The Pandemic. Deferred wellness. Navigating health today.

2021-05-13T18:23:04+00:00May 8th, 2021|Community, Copays, Deductibles, Direct Primary Care, Family Medicine, Membership, Pandemic, Telemedicine, Urgent Care|

As we pass one year since the pandemic started, it is time to take stock of our overall health and what it means to us as individuals.  It’s important to note the collateral effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our individual health as well as the overall wellness of our community.  Many avoided or delayed care (both urgent and routine) to lower the risk of acquiring COVID-19.   We now have evidence that this shift has led to delayed diagnosis and treatment which results in poor outcomes.

While we can celebrate some success as the number of vaccinated individuals increases in the United States, we still struggle with effects of social isolation and the surge of mental health problems that accompany it.

Prior to the pandemic, it was common for patients to avoid the “hassle” of the traditional health care system. Patients disliked the “big production” around getting an appointment and waiting to be seen as well as the amount of time and energy spent to engage with the insurance-based model of care. Often patients delayed care because the cost was not transparent and surprise billing was never popular.  Between copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums most people have no idea what costs to expect when they seek the care that is recommended.

The pandemic has accentuated the difficulties of getting care… we have witnessed that our health care system is beyond broken.  It does not serve patients and the time for change is past due.

What if getting care was as easy as scheduling online and speaking directly to your doctor via phone text or email whenever needed?  What if there was no “hassle” to get an appointment and no wait to see your doctor?  The Direct Primary Care (DPC) model has made this a reality.  Your physician is easily accessible with time to address all your health concerns.  DPC is the future of health care and is championed by physicians around the country dedicated to doing what is best for their patients.  DPC takes away the “pain” of seeing the doctor.  It emphasizes the value of the patient-physician relationship and creates space for shared decision-making around health and wellness.  DPC provides excellent care, transparent pricing, and unparalleled accessibility.

During the pandemic, DPC patients had unlimited access to their physician.  They were engaged in healthcare prevention and maintenance conversations with their physicians.  They received superior care by having direct communication with their physician.  There were no “surprise” bills because DPC membership fees are transparent and extremely affordable.

As with anything difficult, we can always find a silver-lining… and we must if we want to continue to grow and improve. The pandemic has made the case for DPC.  We all deserve better health care. The foundation for improved health outcomes lies in the rebuilding of a solid physician-patient relationship.  How we get through it all… will always depend on… who we get through it all with.

>>LEARN MORE ABOUT ROOTS HEALTH DPC<<

>>Click here to call ROOTS now 708-613-7916<<

COVID 19 VACCINE: Where do I sign up?

2021-05-08T12:35:19+00:00February 4th, 2021|Adults, Community, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Vaccine|

COVID VACCINE INFORMATION.

Illinois entered phase 1b for vaccinations at the end of FEB
INCLUDES 65+ AND OVER, FIRST RESPONDERS, EDUCATION WORKERS LIKE TEACHERS AND SUPPORT STAFF, CHILDCARE WORKERS, GROCERY STORE EMPLOYEES, POSTAL SERVICE WORKERS, AND MORE.

If you are unsure if you are in Tier 1B, please *SEE COMPLETE LIST BELOW from IDPH website.

We know many of you desire vaccination but are unable to obtain an appointment. This is slowly improving and we will update the following information as available. For now, we have compiled a list of the places where you can sign up and check for an appointment.

New IDPH Vaccine Appointment Call Center
The Illinois Department of Public Health launched a Call Center to help bridge technology barriers and assist with vaccine appointments. It is to help assist people who do not have access to or who have difficulty navigating online services in making appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
– The Vaccine Appointment Call Center is open 7 days a week, 6am-midnight.
– The phone number is 833-621-1284.
– There are approximately 500 agents answering calls with the ability to expand during peak periods. The call center has English and Spanish speaking call agents with the availability for translation into other languages.

Vaccine Finder
https://vaccinefinder.org/
– The Vaccine Finder website allows you search for Vaccine Providers by zip code across the country
– It will state if that location has vaccine in stock or not and direct you towards registering for appt

ZocDoc Appointment finder
https://www.zocdoc.com/vaccine/
– This is an additional way to schedule vaccine appointments through participating providers by Zip Code

Walgreens has opened limited vaccination appointments through this link
https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19

Albertson’s Companies including Jewel have opened limited vaccination appointments through this link
https://mhealthappointments.com/covidappt

IL Department of Public Health (ILDPH) at the following link
https://covidvaccination.dph.illinois.gov/

Cook County COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program
https://vaccine.cookcountyil.gov/

If you have a provider at a local medical center, we recommend you call them to determine when the vaccine will be available for you. If you are a Loyola or PCC Wellness patient this may already be available to you through your medical center.

