As 2018 comes to a close, I’d like to introduce you to our staff and touch on some of my favorite topics.
Our front office team, Bonnie and Maria, are friendly and welcoming. They help with insurance issues, referrals and appointments. Our medical assistants, Donna, Mayra and Lucy, provide excellent care to our patients. They are the ones who draw blood, take vital signs, do EKG’s, perform circulation and breathing tests and give injections. Tina, our manager, does a wonderful job leading our team and providing extra care for patients. This year, PA Dora Garcia joined our team. She’s been a great addition to the family. Together, they are an amazing team. My approach to caring for patients is to treat them as if I was caring for family and our team shares that belief. Our team strives to provide excellent service to all of our patients, every time.
I do my best to help our patients reach their goals and improve their health. Sometimes that takes kind, persistent encouragement. Other times, it takes a stronger message to get the point across and begin the process of change. In my 21 years of practicing medicine, I find that this is where the art of medicine comes into play. Patients respond to different messages and messaging. My job is to find the message that works best for each patient. Ultimately the goal is to help them get healthier and feel better. Sometimes I don’t get the message right the first time, but I’m always ready to find the one that works.
Helping a patient get their diabetes to goal is one of my big priorities. We have many different options to get a patient’s hemoglobin A1c to where it needs to be. As I explain to patients, the normal range is between 5 and 6. Our goal is to have our patients with diabetes below 7. Sometimes we see patients arrive for a first visit with numbers over 12. All that means to us is that we’ve got a little more work to do. Reaching and maintaining goal blood sugar levels can help reduce the risk of complications. Along with that, we need to keep up with annual eye exams, routine foot exams, and maintain good blood pressure levels. The big picture goal is to help patients live longer, healthier lives.
Routine screening is a common theme in these articles. Colon cancer screening saves lives. Routine screening begins at 50 years old, if you don’t have a family history of colon cancer. In our office, we recommend screening with stool cards as a first step. The process is painless, cost effective and, when done annually, just as good as a colonoscopy. The method we use don’t require a change in diet, are done at home and results are immediate. If there is evidence of bleeding on one or more of the cards, we then refer for a colonoscopy.
For women, mammography is very important. Updated guidelines have screening beginning at 50. Based on risk factors, screening can be done every 1 to 2 years. While not a procedure free of discomfort, the test can save lives. We’ve identified a few cases of breast cancer this year and, thankfully, they have all been identified early.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the staff of HealthTexas at Holy Cross!