Blog

Wednesday
Mar062013

Unable To Get An Appointment With Your Provider Of Choice?

 

We've heard from some of our long-time patients that they are having a hard time getting appointments with their provider of choice. 

We encourage parents to schedule appointments before they leave our office in order to have a better chance of securing the provider and time of your choosing. 

We don't charge for no-shows and we DO give parents a call the day prior of their appointment as a courtesy reminder. Thus, we recommend to make an appointment before you leave and change it later, than to call at a later time and have to deal with limited availability. 

It gets tricky for same day appointments, we know. Although we try to always accomodate time, date and provider request, it is difficult to grant them. Each provider only has a limited amount of daily slots. They also have days off which complicate matters. 

We do, however, work very hard at arranging the schedule so that at least one provider is available for same day appointments. So even though you may not be able to see your primary provider for same day appointments, you will be able to see someone that day. 

Thank you for entrusting the care of your children to us. We are delighted that you have chosen our office for your child's health care needs.

Saturday
Mar022013

Hour Change For Dr. Betancourt

We wanted to inform you that Dr. Betancourt's hours have changed. She will only be seeing patients from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

She will have a limited amount of appointment slots at 8:15 am for those parents that wish to be seen before work or school. 
The 8:15am appointment slot is outside of the normal schedule. If you are interested in this time slot, you'll need to call several days prior to your appointment and schedule it in advance. 
Dr. Graba and our Nurse Practitioner Marciann will continue to work our standard office hours. Saturday appointments will also remain the way they've alway been ( 9-to 1pm). Providers alternate Saturday appointments. 
And as always, thank you all so much for entrusting the healthcare of your child. We consider it an honor to partner with you to help your child reach his/her full potential.
Monday
Feb252013

How to Measure Medicine For Your Child Correctly

From the HealthyChildren.org website:

Medicines can be helpful for a child’s health. But if they’re given in the wrong dose or at the wrong time, they can actually be harmful. Here’s how to give medicine to your child with confidence!

Wednesday
Feb132013

14 Ways to Show Love for Your Child This Valentine's Day

I found this list today. At first I thought, do parents really need to be reminded to show their love towards their children. I mean, I love them every single moment of every single day. But then I thought, how often do I show them? And is it enough?

Some of these may be silly, others not practical to your situation. Others are obvious. But that is OK. The important thing here is to remember  to show love to our children every single moment we can whether these tips are useful or not to you.

Use plenty of positive words with your child. Try to avoid using sarcasm with your child. They often don’t understand it, and if they do, it creates a negative interaction.

 

Respond promptly and lovingly to your child's physical and emotional needs and banish put-downs from your parenting vocabulary.

  • Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Use words like "I'm sorry," "please," and "thank you."
  • When your child is angry, argumentative or in a bad mood, give him a hug, cuddle, pat, secret sign or other gesture of affection he favors and then talk with him about it when he’s feeling better.

  • Use non-violent forms of discipline. Parents should institute both rewards and restrictions many years before adolescence to help prevent trouble during the teenage years. Allowing children of any age to constantly break important rules without being disciplined only encourages more rule violations.
  • Make plans to spend time alone with your young child or teen doing something she enjoys. Mark family game nights on your calendar so the entire family can be together. Put a different family member's name under each date, and have that person choose which game will be played that evening.

    Owning a pet can make children, especially those with chronic illnesses and disabilities, feel better by stimulating physical activity, enhancing their overall attitude, and offering constant companionship. One of the best ways to familiarize your child with good food choices is to encourage him to cook with you. Let him get involved in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to the actual food preparation and its serving. It is wonderful when families eat together as much as possible. Good food, good conversations. As your child grows up, she'll spend most of her time developing and refining a variety of skills and abilities in all areas of her life. You should help her as much as possible by encouraging her and providing the equipment and instruction she needs.

  • Your child's health depends significantly on the care and guidance you offer during his early years. By taking your child to the doctor regularly for consultations, keeping him safe from accidents, providing a nutritious diet, and encouraging exercise throughout childhood, you help protect and strengthen his body.
  • Help your child foster positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the community.
  • One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self-esteem. Your child needs your steady support and encouragement to discover his strengths. He needs you to believe in him as he learns to believe in himself. Loving him, spending time with him, listening to him and praising his accomplishments are all part of this process.
  • Don't forget to say, "I love you" to children of all ages!
  • Wednesday
    Nov072012

    The Pediatrician, Urgent Care or ER, Which One is the Best Choice if My Child Has a Cold?

     

    Today, we have Dr Kristen Stuppy as our guest blogger. Dr. Stuppy is a practicing pediatrician in Kansas. She feels privileged to be able to help families keep their children healthy and she loves watching entire families grow!  Dr Stuppy is active on Facebook and puts a more personal touch to pediatric topics on her blog.  

    In this post, she answers a common question among parents - My child has a cold, should I take her to the ER, urgent care or the pediatrician. 

    As cold and flu season approaches, I have been thinking about how our kids are managed when they become sick. Not only what we do to treat symptoms, but how, when, and where patients get medical advice and care.