Roots Health DPC does not have access to the vaccine, but we are working on partnering with local community organizations to ensure access.

Please note: after vaccination we will still need to practice social distancing and wearing masks. A vaccine that is 95% effective means that about 1 out of 20 people who get it may not have protection from getting the illness.

 

*LIST OF TIER 1B CANDIDATES (per IDPH guidelines)
Phase 1B:

Persons aged 65 years and older
Frontline essential workers, are defined as those workers who are essential for the functioning of society and are at highest risk of exposure, including the following:
First responders: Firefighters (including volunteers), Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs), 911 Dispatch (Public Safety Answering Point – PSAP), Security Personnel, School Officers. (EMS personnel are considered under Phase 1a).
Corrections Officers/Inmates: Jail Officers, Juvenile Facility Staff, Workers Providing In-Person Support, Inmates.
Food and Agriculture Workers: Processing, Plants, Veterinary Health, Livestock Services, Animal Care.
Postal Service Workers
Manufacturing Workers: Industrial production of goods for distribution to retail, wholesale or other manufacturers.
Grocery Store Workers: Baggers, Cashiers, Stockers, Pick-Up, Customer Service.
Public Transit Workers: Flight Crew, Bus Drivers, Train Conductors, Taxi Drivers, Para-Transit Drivers, In-Person Support, Ride Sharing Services.
Education Workers (Congregate Child Care, Pre-K through 12th grade): Teachers, Principals, Student Support, Student Aids, Day Care Workers.
Shelters/Adult Day Care: Homeless Shelter, Women’s Shelter, Adult Day/Drop-In Program, Sheltered Workshop, Psycho-Social Rehab.

COVID-19 TESTING – Education and Information

2021-05-08T12:49:53+00:00December 13th, 2020|Adults, Community, Coronavirus, Covid-19 Testing, Families, Pandemic|

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO KEEP YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES SAFE

We all want quick COVID test results, understandably. But what we need are accurate results.  The worst-case scenario for my patients would be a false sense of security from a negative test when they, in fact, have COVID-19 and could harm the ones they love.  This is why public education around testing and results is so important.

At Roots Health DPC, we are committed to sharing information about COVID testing so that you can make informed decisions regarding testing and results.  Not all tests are created equal.  Below, we review what tests are used to detect whether someone has an active COVID infection, when additional testing might be necessary, and best practices for our patients when it comes to “rapid testing.”  

Types of COVID-19 Testing:

The most accurate, “gold standard” test for clinical diagnostic detection of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) more commonly known as “PCR testing”.  Other tests are available and include rapid point-of-care (POC) molecular test and the POC antigen tests.  POC tests, commonly known as “rapid tests,” have a higher probability of missing an active infection and it may be necessary to confirm rapid negative test results with a PCR test.

When might it be necessary to confirm a negative rapid test result with a PCR test?

In certain instances, a negative test result in a rapid test should be followed up by a PCR test.  For example, if the result of the rapid POC test is inconsistent with the patient’s symptoms.  In other words, if a patient has active COVID symptoms but receives a negative result, that person should proceed to PCR testing.

There are other instances when it is recommended to proceed to PCR confirmation of a negative rapid test.  For example, when you have been exposed to a known positive case for more than 15 minutes within 6 feet it is recommended to obtain testing.  If your rapid test is negative, PCR confirmation would be best practice.   

Given what we know about the decreased accuracy of rapid testing, what are the most appropriate uses for rapid testing? 

Rapid testing is extremely useful when it is positive.  However, it will not change the plan for the patient.  Patients who are symptomatic and positive will be instructed to isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms while they are contagious to others.  Patients who are asymptomatic but have had a “close contact” exposure will be instructed to quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure.   

Rapid testing may be an appropriate test for those who have no symptoms and no exposure.  For example, some people are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel.    

Roots Health DPC is committed to providing accurate COVID-19 testing information to you and your loved ones.

There are many different tests being offered with a constantly changing landscape of locations and availability.  We understand that this can be overwhelming. It is our hope that this resource can help you navigate what type of test is best for you and your loved ones.  Wherever you choose to test, please makes sure you know what type of test is being offered and have your questions answered before testing.  

At Roots Health DPC, we currently offer PCR testing with a return time of 48-72 hours.  All persons who test with Roots Health DPC are provided relevant and clear CDC recommendations including information on what to do while waiting for your test result, understanding the difference between quarantine and isolation, understanding how to manage COVID-19 symptoms at home, and learning how best to prevent the spread in your home if you have COVID-19.

If we can be of service or answer any questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly at 708-613-7916.  

