Hospital Corner – December, 2019
My apologies for not sharing this information with the community sooner, but contrary to what you may have heard, Dr. Ventura is not leaving us anytime soon. He is closing his Clinic practice so that he can focus fulltime on hospital patients and nursing home residents. Clinic practitioners Laura Millsap PA-C, Tobey Morris APRN, Sharon Ruch MD, and Francisco Dofeliz MD will be accepting his patients beginning in January. Dr. Ventura has been the heart and soul of Mt. Grant for nearly 15 years, and we are looking forward to a few more years of his compassionate patient care and leadership. Speaking of, Dr. Dofeliz has taken on the demanding role of hospital chief of staff, relieving Dr. Ventura who skillfully performed those duties for almost ten years. We are grateful to have these dedicated physicians and providers on staff.
“As noted on your insurance card, your co-pay is due at the time of service and because we are contracted with your insurance company, we are responsible to collect it. Will that be cash, credit card or check?” No doubt you have been told that or something similar when visiting a doctor’s office in Fallon, Reno or Carson City. Hawthorne? Not so much. For various reasons over the years, we have been reluctant to collect co-pays from Clinic patients. Given the slim margins public hospitals survive on, that must change. If your insurance policy requires a co-pay, please be prepared to pay it when you register at the Clinic; we may have to re-schedule your appointment otherwise.
Flu shot yet? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a color-coded flu map on their website; worth checking out. Several states are purple, indicating the highest threat level for catching the flu; among them are Pennsylvania, Texas and California. Given our proximity to the Golden State and the nearly 40 million people who live there, fair to assume Nevada will soon be a purple flu threat too. The CDC site also notes severity of flu bug so early in the season; November 2019 was one of the worst on record. In addition to the multitudes in Mineral County suffering various cold and flu related illnesses this time of year, hospital personnel have been hit hard as well. Same advice applies to them as it does to everyone else: wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day, get plenty of rest, eat healthy, stop smoking, and of course, if you haven’t had a flu shot yet, now is the time!
As mentioned last month, positive flu tests locally so far this year are well ahead of total for all of last season. One last fact to consider: nearly 80,000 Americans died from the flu during the 2017-18 season. Getting vaccinated may not be important to you, but consider family members with compromised immune systems: you may be putting them at risk.
As was announced in last week’s newspaper, the William N. Pennington Foundation has awarded Mt. Grant General with nearly $1.3 million for the purchase of a modern 64 slice CT scanner. The diagnostic tools of this new scanner are significantly greater than our current 16 slice machine. Two key features are advanced Cardiac Viewing capabilities (along with Calcium Scoring) and Lung Cancer Screening—increasing opportunities for early detection in high-risk patients. And for those anxious patients who dread the buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds older scanners make, our new CT will be significantly quieter; one less thing to worry about during your scan. Bottom line: faster, more accurate, low dose exams will soon be available in town, reducing your need to travel vast distances for similar scans elsewhere. We appreciate the Pennington Foundation’s continued support of rural healthcare in Northern Nevada.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas as well as a happy and healthy 2020.
Hugh Qualls, Administrator