News

September 2014

FLU SHOTS ARE IN NOW!  CALL TO SCHEDULE. We advise all of our patients to be vaccinated.

 

We have just converted to a new medical software in our office.  Please be patient as we learn the new system.  We will be asking you to update all of your insurance information at check-in.  This software will allow improved communication with your specialists.  We also will be initiating a patient portal.  The link is on our website home page and we will notify you when we are ready for you to sign up!  The portal will allow you to view labs, view your immunizations, fill out forms online, schedule appointments, send questions to your provider.  We will be able to upload forms to the portal that you may need for work or insurance.  Our training will be in a few weeks.

We are now accredited as an NCQA medical home!

As your medical home we will:

 

  1. Take care of your health care needs when you are sick.
  2. Offer preventative care to keep you well.
  3. Talk with you about any testing and treatments that you may need.
  4. Work with you and other care providers to coordinate care.
  5. Provide resources,education and information regarding medications, specialists, community health team resources, home care, equipment and vendors, support services for you and your family.
  6. We will plan your care and set goals for care, now and in the future.

 

What can you do to help meet your treatment goals?

  • Be prepared to share how you are doing and any particular issues you may be having.
  • Share past medical history about yourself and self care information.
  • Write down and bring in your questions and concerns.
  • Bring a list of other providers you may have seen since your last visit.
  • Be an active participant in planning your care and self management goals.
  • Bring your insurance card and co-pay if you have one.
  • Bring any forms you would like us to complete.
  • Bring your prescription bottles in with you so we can ensure accurate medication dosing.

As a patient centered medical home, we now have a community care team to help manage your health care needs.  You have access to nurses, health coaches, nutritionists, diabetic educators and social workers all at our office at no cost to you.

 

A WORD TO OUR PATIENTS ABOUT MEDICARE

AND WELLNESS CARE

Dear Patient,

We want you to receive wellness care – health care that may lower your risk of illness or injury. Medicare pays for some wellness care, but it does not pay for all the wellness care you might need. We want you to know about your Medicare benefits and how we can help you get the most from them.

The term “physical” is often used to describe wellness care. But Medicare does not pay for a traditional, head-to-toe physical. Medicare does pay for a wellness visit once a year to identify health risks and help you to reduce them. At your wellness visit, our health care team will take a complete health history and provide several other services:

• Screenings to detect depression, risk for falling and other problems,

• A limited physical exam to check your blood pressure, weight, vision and other things depending on your age, gender and level of activity,

• Recommendations for other wellness services and healthy lifestyle changes.

Before your appointment, our staff will ask you some questions about your health and may ask you to fill out a form.

A wellness visit does not deal with new or existing health problems. That would be a separate service and requires a longer appointment. Please let our scheduling staff know if you need the doctor’s help with a health problem, a medication refill or something else. We may need to schedule a separate appointment. A separate charge applies to these services, whether provided on the same date or a different date than the wellness visit.

We hope to help you get the most from your Medicare wellness benefits. Please contact us with any questions.

 


Dear Patient,

We now have a new system in place to care for you in the hospital. When you are admitted to the hospital, your providers at Alder Brook Family Health will be communicating with the new Hospitalist Team at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Your care will be provided by one of the hospital medicine specialists and their healthcare team. We will fax an updated medication and problem list to the hospital and we will be in close touch with your hospital physicians.

This system is rapidly becoming the standard of care in hospitals throughout the country. Advantages for our patients are many. Your care will be provided by a physician who is at the hospital throughout the day, not just early in the morning for rounds. This physician will be able to rapidly review test results throughout the day and change your care plan as new results become available. If you have any type of emergency during the day or night, there will be a physician from the hospital medicine team on site to care for you. The hospital medicine team will be working very closely with the residents in our teaching hospital as we have done for many years.

Your physician at Alder Brook Family Health will be able to remain up to date with your hospital care and will be updated by the hospital team at the time of discharge. We will no longer be visiting you in the hospital but we feel very confident that your care will be provided by an excellent team of Internal Medicine physicians who specialize in the ever changing world of hospital medicine. We will continue to be available to you for all of your outpatient needs. If you or your family has questions during your stay in the hospital, we will help you to communicate with the Hospital team providing your care.

Sincerely,

Diane C. Rippa M.D.

Elizabeth Newman M.D.

Lucy VanHollebeke RN,FNP

  • VACCINE UPDATE:

    1. Gardasil Vaccine is a new vaccine for girls and boys ages 11-12. This is also available for girls and women up to age 26. The vaccine protects against many of the viruses which cause cervical cancer. Insurance is covering administration of this vaccine.