>>Click here to schedule a COVID-19 test<<

>>LEARN MORE ABOUT ROOTS HEALTH DPC<<

covid-CDC-testing-chart

COVID 19 Timeline Information

2021-05-08T12:54:48+00:00November 9th, 2020|Adults, Community, Coronavirus, Family Medicine, Family Practice, Pandemic|

The disease that is caused by the SARS CoV2 virus presents and transmits like many other respiratory viruses which makes it difficult to identify and contain.  I would like to provide information about the period from when someone is exposed to the SARS CoV2 virus, when they are infectious, and when they are most likely to have a positive test.

The graph above illustrates the timeline of COVID-19 illness after exposure.

Incubation period is the estimated amount of time it may take for someone to develop COVID-19 after exposure. Right now, for adults it is about 2-14 days. This is why we use the 14 day guideline for close-contact quarantine period.

Studies show that PCR tests for coronavirus can detect up to 98% of cases by day 7-8 after exposure.

Infectious period is when you are contagious after exposure to the virus. Most respiratory viruses have an infectious period of about 48hrs before symptoms develop.  Anyone that has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 48hrs before that person’s symptoms began should quarantine for 14 days. The end of the infectious period can vary, but is defined as being fever free for at least 24 hours AND 10 days from symptom onset.

The local health department contact tracers are not able to reach out to every person (roughly 50% of people are being contacted who have been exposed). This is why it is important for the general public to know these guidelines so we can appropriately notify our potential close contacts to help mitigate the spread.

Be well, everyone. Stay diligent… wear a mask, wash hands, social distance and try (if possible) to keep interactions with folks brief. This will reduce your risk of transmission, and also your chance of needing to quarantine.

Dr Natasha Diaz

Roots Health DPC – Part of the solution

2021-05-08T13:20:44+00:00August 28th, 2020|Community, Direct Primary Care, Family Medicine, Membership, Pandemic|

 

 

Your Health is more important now than ever before.

Our communities continue to struggle to handle this pandemic and I have more questions than answers.  What will be the long term effects on the bodies of patients who have had Covid-19?  How will we ensure that children have appropriate social-emotional development and education? Who will bear the economic burden of a failed health care system?

If I spend too much time in the future, I become quickly overwhelmed.  What I believe is true, is that we have today.  Today, I am grateful for my health, nutritious meals, my home, and my family.  I can take action today, to take care of myself physically and emotionally.  I can ensure my body gets the sleep and exercise that it needs. I can take precautions to protect my health and well-being and I can reach out to others in service.

I created Roots Health DPC to be part of the solution for a broken health care system.  I believe people deserve health care that is affordable with transparent pricing. I know that sick patients have improved outcomes when they have a physician who advocates on their behalf.  It is my belief that patients and physicians should be the only ones involved in medical decision-making and that third party intrusions actually make outcomes worse and increase costs.  This becomes evident when we look at US health care spending and mortality rates.

I encourage you to take action today to take care of yourself and your family.  As a member of Roots Health DPC, you can be reassured that you have unlimited access to your physician at all times in the event that you or a loved one becomes ill.  When we are sick, we are not able to advocate well for ourselves.  As a patient or caregiver you might question whether you or your loved one needs an evaluation urgently.  As a board-certified physician with experience in Emergency Medicine, I can evaluate and assess your health care needs quickly and accurately to help you navigate difficult health concerns.  Roots Health DPC members have virtually unlimited access to their physician and they find a strong health care advocate by their side when they are in need.

I encourage you to consider enrollment in Roots Health DPC and join the health care solution to build healthy families and communities.   Set up a time to meet me, Dr Diaz, and learn more.

Coronavirus in our Community

2020-07-29T14:23:41+00:00July 29th, 2020|Community, Direct Primary Care, Family Medicine, Membership, Pandemic|

During the pandemic, and as we enter the second wave, I am grateful to live in Illinois. Our state implemented strict measures that curbed the rampant spread of the disease early in the course and I am confident that the people of Illinois will continue to take measures to decrease the spread of this virus. There are many things beyond our control during this pandemic and there are still many unknowns. Wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands are the things that each person does have an ability, and in fact a responsibility, to do, to control the spread.

I wanted to share with you this recently published article in JAMA CARDIOLOGY.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2768916

In this group of patients it was demonstrated that there is cardiac involvement in 78% of patients months after the diagnosis of COVID-19. These patients had a mean age of 49 and the heart complications occurred independent of the severity/course of the illness and regardless of underlying conditions. We still need more information on the long-term effects of this virus.

Please continue to take precautions now as the numbers begin to increase. If you are sick with fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, body aches, stomach flu, new rash, or loss of smell please obtain testing and quarantine until you have the results. It is recommended that when you are in quarantine you do not visit others or go out of your home until your test results are determined. If you are a member of Roots Health DPC please call us so that we can arrange for your appropriate care.

Stay safe and be well.

Natasha Diaz, MD

No waiting. Healthcare delivered when you need it.