Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania introduces new individual health plan
WILKES-BARRE - Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania has introduced a new individual health plan - BlueCare Direct Simplicity - that makes choosing, and using, individual health insurance coverage easier.
BlueCare Direct Simplicity offers individual consumers a custom provider network and quality care from local doctors at affordable rates that start at less than $100 a month. Most benefits are deductible-free, and maternity and multi-tiered drug coverage are included.
"With so many health insurance options available, many individuals are looking for coverage with deductibles and copays that are easy to understand," said A. Paul Holdren, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for BCNEPA. "BlueCare Direct Simplicity is designed for those consumers who are looking for simplified benefits that cover what they need at a reasonable price."
BlueCare Direct Simplicity builds on BCNEPA's strong provider network by offering members access to quality local providers without high out-of-pocket expenses.
"BlueCare Direct Simplicity can make going to the doctor a little less stressful because there are no high deductibles," said Holdren. "In fact, physician office visits, basic diagnostic testing and hospital stays are covered with just a copay."
BlueCare Direct Simplicity members also will find it easier to stay healthy. Preventive benefits, including some screenings, are covered 100 percent, and members have access to wellness resources such as health and wellness management programs, health coaches and online tools through Blue Health Solutions.
Enrollment for BlueCare Direct Simplicity is under way, with coverage beginning Jan. 1. To find out more, or to enroll, visit www.bcnepa.com and click on "Shop and Apply," or call 1-888-345-2346.
Nurse Family Partnership expands to Clinton County
Nurse-Family Partnership, a nurse-led, nonprofit organization addressing the needs of low income, first-time parents and their children, expanded to include Clinton County this month.
The community health program helps transform the lives of vulnerable mothers who are pregnant with their first child. Each mother that the partnership serves is partnered with a registered nurse early in her pregnancy and receives ongoing nurse home visits that continue through her child's second birthday.
Nurse-Family Partnership has been serving Lycoming County for more than 12 years. The expansion to Clinton County is made possible by a three-year state grant under the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Visiting program.
The nationwide, Nurse-Family Partnership serves about 22,000 families in 32 states. It partners with local agencies such as Susquehanna Health Home Care & Hospice to provide home care nurses to the new mothers and children.
To learn more about the Nurse-Family Partnership, call 320-7690.
Geisinger study IDs safe alternative for patients allergic to Plavix clot drug
DANVILLE - Dr. Peter Berger, chairman of cardiology for the Geisinger Health System, presented a study on Nov. 7 at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012 in Los Angeles. He presented his findings on a safe treatment alternative to patients who may be allergic to a medicine used to prevent harmful blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes.
The American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions is the largest gathering devoted to the science of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the care of patients suffering from these diseases. More than 20,000 scientists and healthcare professionals from 110 countries attended the early November conference where the world's top leaders in cardiovascular disease delivered their scientific presentations at the Los Angeles Conference Center.
Allergies to Plavix - also known by its chemical name Clopidogrel - occur in about 1 percent of patients who take the drug, which is used to prevent harmful blood clots that may cause heart attacks or strokes. It's frequently administered as treatment to patients who have received drug-coated cardiac stents.
But Berger's study has found that Effient - which goes by the chemical name Prasugrel - is a safe alternative for patients allergic to Clopidogrel.
Of 45 patients from Geisinger Clinic in Danville, Veterans Administration North Texas Healthcare System (Dallas, Texas), Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.) and Intermountain Medical Center (Murray, Utah) who had suffered an allergic or hematologic adverse reaction to Clopidogrel, none suffered allergic reactions to Prasugrel.
"Now that Prasugrel is available, many doctors recommend it for patients who are allergic to Clopidogrel, but the safety of doing so had never previously been studied," Berger said. "So our collaborators pooled their data and identified patients who were confirmed to have had an allergy to Clopidogrel and subsequently received Prasugrel. We found that none of the Prasugrel patients developed an allergic reaction to the drugs."
Susquehanna Health physician keeps athletes on ice
When plans for a professional ice hockey team in Williamsport began to solidify, Susquehanna Health Sports Medicine physician Dr. Edward Gusick made it his goal to get in on the action. Having grown up near the Williamsport Armory on Penn Street, a popular lot for novice ice skating, Gusick saw the sports team and ice hockey rink as a great opportunity for the community at large.
His past experience working as medical staff for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins was a catalyst for pursuing a partnership with the Williamsport Outlaw organization.