    2. Chicken Pox Vaccine: We now recommend a booster for the chickenpox vaccine. All children who have been vaccinated once should receive a booster at their well child examination.

    3. Tetanus Shots: We recommend the tetanus booster for adults every ten years. Now there is a tetanus vaccine which contains protection against whooping cough.  This Tdap booster is given once to adults.  Then you may receive a regular tetanus shot every 10 years.

    4. We recommend the tetanus booster with whooping cough protection for children at their 11-12 physical.

    5. Rotavirus: We are now giving rotavirus vaccine to babies at ages 2, 4 and 6 months of age. This vaccine is given orally. It protects against a virus which causes a severe intestinal infection in young children.

    6. Meningitis vaccine is recommended at the 11-12 year old physical exam and now there is a recommendation to have a one time booster in five years. This is a very important vaccine which protects against a deadly form of meningitis.

Pneumonia vaccine is now recommended for many patients: (See the cdc website , http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/default.htm, for more information.)

  1. All adults 65 years of age and older.
  2. Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who has a long-term health problem such as: heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid or cochlear implant.
  3. Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who has a disease or condition that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as: Hodgkin’s disease; lymphoma or leukemia; kidney failure; multiple myeloma; nephrotic syndrome; HIV infection or AIDS; damaged spleen, or no spleen; organ transplant.
  4. Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who is taking a drug or treatment that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as: long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs, radiation therapy.
  5. Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma.
  6. Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
  • Shingles Vaccine:
    Shingles vaccine is available in Chittenden County. Shingles vaccine is recommended for all people 60 and over. Additional information on the vaccine is available at the CDC website here.

    Many local pharmacies are administering the Shingles Vaccine.  Call us if you have questions about this vaccine and how to get it.

    We have vaccine available from the Health Department for patients ages 60-64!!

    Hepatits B vaccine is now recommended for all patients under 60 with Diabetes.

Laboratory testing and radiology:

If you need to have blood drawn, click here for blood drawing sites and hours:
Fletcher Allen Health Care
Northwestern Medical Center

If you need to have an x-ray done on a walk-in basis at FAHC, call either Fanny Allen (847-1468) or Main Campus/ACC (847-3593) for their hours.

If you need to have an x-ray done at Northwestern Medical Center click here.

Living Wills and Advanced Care Documents

Have you told friends or family what type of care you would or wouldn’t want if you were unable to talk for yourself? Do you have a Living Will or an Advanced Care Directive? Have you chosen someone to be your Medical Power of Attorney to make medical care decisions for you if you were to be unable to make these decisions for yourself? Have you told friends or family whether you would like to donate your organs when you die? Have you discussed your wishes with your health care provider and provided us with a copy of your Advanced Care Directive?

We would like EVERY adult in our practice to have an Advanced Care Document (Living Will).

Vermont has an excellent Advanced Directive Form. You can learn more about Living Wills, look at useful worksheets to help guide your decision making process and find answers to frequently asked questions at the Vermont Ethics Network website here.

A usuable copy of the Vermont Advanced Directive can be printed from the Vermont Ethics Website here. Forms are also available in the Alderbrook Office.

No Health Insurance??
Look for information on the new Catamount Health Plan. You can call: 1-800-250-8427 Or go to the website to find the program which is right for you.

MRSA: What can I do to avoid it?

MRSA is an infection caused by Staphococcal bacteria which are resistant to the most common antibiotics. They most commonly infect skin and cause boils or abscesses. Rarely they can cause much more serious infections. Protect yourself by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands often using plain soap and water for at least 15 seconds each time. You may also want to carry alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers or wipes in your bag for times when you can’t wash your hands.

  • If you have a cut or broken skin, keep it clean and covered with a bandage.

  • Don’t share razors, towels, uniforms, or other items that come into contact with bare skin.

  • Clean shared sports equipment with antiseptic solution before each use or use a barrier (clothing or towel) between your skin and the equipment.

You may not need antibiotics any longer for dental procedures if you have a heart murmer.
There are new guidelines advising patients that antibiotics are NOT needed unless you have an artificial heart valve or have had a heart valve infection in the past. Some patients with congenital heart disease or heart transplants will still need antibiotics. Please check with your health care provider to be sure you do not need antibiotics. The risk of heart infections is very small. These new guidelines are based on information from leading cardiologists in the United States. Research suggests that there is a greater risk of antibiotic resistance and reaction to antibiotics than there is of heart valve infections.