Hurricane Matthew

The office will be closed Friday October 7th.

As of 12 noon today, Alachua County Emergency Operations Center has designated this as a Level-1 Activation. All state, county and municipal services are closed or canceled. The county has directed all residents to stay in their homes on Friday for safety reasons. North Florida Regional Medical Center will have fully functioning emergency services but they have started closing down elective and non-emergent services for Friday, October 7th.

The National Hurricane Center expects 100mph winds to reach the Orlando area by Friday at noon. Our area will likely get tropical storm force winds of at least 60mph for a sustained period of 6 or more hours. Be prepared to be without power for potentially three (3) days.

Unless there is some extreme event, Primary Care Physicians will open for business as usual on Monday morning, October 10th, at 8am. If power and utilities have not been restored and you have an appointment, come to the office anyways.  As with Hurricane Hermine, we worked without power or phones for several days. As with Hurricane Hermine, if Cox Communications are effected and we have no phone lines, we will not have any ability for patients to reach the physician taking after hours call for the weekend.

For the greater good, please try to avoid using our local emergency rooms for non-emergent issues. In these extreme emergencies, our office will try to do all we can to accommodate patients.

Be safe, everyone and we’ll see you after Matthew leaves.

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.

Legislative Changes

Governor Rick Scott signed bills passed in the 2011 Legislative session that change medical practices. These laws went into effect July 1, 2011 and because of these new LAWS, the policies and procedures for how you may have received prescriptions or refills of certain medication has changed. This is the law and must be followed.

  • counterfeit-proof prescription paper must be used to prescribe any CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. [see the list of controlled substances here]
  • new “standards of practice” for a controlled substance prescribing practitioner are expressly defined and require
    • a complete medical history and physical exam
    • a written individualized treatment plan
    • a written controlled substance agreement
    • regular, follow appointments at least every 3 months

While Primary Care Physicians is not, nor have we ever identified ourselves as pain management providers, our patients do occasionally have pain. We also prescribe other medications classified in the same category as opioid and pain medications, such as sleep aids, anxiety medications, medications of Attention Deficit Disorders and muscle relaxers. There is no denying that, as family physicians and primary care providers, that we use these medications in the care of our patients and their medical problems but the state legislature has left the language in these laws vague and broad. Primary Care Physicians has NEVER dispensed any controlled substances from the premises. We do not stock any injectible narcotics. We do not write these schedule and controlled substances for the majority of our patients. And while we treat pain that is associated with medical problems, as family physicians, our goal is to address the CAUSE and ORIGIN of pain and treat that.  If no identifiable cause can be found, then our patients will be referred to the pain management specialists. More of our patients will be referred to the specialist because of these laws. The state is restricting the scope of the practice of medicine with regards to controlled substances and we will comply with the state laws. The treatment of pain and the chronic use of opioids and controlled substances will become a separate and distinct specialty of medicine and must be provided by the pain management specialist. We aren’t surgeons and could remove your tonsils or gallbladder. Likewise, we are not pain specialists and cannot manage your pain.

Florida has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the country, if not the world. In Broward County, there are more pain clinics than Burger Kings.

We must all do our part at limiting the flow of controlled substances onto the streets. And because of these new laws these are our new rules:

  • Before you can receive your next prescription, you must sign a controlled substance agreement. Refusal to sign this agreement will result in our INABILITY to write your prescription.
  • Any refills for controlled substances at your  pharmacy will cancelled.
  • If you have not been seen since July 1, 2011, call and make an appointment for your headaches, arthritis, ADD, insomnia, anxiety or whatever condition you may take these controlled substances.
  • Random drug testing can be ordered.
  • You are required by the STATE to be seen in the office AT LEAST every three months.

If you want more information regarding these laws, read them here: www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/osteopath/