AAMC is participating in a clinical study. It compares treatment options for patients who have reflux symptoms, like heartburn and regurgitation, despite taking medication every day. The study compares a medical device, called LINX, against proton pump inhibitors. If you have a patient who is currently taking these medications daily and is 21 years or older, he or she may be eligible. Please contact Almaz Holmatova, MD, the study coordinator, for more information at x4943 or oholmatova@AAHS.org.
News and Updates
Identity theft causes major financial damage and problems. But did you know the rate of child identity theft is 35 times higher than the rate for adults—and growing? Anne Arundel Medical Center is partnering with the Maryland Hospital Association to educate parents about this troubling trend.
Each year, about 140,000 children are victims of identity theft. It happens when a thief steals a child’s personal information, like a Social Security number. The thief uses it to open credit cards or other types of criminal activity. Restoring the child’s identity may take years. Before it’s fixed, the child may be denied student loans, scholarships, jobs, credit cards and housing. There’s a simple tool for parents to protect their child’s identity: a credit freeze. Maryland law requires credit agencies to allow parents to create a credit report for their children for the purpose of freezing it. Once the report is frozen, creditors cannot access it and are less likely to approve a fraudulent attempt.
As a physician, you are a critical line of defense in protecting the wellbeing of Maryland’s children. Share this message with patients and families. Encourage them to freeze their child’s credit. For more information on how to freeze a child’s credit and warning signs of child identity theft, visit KidSafeMaryland.org. Read more.
Barry Meisenberg, MD, and the AAMC Research Institute are surveying 100 cancer patients. They hope to learn about the most common concerns or physical ailments that cause cancer patients to have unplanned admissions to the hospital. The research team will also review the charts of the patients they survey. The goal is to find ways to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. For more information, contact Jan Clemons, RN, at 443-481-5539 or John Moxley at 443-481-5765.
The Anne Arundel Medical Group Plastic Surgery team is made up of highly-trained surgeons with expertise in all forms of reconstructive surgery, including microsurgery and cosmetic surgery. Located in the AAMC Belcher Pavilion, the team provides inpatient plastic surgery services and sees patients in the Breast Center and the AAMG Surgical Specialists office. The practice can be reached at 443-481-3400.
- Devinder Singh, MD, Chief and Medical Director of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Singh is an internationally-known plastic surgeon. He is board-certified in plastic surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Association of Plastic Surgeons and the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is the current chair of the Maryland State Board of Physicians and serves on the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi)’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Singh is a nationally-recognized expert in the fields of complex recurrent ventral hernia repair and wound care. He specializes in cosmetic surgery of the breast and abdomen as well as surgery repair. He completed his residency at Yale University for a combined residency in general and plastic surgery in New Haven, Conn. He attended medical school at Columbia University in New York.
- Tripp Holton, MD, Director of Microvascular Surgery. Dr. Holton is a board-certified, fellowship-trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He has extensive expertise in reconstructive microsurgery including reconstruction of the head and neck, breast and extremities. He focuses on breast and body contouring as well as facial aesthetic surgery. Dr. Holton is also active in research in the areas of biomaterials and biotechnology. He completed a fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. He completed a residency in general surgery at University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. He attended medical school at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pa.
- Virginia Lobach, PA-C. Virginia joined the AAMG Plastic Surgery department after completing a one-year surgical residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Virginia completed her physician assistant training at the University of Kentucky and received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from College of Charleston in South Carolina.
On Oct. 1, we went live with the federally-mandated ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure codes. The implementation here at AAMC was a huge success. We experienced no delays in payments related to the transition. The coding team has not seen an increase in the need for provider queries and has been performing at a higher rate of productivity than predicted. There have been minimal impacts to outpatient scheduling or registration workflows related to diagnoses provided. Thank you to our medical staff and employees for your diligence and commitment to making this a successful transition.