    We are a busy society. We want things done now. Quickly. Cheaply. Correctly. Resolution so we can get back to life.

    Illness doesn’t work that way. Most childhood illnesses are viruses and they take a few weeks to resolve. There’s no magic medicine that will make it better.

    Please don’t ask for an antibiotic to prevent the runny nose from developing into a cough or ear infection.

    Don’t ask for an antibiotic because your child has had a fever for 3 days and you need to go back to work.

    Don’t ask for an antibiotic because your teen has a big test or tournament coming up and has an awful cough.

    Antibiotics simply don’t work for viruses. They also carry risks, which are not worth taking when the antibiotic isn’t needed in the first place.

    Urgent Cares are not always the best choice

    Many parents in this community have grown accustomed to using after hour urgent cares because they are convenient.

    Convenient isn’t always the best choice. Many times kids go to an urgent care after hours for issues that could wait and be managed during normal business hours. I know some of this is due to parents trying to avoid missing work or kids missing school, but is this needed? Can it hurt?

    Some kids will get unnecessary tests, xrays, and treatments at urgent cares that don’t have a reliable means of follow up. They attempt to decrease risk often by erring with over treating. Our office does have the ability to follow up with you in the near future, so we don’t have to over treat.

    Urgent cares don’t have a child’s history available.

    They might choose an inappropriate antibiotic due to allergy or recent use (making that antibiotic more likely less effective). They might not recognize if your child doesn’t have certain immunizations or if they do have a chronic condition, therefore leaving your child open to illnesses not expected at their age.

    We know that parents can and should tell all providers these things, but our own new patient information sheets are often erroneous when compared to the transferred records from the previous physician… parents don’t think about the wheezing history or the surgery 5 years ago every visit. It is so important to have old records!

    To treat or not to treat?

    There is some evidence that treating things too soon does not allow our bodies to make immunity against the germ. A great example of this is Strep throat. Years ago we would go to a doctor when our sore throat didn’t get better after a few days.

    They would swab our throat and send the swab for culture, which took 2 days. We would treat only after that culture was positive. That delay in treatment allowed our bodies to recognize the Strep and begin making antibodies against it.

    Now kids are brought in the day they have symptoms, and if the rapid test is positive, they immediately start antibiotics. The benefit? They are less likely to spread Strep to others and they can return to school 24 hrs after starting the antibiotic.

    The negative? They might be more susceptible to recurrent illness with Strep, so in the end are potentially sick more often and end up missing more school.

    Receiving care at multiple locations

    Receiving care at multiple locations makes it difficult for the medical home to keep track of how often your child is sick. Is it time for further evaluation of immune issues? Is it time to consider ear tubes or a tonsillectomy? If we don’t have proper documentation, these issues might have a delay of recognition.

    Urgent cares and ERs are not always designed for kids

    I’m not talking about cute pictures or smaller exam tables. I’m talking about the experience of the provider. If they are trained mostly to treat adults, they might be less comfortable with kids. They often order more tests, xrays, and inappropriate treatments due to their inexperience.

    This increases cost as well as risk to your child. We have been fortunate to have many urgent cares available after hours that are designed specifically for kids, which does help. But this is sometimes for convenience, not for the best medical care.

    What About Cost?

    As previously mentioned, cost is a factor. I hate to bring money into the equation when it comes to the health of your child, but it is important. Healthcare spending is spiraling out of control. Urgent cares and ERs charge more. This cost is increasingly being passed on to consumers.

    Your co pay is probably higher outside the medical home. The percentage of the visit you must pay is often higher. If you pay out of pocket until your deductible is met, this can be a substantial difference in cost. (Not to mention they tend to order more tests and treatments, each with additional costs.)

    So what kinds of issues are appropriate for various types of visits?

    (note: I can’t list every medical problem, parental decisions must be made for individual situations)

    After hours urgent care or ER:
    • Difficulty breathing (not just noisy congestion or cough)
    • Dehydration
    • Injury
    • Pain that is not controlled with over the counter medicines
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Fever >100.4 rectally if under 3 months of age
    Your Primary Care Pediatrician Visit:
    • Fever
    • Ear ache
    • Fussiness
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
    • Any new illness
    Issues better addressed with an Appointment in the Medical Home:
    • Follow up of any issue (ear infection, asthma, constipation) unless suddenly worse, then see above
    • Chronic (long term) concerns (growth, constipation, acne, headaches)
    • Behavioral issues
    • Well visits and sports physicals (insurance counts these as the same, and limits to once/year)
    • Immunizations – ideally done at medical home so records remain complete

    If your child gets a vaccine at any other location, please send us documentation (including the date, brand, lot number, and place administered) so we can keep the records complete.

    Remember your pediatrician’s website might offer trusted answers to questions and many treatments to try at home for various illnesses and conditions! Be careful of surfing for answers though… the internet is full of bad advice! Go only to trusted sources (such as your doctor’s website or HealthyChildren.org).