This is the dollar amount typically considered payment-in-full by an insurance company and an associated network of healthcare providers. The Allowable Charge is typically a discounted rate rather than the actual charge. It may be helpful to consider an example: You have just visited your doctor for an earache. The total charge for the visit comes to $100. If the doctor is a member of your health insurance company's network of providers, he or she may be required to accept $80 as payment in full for the visit - this is the Allowable Charge. Your health insurance company will pay all or a portion of the remaining $80, minus any co-payment or deductible that you may owe. The remaining $20 is considered provider write-off. You cannot be billed for this provider write-off. If, however, the doctor you visit is not a network provider then you may be held responsible for everything that your health insurance company will not pay, up to the full charge of $100.
This term may also be used within a Medicare context to refer to the amount that Medicare considers payment in full for a particular, approved medical service or supply.
For the more common services we render, we can usually give an idea if the service will be covered by your insurance. For uncommon services or services rendered outside of our practice you must contact your insurance or the outside provider to confirm if a service is or is not covered.
A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine. All PAs are graduates of an accredited PA educational program. PAs are licensed to practice and authorized to prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories with the exception of Puerto Rico. They practice medicine in all settings and specialties.
What can PAs do?
PAs’ responsibilities depend on state laws, practice setting, their experience and the scope of practice of the physicians on their healthcare team. PAs obtain medical histories, conduct physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medication, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling, and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. Yet this is not a comprehensive list of how PAs practice by any means.
If there’s a PA in my practice group, can I request to be seen by the PA?
By design, physicians and PAs work together as a team. If there is a PA in your group practice, you can certainly request to be seen by him or her. PAs deliver high-quality care, and research shows that patients are just as satisfied with PA-provided care as they are with physician care.
What is a D.O.?
There’s a good chance you or a family member has been seeing a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) without even knowing it. In fact, many people are unaware that there are two distinct branches of physicians: allopathic and osteopathic. Many similarities exist between the two. Both osteopathic and allopathic students attend four years of medical school, complete residencies in a chosen specialty field and sit for comparable state licensing examinations. Osteopathic medicine, however, provides an added facet to healthcare in its dedication to treating the patient as a whole, its focus on preventative medicine and its use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). In addition to four years of medical school, osteopathic physicians also receive an additional 500 hours of training in manual diagnosis and treatment. Because of this additional training, not only can osteopathic physicians practice the full range of traditional specializations, but are also able to practice Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM).
These factors that make osteopathy a unique component of medical treatment grew out of the bleak world of 19th century medicine. Various surgical techniques left many unnecessarily maimed while most medications proved ineffectual or downright harmful. Without reliable diagnostic tools, doctors had to find a way to diagnose and heal. It was amidst growing dissatisfaction with current medical treatment options that osteopathic medicine was developed in 1874. Its founder, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still MD, developed the school of osteopathy as a new means by which people could find health.
Unlike contemporary medicine of the time, this new medical philosophy focused on unity of all components of the body as well as the body’s innate ability to self-heal. Dr. Still saw disease and injury as restrictions or imbalances in function of a normal healthy body. OMT is a useful tool in removing these restrictions and is an integral part of the osteopathic physician’s treatment program in the management of any health related issue. Through removing restrictions and imbalances, the body is better equipped to heal.
The comprehensive nature of osteopathic care lends itself to the possible collaboration of your osteopathic physician with other members of a health care team (other physicians, physical therapists, acupuncturists, counselors, etc.). Your osteopathic physician may also recommend any of a variety of other complementary healthcare modalities, such as dietary changes, nutritional supplements, homeopathy or therapeutic exercises as part of an overall treatment plan. Understanding the interconnectedness of the body, mind and spirit as well as the need to approach health issues from all possible angles is not the only thing that sets osteopathic physicians apart in the medical world. A study from the Journal of American Medicine has found that diabetic patients of doctors with low empathy scores suffer more acute metabolic complications than their counterparts being treated by higher scoring physicians. In fact, in a study conducted comparing empathy scores of allopathic and osteopathic medical students, osteopathic students maintained high levels of empathy while their allopathic counterparts saw steady decreases throughout the course of medical education.
Why would this difference exist, and what can it mean to you, the patient? It is osteopathic medical training’s focus on patient care, on listening to the needs of the patient and looking at the patient as a whole, which leads to these improved outcomes. An osteopathic physician is uniquely able to see this larger picture and treat the patient in the most minimally invasive way. This is the difference in osteopathic care.
What conditions can Osteopathic manipulative medicine treat (OMM/OMT)?
Osteopathic care addresses the full spectrum of a patient’s Healthcare concerns. This means that OMM is intended to be used as an integral part of the Osteopathic physician’s treatment program in the management of any Healthcare issue. These may include chronic ear infections, Irritable Bowel Disease, high blood pressure, headaches, depression, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, asthma and all issues related to care of pregnant women and newborns.
OMM can often play a significant role in helping a patient to achieve their optimal state of healing. In many situations, OMM is an important factor in a patient’s healing process. Sometimes, it is “the” crucial intervention necessary for Healing.
