When to Consider Urgent Care By Dr. Rakesh Kalra

Doctor and PaitentAlthough emergency rooms can provide crucial medical care during severe health crises, many people might be unaware of when a trip to the ER is unnecessary. An estimated 27.1 percent of all visits to the ER in the U.S. can be treated at urgent care facilities and retail clinics, according to a Rand Corp. study, potentially saving $4.4 billion annually in health-care costs[i]. It can often be cost-effective for patients to learn about urgent care facilities in their area and the services they offer.

Urgent care clinics can offer many advantages when compared to ERs, typically providing immediate care at a more affordable cost. The average ER visit costs more than seven times as much as the average urgent care visit, according to data from Consumer Reports[ii]. Many urgent care locations are open on evenings and weekends, providing an alternative to the ER when primary care providers’ offices are typically closed. All four of HealthCare Partners Nevada’s urgent care locations offer weekend and evening services. The Wynn clinic is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Patients are often unaware that most urgent care facilities can treat a wide variety of illnesses and conditions, including flu, minor broken bones and fractures, ear infections, skin rashes and urinary tract infections. Some urgent care clinics also offer laboratory services. HealthCare Partners’ four urgent care clinics offer many services, including:

  • Basic gynecology (at the Wynn, Calvada and West Charleston clinics)
  • Electrocardiograms
  • Injections
  • Internal medicine
  • Laboratory services
  • Laceration care
  • Limited immunizations
  • Minor procedures
  • Wellness exams and physicals
  • Radiology

HealthCare Partners Nevada’s urgent care locations include:

  • West Lake Mead clinic – 595 W. Lake Mead Parkway, Las Vegas
  • Calvada clinic – 1501 E. Calvada Blvd., Pahrump
  • West Charleston clinic – 9499 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 150, Las Vegas
  • Wynn clinic – 4880 S. Wynn Road, Las Vegas

It is important for patients to recognize when an illness or condition is severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER. Symptoms that likely require emergent care include seizures, extreme bleeding, head trauma with loss of consciousness and severe broken bones. Urgent care can treat conditions with less critical symptoms, including sore throat, earache, vomiting and rashes.

HealthCare Partners strives to provide immediate urgent care as part of its Total Care Model, a coordinated approach to health care in which a dedicated team of primary care providers, specialists and professional staff work together to manage all aspects of patients’ care and overall health. To learn more about HealthCare Partners’ urgent care services, visit www.hcpnv.com/urgentcare.

Tips for Managing Osteoporosis By Dr. Sunita Kalra

Many seniors experience falls throughout the year that can result in significant health issues. One in every three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those individuals, 20 to 30 percent suffer injuries such as cuts, fractured hips or even head trauma. Since May is National Osteoporosis Month, it is important to discuss the impact of the disease, which can significantly impact bone health.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis causes nearly 9 million fractures each year worldwide, while one-fifth of women 70 and older are impacted by the disease. HealthCare Partners Nevada is committed to helping seniors live active and healthy lifestyles while avoiding common injuries caused by osteoporosis.

As a physician with HealthCare Partners Nevada, I encourage seniors to take important steps in preventing falls around the home. Useful precautions for avoiding fall-related injuries include engaging in regular exercises that strengthen the lower body muscles and improve balance, such as dancing, walking, stretching or pilates. HealthCare Partners Nevada also recommends closely monitoring medications for drugs that can cause dizziness or sleepiness, installing grab bars in the shower and placing night lights in hallways and bathrooms.

In addition to measures individuals can take to safeguard their homes, a well-balanced diet high in calcium and vitamin D is essential for bone health. Salmon and tuna contain high levels of vitamin D, while dairy products such as skim milk, yogurt and cheese are packed with calcium.[3] As we age, our daily vitamin D and calcium requirements increase. Monitoring your diet and packing the shopping cart with items that improve bone health is crucial.

Prevention is a key component of the Total Care Model that HealthCare Partners Nevada practices. Under this innovative approach to health care, we provide patients with a coordinated team of primary care providers, specialists and professional staff who oversee all aspects of their health care.

For more information about HealthCare Partners Nevada, please visit www.hcpnv.com.

 

Tips For Reducing Stress By Dr. Justin Maxwell

Stress_ShutterstockEverybody deals with stress. Whether it’s arguing with a spouse, studying for a final exam, financial difficulties or unforeseen circumstances at work, stress is a part of life. Stress impacts people in different ways, but it’s how we cope with life’s stresses that influence overall health. Before discussing how to relieve stress, it is important to talk about the consequences of elevated stress.

