Monthly Archives: November 2014

Managing Diabetes to Prevent Complications By Dr. Chard Bubb

Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects nearly 10 percent of people in the U.S., according to the American Diabetes Association. In recognition of National Diabetes Month, which occurs each November, the providers from HealthCare Partners Medical Group would like to share information to help millions of Americans who suffer from this prevalent disease.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects how the body uses glucose or blood sugar which serves as the main source of energy for all of the body’s cells. Type 1 diabetes occurs as a result of the body’s failure to produce insulin and type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to properly absorb the vital hormone. These conditions cause the unhealthy buildup of glucose which can cause detrimental health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the major complications associated with diabetes include blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and even the amputation of lower extremities. Thankfully, complications related to diabetes can be prevented through careful treatment and management. Although there is no cure for the disease, it can be managed, and many people diagnosed with diabetes live long and healthy lives.

Careful monitoring of the body’s glucose levels is an important part of delaying and preventing serious health complications. Patients diagnosed with diabetes should check their blood glucose regularly as directed by their health care provider. Adopting a balanced diet and maintaining a regular exercise routine are vital to controlling glucose levels and ensuring they stay within a healthy range. Insulin treatments and medication may also be necessary for some people diagnosed with diabetes. Although diabetes is common, it affects individuals differently. This is why it is extremely important to consult a health care provider to determine the proper course of treatment.

Through HealthCare Partners’ innovative Total Care Model, patients diagnosed with diabetes can benefit from a dedicated team of health care professionals who work in tandem to manage all aspects of patients’ overall health. Beyond assisting with typical clinical matters, HealthCare Partners can also help patients with medication management and even provide a shopping list of food items to assist with diabetes management. This coordination of care also helps patients maximize their allowance of health insurance benefits, which is critically important for those who require long-term treatment.

To find out more about the benefits of the Total Care Model, or to make an appointment with a HealthCare Partners provider, visit www.hcpnv.com.

Know Your Family Health History By: Dr. Justin Maxwell

Family

When patients visit their doctors for the first time, they are inevitably asked to recount their family health history. Although this part of the doctor’s visit might seem tedious, it is an extremely important part of health examinations. Family health history is a great screening tool and vital to assessing each person’s risk for diseases. For years, it has been known that certain chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and rare diseases, such as hemophilia, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, can be inherited and passed along in families. To help patients maintain their health and reduce their risk for serious illnesses, the physicians at HealthCare Partners Nevada recommend all people be informed and knowledgeable about their family’s health history.

In 2004, Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona declared Thanksgiving to be National Family History Day. As families gather for this holiday, HealthCare Partners Nevada encourages people to learn about, discuss and record important details about the medical history of their family members.

Knowing a patient’s family health history is vital to HealthCare Partners’ ability to provide the highest quality of care. All HealthCare Partners patients benefit from the use of electronic medical records that can be accessed by the patient’s health care providers, including each patient’s personal and family health history. This allows for a significantly improved level of coordinated, patient-focused care and serves to reduce waste within the system.

The use of electronic medical records is a vital part of HealthCare Partners’ Total Care Model, a unique, value-based approach to health care that provides a dedicated team of physicians, nurses and other staff members who work together to manage all aspects of patients’ care and overall health, resulting in improved results and lower costs. Readily available access to medical records ensures primary care providers and specialists have the most recent and accurate information about each patient’s health, helping them work in harmony to determine the best course of care.

Taking important steps towards learning about the medical history of each member can help families enjoy long, happy and healthy lives together. For more information about HealthCare Partners and the benefits of the Total Care Model, visit www.hcpnv.com.

Dr. Justin Maxwell is a family practice physician with HealthCare Partners Nevada. He currently sees patients at the HealthCare Partners Fort Apache Clinic located at 4730 Fort Apache Road in Las Vegas. Dr. Maxwell received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Touro University and has been practicing family medicine in Southern Nevada since 2011.

Helpful Tips for Medicare Open Enrollment

Open-Enrollment

There are only a few weeks left before Medicare Open Enrollment ends on Dec. 7, leaving limited time for seniors to make important changes to their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Open Enrollment, which occurs annually from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, marks an important time of year for individuals older than 65. During this period each year, seniors with Medicare are able to change their Medicare coverage for the following year. For most seniors, this is the only time of year these changes can be made, which is why HealthCare Partners Nevada, a medical network with locations across Southern Nevada, encourages seniors to review their health plans and ensure they have access to a coordinated, patient-focused network of health care providers.

Seniors have many details to keep in mind during this election period. There are often changes to Medicare health plans from year to year, so it is important for seniors to carefully review their plans to identify any modifications that might affect their access to care. It is essential for seniors to consider the costs, benefits and health care provider choices available.

It is also important to distinguish Medicare Open Enrollment from other health-related enrollment periods. Some people might confuse Medicare Open Enrollment with the open enrollment period for the state and federal exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. These are two separate enrollment periods and are not associated with each other.

Seniors might also want to explore Medicare Advantage plans, which may fit their health care needs. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer improved access to coordinated care and protection against high out-of-pocket expenses. Some of these plans also offer personalized telephone care management, health coaching, and education and support from health care professionals. These plans also serve as alternatives to Medicare Fee-For-Service plans.

Another key detail for seniors to consider during Open Enrollment this year is whether their coverage provides access to team-based care, an increasingly prevalent approach to health care in which a full team of health care providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, work alongside physicians to promote successful outcomes for patients, instead of patients engaging solely with doctors.

HealthCare Partners has successfully utilized this team-based approach for years in an effort to provide its patients with the highest quality of care. This collaborative approach is the cornerstone of the Total Care Model, which provides patients with access to a coordinated team of primary care providers, specialists, case managers and other professionals who work together to manage all aspects of patients’ care and overall health. This includes a strong focus on prevention and assisting patients with maximizing their health insurance benefits.

HealthCare Partners encourages seniors to learn more about Medicare Open Enrollment by visiting www.medicare.gov. People can also learn more about HealthCare Partners’ services at www.hcpnv.com.