’s where the research begins: finding the source.

When something causes us pain – a burn or a cut – the site sends a message through our nerves to our spinal cord, which then alerts the brain. In the past, a lot of focus was placed on the nerves near the site of the problem.

Now, we’re focusing on the perception of said pain in the brain.

Kenneth Follett of the University of Nebraska investigates the effect of placing focus elsewhere. Brain scans of subjects’ anterior cingulated cortices showed that patients could, to some extent, control their pain sensations based on conditioning. It’s almost like “reshaping” the circuits in the brain.

Similar, some studies show that “rewiring” the brain helps. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is used to treat major depression, but studies are finding that the 8-inch coil placed in the head can actually disrupt the pathway of pain as well.

Other studies show that the glial cells are actually responsible for a lot more than they’ve gotten credit for in the past. The achiness of the flu is actually because of glial cells exciting the spinal cord neurons, alerting the brain of the pain. Altering the glial cells can be a huge step in controlling unnecessary, chronic pain.

There’s still a lot to be done, but we’re on the way to managing our pain. You can read a lot of the interesting research here.