Who can benefit from OMT and Cranial Osteopathy?
Since the ability to heal persists throughout life, patients of all ages can benefit from this gentle treatment approach. Cranial Osteopathy can help with many different disease processes, from the moment of birth until the end of life. Treatment restores motion, improves vitality (ability to heal), and brings about a higher state of function.
Remember, life’s physical and emotional traumas can alter or hinder function at any age, often producing significant effects upon a person’s health. This can cause a wide variety of problems, including low back pain, headaches, joint pain, and repetitive stress syndromes such as tendonitis. The effects of trauma are not limited to the musculoskeletal system. Respiratory, digestive, menstrual and other systemic disorders may also result from traumatic influences. When indicated, osteopathic treatment may provide significant relief.
How long does it take to see results from OMM/OMT?
Results depend on many factors, including the body’s inherent vitality and the severity and the duration of the problem. Some conditions will respond immediately to Osteopathy. Some will require a series of treatments. It is important to understand that Osteopathy is not a cure-all. It can benefit everyone to some degree, because everyone has been imprinted individually by the trauma of life. For some patients it might be necessary to include other types of treatment. For many, Osteopathy is “the solution” to their problems.
Does OMT work?
Consider the results of a study published in a 2003 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers observed the effects of OMT as an added treatment for children suffering from frequent ear infections. Patients were divided into two groups. One group received routine care for the infections while the other received routine care plus OMT. The results found a potential benefit of using OMT as an added treatment by possibly preventing or decreasing the need for surgical interventions or the overuse of antibiotics.
In addition, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in November 1999. In the study, researchers looked at how well OMT works to treat low-back pain. Patients were divided into two groups. One group got standard treatments, such as hot and cold packs, physical therapy, and drugs. The other group received standard care plus OMT. Twelve weeks later, patients in both groups felt better. But those in the OMT group used less medication and less physical therapy. That meant they had fewer side effects and lower health care costs.
Are there any contraindications to the use of Osteopathic treatment?
There are rarely, if ever, contraindications to the use of Osteopathic treatment, even though there may be a particular technique that might not be appropriate for an individual patient based upon their condition or their preferences. Even patients with serious illnesses or structural instabilities can be treated effectively and safely.
Gastroenterologists use a number of techniques to view the organs of the digestive tract. The most common tests they perform are colonoscopy and upper-GI endoscopy.
Colonoscopy is performed to examine the large intestine for disease, most commonly colorectal cancer. Everyone age 50 and older should be screened for colorectal cancer. When performing a colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and a light on the end — called the colonoscope — to view the entire colon and rectum and check for polyps, inflammatory changes or cancer. If polyps are found, they often can be removed with this procedure.
Endoscopy can be helpful in the evaluation or diagnosis of various problems, including difficult or painful swallowing, pain in the stomach or abdomen, bleeding, ulcers, tumors, and problems with the gallbladder, pancreas and bile ducts. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end. By adjusting the controls on the endoscope, the gastroenterologist can safely guide the instrument to carefully examine the inside lining of the upper digestive system. In some cases, GIs can treat digestive conditions through the endoscope.
Some gastroenterologists perform newer tests to examine the GI tract, such as CT colonography where the GI doctor can inspect radiological images of the colon to check for polyps and cancers, and capsule endoscopy, during which the patient swallows a camera that records images of the GI tract.
For digestive health issues, it’s best to see a doctor who specializes in the digestive tract — a gastroenterologist.
Why Screen for colon cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
Men and women are at equal risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Early detection of colorectal cancer leads to easier treatments and higher survival rates.
More than one-third of colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided if all eligible individuals participated in regular screening.
Colorectal cancer screening is safe and effective.
What is a colon polyp?
Colorectal cancer usually develops from pre-cancerous polyps called adenomatous polyps or serrated polyps. A polyp is a grape-like growth on the inside wall of the colon or rectum. Polyps grow slowly over many years. Most people do not develop polyps until after the age of 50 if they have an average risk for colorectal cancer.
Some polyps become cancerous, others do not. In order to reduce the likelihood of colorectal cancer, it is important to get screened to find out if you have polyps and to have them removed if you do.
With regular colorectal cancer screening, more than one-third of colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided.
How can I prevent colon cancer?
Along with regular screening, healthy lifestyle choices are the best current preventive measures against colorectal cancer. Here’s how you can help reduce your risk:
Eat more foods that are high in fiber, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables.
Eat more cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts.
Increase calcium intake with low-fat milk, shellfish, salmon, calcium supplements with vitamin D.
Decrease fats oils, butter, red meats.
Limit your intake of charcoal broiled foods and avoid salt-cured foods.
Do not smoke.
Keep your body mass index in the normal range.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
Colorectal cancer usually begins with no symptoms at all. However, over time, there are a number of warning signs that can occur such as:
Blood in your stool (bright red, black or very dark).
A temporary change in your bowel movements, especially in the shape of the stool (e.g., narrow like a pencil).
Discomfort in having a bowel movement or the urge to move your bowels without having a bowel movement.