Posted by Brandon Weaver on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 @ 11:00 AM
Each calendar season produces its own challenges for people and accidents they may experience. Summer is known as trauma season, fall is the beginning of the flu outbreak, and winter typically has more snow-sport injuries and automobile accidents from poor road conditions.
Then there is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This type of depression is specifically related to changes in seasons. Symptoms usually start in the fall and continue through the winter months. It affects about 10 million Americans per year, is more common in women and typically affects those living in the northern states.
Even if your clinic may not be treating as many people for SAD now that we’re in spring, there are a number of other seasonal conditions and injuries you may see in your medical practice.
With spring now upon us, seasonal allergies start to rear its ugly, metaphorical head. I may know this better than anyone having battled allergies for as long as I can remember. Cold weather, warm weather, in the rain, and indoors. It does not matter the surroundings, I will sneeze and my eyes will itch. I’m certainly not alone as hay fever affects about 50 million people in the U.S. and is one of the leading chronic diseases. Thirty percent of adults and forty percent of children experience hay fever. From this annual epidemic, “more than 13.4 million visits to physician offices, outpatient and emergency appointments were due to hay fever.”
Coworkers have suggested various over the counter medications and homeopathic remedies like adding local honey to my morning tea – partially I think so they can stop “blessing me.” But whatever remedy I attempt, they’re rarely effective so I have learned to just deal with constant sneezing. Although my “condition” is irritating, other people may experience a more serious case, and visit your clinic for treatment.
But certainly you have patients that visit you for a variety of medical ailments this time of year – not just allergies.
Cosmetic Feet Procedures
We not only want to feel good, we want to look good, too. Just one week into spring, summer will be here before we know it: Warmer weather, more time in sandals, and more time spent walking barefoot. Unfortunately, these conditions are ripe for athlete’s foot and toenail fungus to develop.
Looking good in our bathing suit is not just about having a six-pack, refining our waist, and eliminating tan lines. If you have toenail fungus, a bunion, or hammertoe – these provide a whole other set of challenges. They’re not something most people would want to openly display because, let’s face it; they’re ugly and sometimes painful. Given the time of year, these three conditions are significant considering they are the three most common summer foot problems – at least for one New York podiatrist and sports medicine facility.
But with vanity comes a hefty price tag. Depending on the provider and location, laser fungus removal surgery can cost between $995 to $1,200, bunion surgery between $3,500 and $15,000 and hammertoe surgery around $3,000. Therefore, those who suffer from any of these conditions may pass on treatment until the pain becomes too severe (except toenail fungus since it does not generally incur pain). In the end, a pricy doctor’s visit to treat these conditions may be the least of your patient’s worries.
Tommy John Surgery
The three most dreaded words for baseball players – at least for pitchers – because it prevents them from competing and generally requires 12 months of rest and rehabilitation. Last season Oakland Athletics pitchers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin both suffered the fate of this injury. It struck again this season, with one of Major League Baseball’s best pitchers, Yu Darvish, and one of the game’s best young pitchers in Zack Wheeler.
Dr. James Andrews (another dreaded three-word phrase) has become the go-to orthopedic surgeon to perform the surgery for both collegiate and professional athletes. But in fact, Dr. Andrews says that 1 in 3 Tommy John surgeries he currently performs are on high school athletes.
A closer look may help us understand the reason for the rise in Tommy John surgeries. Grade school and high school children do not have as many physical education hours each week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2013, only 29% of students attended physical education classes daily. Instead, kids are now playing sports 20 to 30 hours per week and start competing as early as age 5. With many youth sports programs operating year-round, and athletes overworking their bodies with little rest, it is easier to understand why such devastating injuries are occurring more with children and teenagers.
Most would agree that physical education classes are beneficial to America’s growing youth. However, until physical education is provided to students on a more consistent basis – and helping reduce the time spent playing competitive sports – your practice may see increasing rates of children sports injuries like Tommy John and ACL, too.
Even though you treat patients for seasonal injuries and medical conditions, one thing that is not seasonal is your revenue. Whether you’re treating allergies, performing cosmetic procedures, Tommy John, or otherwise – you may offer patients a payment plan to make medical bills more affordable. That is great considering a vast majority of visit co-pays will cost your patient more than $100. This is important because for expenditures greater than that, 1 in 5 people will pay by check.
Since this is true, you want to be guaranteed payment. This is where a check service provider and Medical Remote Deposit Capture can increase your bottom line in more ways than one. With Med-RDC, all approved patient checks are guaranteed through our system. For insurance checks, check guarantee is not necessary. Instead, the remote deposit capture features allow you to deposit checks from your desktop quickly and easily – without driving to the bank – saving you time and money.
Learn more about Med-RDC by reading our free guide here.