Chronic Back Pain

If we analyzed the diagnosis codes we send to the insurance companies for payment, the ICD-9 code 724 is one of our top 10 codes. When ICD-10 implementation begins, that code will become a long string of codes with suffixes like 724.2 for plain low back pain or 724.3 for sciatica. Medicine isn’t going to get any simpler with the advent of ICD-10 but the methods of evaluating and treating low back pain won’t change much. With the ever-changing insurance landscape and more and more patients having large deductibles for which they are responsible, ordering diagnostics tests can be difficult and often delay a full evaluation. There is no escaping the reality that many of us (myself included) factor in finances when making medical decisions. One of my children recently had a strange headache. This is a teenager with no history of headaches but who has a strong family history of subarachnoid hemorrhages that are due to aneurysms in the brain. Whether it’s because I am a doctor-mother who knows too much or I am a mindful clinician that doesn’t want to miss a condition that can be cured with surgical intervention, I agreed twith the MRI of the brain of my child…..until I had a deductible of $1241.00. My insurance was paying the other $2300, but it still made me pause. And I had to ask for a payment plan with the radiology office. I don’t know of many people who have $1200 laying around and if the radiology office will set up a payment plan without interest, that beats putting it on a credit card.

This long, round about story is to discuss the new evidence about treating low back pain. There was a segment recently on National Public Radio that you might find interesting and helpful. I’ve also linked a YouTube video that is helpful. I’ll apologize for any YouTube embedded ads, I can’t control those.

Things Always Change

Living and working in a college town has always meant we tolerate a high degree of fluctuation and change. And like every business, Primary Care Physicians must deal with the ebb and flow of a changing professional landscape. We are saddened to see a very well-respected colleague and beloved physician leave our group. Dr. Julia Harris and her family are moving to Ormond Beach for her husband’s career. Her husband, Eric Harris, DO has just completed a fellowship at the University of Florida College of Medicine in hematology and oncology and he has accepted a position with a cancer center in Ormond Beach. Julia Harris, MD has been a provider with us for nearly six years and we wish her, her husband and their growing family all the best.

The ability of Primary care Physicians to adapt and provide for the needs of our patients means we are happy to welcome TWO new providers. Danielle Chaplin, DNP, ARNP and Leigh Mangus, DNP, ARNP have both just completed their doctoral program at the University of Florida College of Nursing.

The practice will have four providers with a dramatic increase in patient contact hours. We reserve 15% of every daily schedule for same day appointments to accommodate urgent issues and to help provide cost effective, convenient medical care that avoids emergency rooms and walk-in clinics.