According to the American Heart Association, high stress levels can influence behaviors and factors that increase one’s risk for a variety of ailments, including high blood pressure and cholesterol levelssmokingphysical inactivity and overeating. Drinking to excess and smoking can increase blood pressure and damage artery walls. To combat stress, medical professionals recommend healthy eating, a regular exercise regimen and maintaining a positive attitude.

Stress management is integral to long-term mental and physical health. The American Psychological Association (APA) believes the negative consequences of stress can be reduced through enjoyable activities that stimulate the mind and body. Some people enjoy playing music or painting to relieve stress, while others find solace in things like meditation, yoga and jogging. Even something as simple as a 20-minute walk or swim can alleviate the burden of stress and provide a much-needed boost that can last several hours.

There are many avenues achieving to stress relief, but the positive impact of exercise cannot be overstated. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, physical activity reduces fatigue, improves alertness and concentration and enhances overall cognitive function. In addition, exercise produces endorphins- natural neural chemicals that reduce the perception of pain- and serves as a sleep aid, which in turn can alleviate stress

HealthCare Partners, a leading medical organization in Southern Nevada, strives to raise awareness about the effects of high stress levels. Through HealthCare Partners’ comprehensive Total Care Model, patients suffering from stress and stress-related ailments benefit from a dedicated group of health care professionals who work together to manage all aspects of patients’ overall health. This coordination of care also helps patients maximize their allowance of health insurance benefits, which is critical for those who require long-term treatment. 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 collaborate to determine an optimal treatment plan.

Schedule an appointment with a provider today to start taking a more proactive approach to maintaining your health. To find a HealthCare Partners provider, visit www.hcpnv.com.

Getting the Most Out of a Doctor’s Appointment

Appointments_ShutterstockRegularly visiting a primary care doctor is an important component of staying healthy, but many people might not be taking full advantage of their one-on-one time with providers. A doctor’s visit is useful not only for addressing current health issues, but also for checking in about important screenings, immunization updates and any other wellness services that might be needed. In addition, some patients might not be aware of how to fully utilize their health insurance coverage to achieve the best care at an affordable cost. With an increasing number of people obtaining health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act, many individuals have new options for taking control of their health care that they didn’t before. Fortunately, there are several helpful steps people can take to make the most out of each doctor’s appointment and to ensure their health insurance coverage is fully utilized.

Provider visits

Provide Family History

Health care providers are better equipped to offer thorough assessments when patients supply accurate information about common illnesses in their families. It’s helpful for patients to update their family histories before visiting their provider and to take note of any diseases or conditions that have occurred among immediate or extended family members. This information can help providers determine a person’s risk for many chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Be Forthcoming about Personal Practices

It’s important for patients to be honest with physicians about their personal lifestyles, including their diet and exercise regimen, especially if their daily habits might put them at higher risk for any diseases. Providers can help design patients’ overall wellness plans based on this personal information, including recommending an improved meal plan or a more effective exercise regimen.

Compile a List of all Current Medications

Providers often request for patients to bring them a list of all current medications they are taking in order to ensure none of these prescriptions are counteracting each other or are dangerous to take at the same time. Some patients obtain prescriptions from multiple health care providers who aren’t aware of their other medications, making it important for the primary care provider to oversee all of their medications. It could be useful for patients to look into pursuing coordinated care, where this is a high priority.

Ask about Screenings

Health experts recommend a variety of wellness screenings for many patients who meet specific parameters. Some patients might also be due for vaccinations for certain illnesses, including shingles, tetanus and pneumonia. It is important for patients to ask their providers about which of these preventative measures they need to pursue based on their age, family health history and lifestyle.

Insurance Coverage

There are also specific measures that can help people take full advantage of their health insurance benefits, including:

Utilize Discounts

Many health insurance plans offer free or discounted preventative health and wellness services, including gym memberships. Utilizing these discounts can provide tools for people to improve their overall health and reduce the need for medical care down the road.

Pursue Health Screenings

Some plans also offer free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index. This information can be useful in working with health care providers to monitor patients’ overall health and also set target goals to improve these measurements.

Ensure your Plan Meets all your Needs

It is useful for patients to select a health insurance plan that covers all treatments and preventative services necessary for themselves and their families. This should include choosing a plan with coverage for anticipated needs, especially if patients are expecting high-cost medical situations such as surgeries or pregnancies.