Pre-season talks with Outlaws' Head Coach and President Chris Firriolo indicated the team had a need for medical staff. Susquehanna Health partnered with the organization to become the team's medical provider and Gusick began working with Athletic Trainer Micah Watts to develop a game plan for team physicals and a medical plan-procedure for managing potential injuries throughout the season. In addition to Gusick and Watts, the medical team includes a local dentist and chiropractor.
"Practicing sideline medicine is very different than working in the clinical setting," Gusick said.
As team physician, he is responsible for supervising the team's medical staff as well as diagnosing and treating injured athletes. He personally oversees all 30 of the Outlaws' home games which, unlike any other professional hockey team, are played outdoors on Airmen Pond at Bowman Field.
Overall, players have been pretty healthy this season. The most extensive injury required shoulder surgery, but the majority of the team's injuries are treated at the rink or the Sports Medicine Center.
Most injuries are minor so that once the player is treated, he often can return to the ice.
"We've been treating everything from bone bruises, cuts, sprains and strains to shoulder injuries requiring surgery," he said.
Gusick's outlook for the Outlaws is a positive one: "I hope ice hockey stays and the team is successful here in Williamsport. I wish something like this was available when I was younger."
He believes the availability of ice skating and hockey broadens opportunities for local winter fitness.
"Ice hockey is a great sport for fitness. Youth can also benefit from learning life skills such as playing as a member of a team," he said.
However, he cautions parents to first understand the risks of a high speed contact sport before signing their child up for a team. Then, ensure proper protection for the child's head and body by providing a high quality helmet, mouth guard and padding to help prevent more serious injury.
Chiropractor relocates to Lewisburg
LEWISBURG - Dr. Michael Morrison, at Advanced Care Chiropractic, recently welcomed chiropractor Dr. Jay Reeder.
Reeder, 35, has been in practice in Williamsport for the past four years and has relocated to Lewisburg. He came to Morrison at the right time, as Advanced Care Chiropractic has continued to grow and Morrison could use the help.
Advanced Care Chiropractic will be open six days a week, improving availability and decreasing patients' wait time.
Reeder is a network provider for most major insurances, including Capital Blue Cross and Geisinger. His involvement with those companies opens up the opportunity to receive insurance reimbursement at Advanced Care Chiropractic from additional insurance companies.
Reeder is married with two children and graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
New patients may receive a free consultation and exam during January and current patients can save 10 percent on their next adjustment. For more information, call 523-1221 or go to www.LewisburgChiropractor.com.
Obstetrician, gynecologist joins Geisinger-Lewisburg
LEWISBURG - Dr. Julie Messimer recently joined Geisinger as an obstetrician-gynecologist. She will see patients at Geisinger-Lewisburg, 250 Reitz Blvd., joining Sharon Wachob, certified nurse-midwife.
Prior to joining Geisinger, Messimer served at a private OB/GYN practice in Union, N.J., and saw patients as an in-house physician at St. Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, N.J.
She received a medical degree in 2005 from the Saba University School of Medicine, Saba, Netherlands-Antilles, then completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 2009 at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey.
Messimer is skilled in advanced gynecologic laparoscopy, ESSURE tubal sterilization, Novasure and Her Option endometrial cryoablation. She belongs to the American Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Medical Association.
Geisinger radiology chair helps produce new dual certificate in radiology
DANVILLE - Dr. John F. Cardella, Geisinger Health System radiology chair and medical director of the radiology service line, served on a Society of Interventional Radiology task force that developed a new American Board of Radiology dual certificate in interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology.
The American Board of Medical Specialties Board recently approved the new certificate, which combines competency in diagnostic imaging, image-guided procedures and periprocedural patient care.
Members of the task force spent six years creating the certificate, which will provide patients with well-trained interventional radiology specialists.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education now will review the proposal, a process that is likely to take 12 more months, to provide guidance to training programs about its implementation.
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital names new president
WELLSBORO - Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital's board of directors recently announced that Janie Hilfiger, chief nursing executive, will become the hospital's next president.
She will succeed Jan Fisher, who recently was appointed Susquehanna Health's chief operating officer and executive vice president.
During her 32 years of health care experience, Hilfiger has served the hospital in many capacities, such as a staff nurse in the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit and Medical and Surgical departments; head nurse; director of medical and surgical services; director of medical services; and, for the last 12 years, chief nursing executive.
Hilfiger has a nursing diploma from Williamsport Hospital School of Nursing, a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Elmira College, a nurse management certification from Penn State University and a master's in health care administration from Independence University in Salt Lake, Utah.