We have started scheduling comprehensive visits (“checkups”) for members in the office. Checkups will be divided into two parts, with video discussion one day and in-office physical exam and completion the subsequent day. This will allow thorough and effective comprehensive exams that will be safer by restricting in time spent in closed exam rooms. In addition we have detailed phone prescreening for Covid-19 and active virus point-of-care testing on arrival at the office to protect all of us.
Shingles vaccine is an important vaccine for everyone over 50. It is highly effective. Supplies are finally improving. We are giving the shots in our office and have recently solved the bureaucratic puzzle to get patients Medicare Part D reimbursement. Pharmacies also can administer the vaccine.
Low-dose aspirin appears to have little if any benefit in primary prevention of vascular events in older patients while inducing more frequent serious bleeding episodes based on good recent studies. We will advise many (but not all) of you now taking baby aspirin to stop.
Influenza killed almost 80,000 people in the US last year, more than opioid overdoses, more than breast cancer, more than car accidents. The flu vaccine works and is benign. Get your flu shot with us before Thanksgiving!
Generic drugs are equally effective and safe as brand name pharmaceuticals. Prior authorization for expensive brand names is difficult to obtain and hard to justify. If a brand name is desired, the member will be asked to help provide the rationale for the approval process.
Contaminated valsartan antihypertensive medication was discovered and is being recalled. No one is likely to have been injured by the NDMA contamination, but we intend to switch everyone to irbesartan, a comparable medication in the same ARB class that has not shown any contamination issues.