HealthCare Partners strives to promote doctor-patient engagement as well as preventative health care services through its Total Care Model, a coordinated approach to health care in which a dedicated team of primary care providers, specialists and professional staff work together to manage all aspects of patients’ care and overall health, resulting in improved results and lower costs. Patients also have access to integrated tools to manage all of their health care needs, including a Patient Access Line and online portal Follow My Health. To learn more about HealthCare Partners, please visit www.hcpnv.com.

 

Help Make a Difference for Millions of People

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Millions of Americans may face fewer healthcare choices and higher costs due to proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA). With healthcare expenses on the rise and chronic conditions becoming more common, these cuts would be a huge step in the wrong direction.

MA offers care coordination and preventive benefits that help people better manage their chronic conditions and avoid additional illnesses or complications. A study published in the American Journal of Managed Care indicated that MA beneficiaries receive better care and experience fewer hospitalizations than those covered by standard Medicare.

We need your help to protect MA and our most vulnerable people. MA is the only government program that provides coordinated care to senior citizens. With the proposed cuts, Americans could experience a decrease in health and quality of life.

There is not a lot of time. March 31 is the deadline to have your voice heard. Tell Congress to stop the cuts at ProtectMyMA.com. It could make a huge difference, and will only take one minute.

Nutrition Tips for Healthy Living By: Dr. Lana Dawood

Nutrition photoThe journey to overall health starts with the food we consume on a daily basis. Intelligent nutrition choices can prevent the onset of many diseases and serve as the linchpin for an active and healthy lifestyle. At Healthcare Partners, we empower our patients to play an active role in maintaining their health and choosing diet and exercise routines that fit their needs. A diet high in water consumption – and low on sugary beverages – is a vital building block in human health. A reusable water bottle in the home and office will serve as a constant reminder of the importance of smart hydration.

Harvard’s School of Public Health recently published 10 tips for healthy eating, and the first tip dispels the common notion that carbohydrates are unhealthy. Whole grains are an example of “good carbohydrates,” while processed carbohydrates are considered “bad carbohydrates” because they tend to have most of their natural nutrients and fiber removed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are harmful, although trans fats and saturated fat should be avoided. Plant oils, nuts and fish are the healthiest sources of fat, and fish, poultry, nuts and beans are the best protein sources, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating an array of fruits and vegetables: fresh, frozen, low-sodium canned, dried and 100 percent juices are acceptable options. For individuals with high blood pressure or cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic recommends a diet low in sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol, and chock full of vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. A daily multivitamin can be a useful addition to a well-rounded diet.

Healthcare Partners patients have access to nutrition information and tips as part of the Total Care Model, and our team is always eager to answer questions. Under this model of health care, primary care providers, specialists and other team members work as a coordinated team to manage all aspects of patients’ care and overall health. The Total Care Model offers customized nutrition recommendations for patients, and providers encourage their patients to explore the benefits of this service. If you have any questions about nutrition or would like to learn more about services provided by Healthcare Partners, contact your physician’s office today.

DaVita HealthCare Partners’ VillageHealth and Humana Team Up To Create Humana Kidney Care By: Dr. Ama Brobbey, CMO, DaVita HealthCare Partners Nevada

More than 26 million adults across the U.S. are living with chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of those with the disease are not aware they have it, which can pose a significant health risk. If left untreated, chronic kidney disease can lead to renal failure, an irreversible condition that can become fatal without a kidney transplant or dialysis. Chronic kidney disease remains a widespread concern in Nevada, where 3,178 residents are on dialysis, according to national coalition Kidney Care Partners.

In an effort to address this issue, a new special needs plan for Medicare beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is now available in Las Vegas. VillageHealth, the integrated kidney care division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc., and Humana Inc. have joined forces to create Humana Kidney Care.

“We have proven that patient outcomes can be impacted through a total care approach,” said Todd Ezrine, president of DaVita VillageHealth. “This special needs plan with Humana gives us the opportunity to do exactly that – help make our patients’ lives better.”

“By delivering special needs plans to Humana’s chronically ill patients, we can tailor the critical aspects of their care to help meet their individual needs,” said Rick Beavin, Desert Region President for Humana’s Senior Products. “Coordinated care plans like VillageHealth have proven to lead to better patient outcomes and improved health-related quality of life, which is why Humana is excited to offer these plans to our Nevada Medicare Advantage members.”

HealthCare Partners Nevada practices the Total Care Model, which means primary care providers are supported by an entire network of nurses, specialists, care managers, diagnostic team members and others, all working in sync to help patients stay healthy. “Total Care” is a patient-centered, comprehensive model designed to help carefully manage patients’ health.

