Sunday, May 18, 2014

Primary Care Updates from SGIM!

As a primary care doctor, I can say it takes a lot of time to stay updated on the world of internal medicine.  Fortunately, many annual conferences feature " update talks," which showcase the most recent and significant studies in internal medicine.  For those of you that may have missed the Society for General Internal Medicine conference (SGIM), here are some of my key take-home pearly from various update talks.  Of course, I encourage providers to look up the original source material for additional information.   

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Innovations in Safety Net Primary Care - Specialty Care Collaboration


by Neda Ratanawongsa, MD

When my 4-year old asked me why I was staying at work last Tuesday evening, I told him, “To learn about how doctors can work together to take care of people.” 

I’m a primary care provider at the General Medicine Clinic at SFGH. Although I wish I could provide my patients with all of their care within my clinic’s walls, I rely on colleagues in medical and surgical specialties to help care for my patients’ concerns around diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, broken bones, and eyes.  When my patients and I need that help, I want the same quick access to specialists’ advice that my in-laws receive in their health networks. However, safety net health systems often experience long wait times for visits because there is such a high need for specialty clinics with limited appointment slots.  The referral system can also be confusing to patients because of communication barriers; over half of my patients speak a language other than English as their first language and have limited health literacy.  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Denti-Cal Benefits Return to California - Hooray!!

A friend who is a social worker recently informed me that Medi-Cal is reinstating coverage for dental services in the state of California. As a primary care doctor in an urban safety net hospital, all I can say is "HOORAY!!"