Please welcome the following physicians who recently joined AAMC as medical staff members:
- Dinah Abioro, DDS, Dental Land Pediatrics
- Sofia Arnold, CRNP, AAMC FastCare at Bowie
- Susan Besser, MD, River Family Physicians PA
- Christopher Chambers, DDS, Drs. Walzer, Sullivan and Hlousek, PA
- Amanda Chipko, CRNP, AAMC Pain Management Program
- Wenda Collien, CRNP, Annapolis Ob/Gyn
- Marianne Eggerl, CRNP, Annapolis Ob/Gyn
- Mark Flasar, MD, Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, PA
- Rania Habib, DDS, MD (HABRA), Maryland Oral Surgery of Annapolis
- Amy Holston, CRNP, The Pediatric Group
- Luther Holton, MD, AAMG Plastic Surgery
- Kathleen Howard, CRNP, TLC Pediatrics, LLC
- Tammy Jones, MD, AAMG Kent Island Primary Care
- Virginia Lobach, PA-C., AAMG Plastic Surgery
- Christine Mativo, MD, Mid Atlantic Permanente Medical Group
- Tara Morris, PA-C, Physicians Inpatient Care Specialists, LLC
- Michelle Pipta, PA-C, AAMC Adult Medicine Hospitalist
- Angela Poltrack, CRNP, Physician Inpatient Care Specialist, LLC
- Lara Rehfeld, MD, AAMC Adult Medicine Hospitalist
- Jacqueline Ryan, MD, AAMC Adult Medicine Hospitalist
- Emily Schelberg, CRNP, Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center, LLC
- Thomas Sheesley, DO, Owensville Primary Care
- Devinder Singh, MD, AAMG Plastic Surgery
- Peter Swaby, DO, Private Practice
- Razia Syed, MD, The Pediatric Group
- Lynn Tao, MD (TAOL), Mid-Atlantic Permanente Med Group
- Tatek Teshome, MD, Mid Atlantic Permanente Medical Group
- Brandon Tolman, DO, Kahan Center for Pain Management
- Martin Weltz, DO, Chesapeake Palliative Medicine
- Brandon Woolford, PA-C, Physicians Inpatient Care Specialists
For every athlete, recreational or professional, young or old, injury is probably going to sideline them at some point in their career. Edward McDevitt, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Bay Area Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, sees many of these athletes and knows that getting them back in the game is important. But so is treating their pain responsibly.
In the past two decades, opioid addiction rates have soared across the nation. In Anne Arundel County, 308 heroin and opioid overdoses were reported last year. And prescription opioid abuse is often a first step to heroin addiction.
That’s because when a person can’t get enough pain medications from a doctor to satisfy their need, they often turn to the street. “And once you start buying those narcotics on the street, you realize how expensive they are,” says Dr. McDevitt. “Then it’s very easy to switch to heroin, because it’s 10 times more euphoria-producing and 10 times cheaper than oxycodone.”
The PCP’s Role in Prevention
According to Dr. McDevitt, primary care doctors play an integral role in preventing this cycle from starting. “We as physicians have to realize our part in it as the first person who’s giving people what we think are legitimate narcotics,” he says.
His first piece of advice for treating injury-related pain: “Don’t think of narcotics first.” Dr. McDevitt often prescribes anti-inflammatory medication, directs patients to apply topical pain relievers, and refers them to physical therapy. He also encourages people to consider alternative therapies, like chiropractic care and acupuncture.
But if a patient’s pain level merits opioid painkillers, start by prescribing a small number and tell the patient to request more if needed. Most people don’t finish a 30- or 60-pill prescription, and leftover narcotics stored in a medicine cabinet are at high risk of being abused by family members or acquaintances.
Once you’ve started prescribing narcotics, keep in mind that after a while, you have to stop. “A lot of times an athlete says, ‘I’ve got a big game, I need a little extra,’” says Dr. McDevitt. “You fall into the trap of helping the athlete who’s not really taking it because they’re in pain.”
Don’t Be Fooled
Educating yourself will help you avoid traps laid by drug seekers. There are CME courses on safe opioid prescribing, and Dr. McDevitt says it’s also worthwhile to type “scam doctor for narcotics” in Google. “The statements I found are things I’ve heard in the last three months from my patients,” says Dr. McDevitt.
“I know that I’m imperfect too, because I’ve been fooled,” admits Dr. McDevitt. But he strongly believes that becoming aware of the opioid addiction problem and the role physicians play can make a difference in the current crisis. “I wish doctors realized how important they are in the process,” he says.
As you may have recently read in The Capital newspaper, AAMC is seeking to add an inpatient mental health unit to help close the gap in mental health and substance use treatment in Anne Arundel County. The Capital called the plan “welcome news” for the community. For years, AAMC has been providing many of the mental health and substance use services that our community needs, and partnering with outside agencies to connect patients with appropriate resources. But these services are not enough. In our emergency room, almost half of the patients who need inpatient mental healthcare must wait up to five days for space to open in other hospitals. This can’t continue. Before we can provide an inpatient mental health unit, we must apply for, and be granted, a Certificate of Need (CON) from the Maryland Health Care Commission. We submit our application in February 2016 and look forward to sharing more details of the plans at that time. If you have questions, please contact Ray Hoffman, MD, medical director of behavioral health, at rhoffman@AAHS.org.