Interdisciplinary care teams coordinate patients’ overall care and navigate their various care settings, such as hospitals and physician offices. Plan members receive their entire Medicare professional and hospital services as well as their prescription drug benefits through Humana Kidney Care.

The Vegas ESRD special needs plan is a partnership between VillageHealth, Healthcare Partners Nevada (HCPNV) and Humana, in close collaboration with the DaVita Kidney Care dialysis centers in the area. HCPNV’s network of physicians and other providers will be used as the provider network for the special needs plan.

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health and well-being company focused on making it easy for people to achieve their best health with clinical excellence through coordinated care. The company’s strategy integrates care delivery, the member experience, and clinical and consumer insights to encourage engagement, behavior change, proactive clinical outreach and wellness for the millions of people it serves across the country.

DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc., a Fortune 500® company, is the parent company of DaVita Kidney Care and HealthCare Partners. DaVita Kidney Care is a leading provider of kidney care in the United States, delivering dialysis services to patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease.

1. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsChronicKidneyDisease/

The Importance of Medication Adherence By: Dr. Anjali Rege

Medication Mgmt

Medications often play a significant role in managing chronic illnesses and other serious health issues, which is why it is it is important for patients to remain compliant with taking prescriptions as directed by their health care providers. Medication non-adherence remains a widespread problem across the U.S., however. According to a National Report Card on Medication Adherence released by the National Community Pharmacists Association, more than half of Americans over 40 years old with a chronic condition – the group that uses prescription medication most regularly ¬– report multiple forms of non-compliance with their medications.

The report card’s analysis names several key factors that contribute to patients’ likelihood of medication adherence, including how easy it is to afford their medications, their personal connection with their pharmacy staff and how important they feel it is to take their medications as prescribed. HealthCare Partners has also noted common factors that affect patients’ compliance with taking medications. For instance, some patients who refill medications at different times throughout the month are less likely to be compliant, due to the difficulty associated with taking multiple trips to the pharmacy.

There are several steps patients can take to achieve better compliance with taking medications as prescribed, including:

• Coordinating with their provider for all medications to be refilled at the same time every month, requiring only one monthly trip to the pharmacist

• Building a stronger personal connection with their pharmacy staff and asking about potential side effects of medications and how to avoid them

• Discussing the importance of their medications with their providers and the potential impacts if they don’t adhere to their prescriptions

Medication adherence depends on open communication and cooperation between providers and patients. Following prescriptions as directed can help prevent additional health issues down the road, so it is helpful to develop a solid plan for taking required medications. HealthCare Partners providers are always available to discuss medications they prescribe, and they encourage patients to ask questions in order to fully understand what they are taking and why.

How to Manage Blood Pressure By: Dr. Alfred Danielian

Blood Pressure
Managing blood pressure serves as a crucial component of maintaining overall wellness. High blood pressure can cause health issues. Medical advances have provided effective means to help prevent these issues, with a wide variety of medications available to help reduce blood pressure. These medications often make a valuable difference, as long as patients never fail to take their medications.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle can also reduce blood pressure and even the need for medication. Useful lifestyle practices that help reduce blood pressure include:

•Losing weight- Blood pressure tends to rise when an individual’s weight increases.

•Exercising regularly- Working out 30 to 60 minutes several days a week can significantly reduce an individual’s blood pressure.

• Maintaining a healthy diet- A comprehensive diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables and minimal saturated fat can result in a noticeable reduction in blood pressure.

Following these simple steps for managing blood pressure can help people live longer, more active lives. HealthCare Partners cardiologists are always available to provide additional information on carrying out these measures effectively.

Don’t Miss a Step, Schedule your Annual Checkup By: Dr. Lana Dawood

Annual Check up
The New Year is the best time for you to take charge of your health. An easy way to get started is by scheduling an annual checkup with a HealthCare Partners provider. A regular physical can help your provider determine if you need to undergo additional screenings or immunizations.
Take the following steps to make the most of your annual checkup:

• Update your family history – Take note of any diseases or conditions that have occurred within your immediate and extended family.

• Be forthcoming – When it comes to checkups, honesty is the best policy. Certain aspects of your lifestyle may put you at risk for a variety of diseases.

• Ask about screenings, exams and vaccinations – Ask your provider about screening tests that are appropriate for you based on age, family health history and lifestyle.

An annual checkup is an important preventative measure that can help you and your providers pinpoint any health problems before they start. Many diseases are treatable with early prevention, and taking the proper steps to ensure that diseases are discovered early can go a long way toward leading a long and healthy life.

Schedule an appointment with a provider today to start taking a more proactive approach to maintaining your health.