Monkeypox Outbreak Update

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) needs your help to contain the current monkeypox outbreak that is growing rapidly in the United States and across the globe. To date, Virginia has three reported monkeypox cases. Other suspected cases have been reported, investigated, and ruled out with testing conducted at Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS).

Healthcare providers working in outpatient clinics are at the front lines of this response and may be the first to suspect monkeypox. These include providers working in primary care, urgent care, emergency medicine, sexually transmitted infection clinics, dermatology, gynecology, and oral health. Here are key points to be aware of:

  • Many patients have mild symptoms that might be confused with sexually transmitted infections or varicella zoster virus. Rash lesions can begin on the genitals, perianal region, or oral cavity and might be the first or only sign of illness.
  • Co-infection with sexually transmitted infections have been reported.

To contain this outbreak, it is critical that providers recognize and report suspected cases immediately to their local health department (LHD).

  • With timely reporting, LHD staff can facilitate monkeypox testing, which is currently only available at certain public health laboratories, but likely to expand soon to certain commercial laboratories.
  • LHD staff can also ensure that people with monkeypox isolate safely and have access to treatment if they have or are at high risk for severe illness; monitor their close contacts; and offer post exposure prophylaxis to close contacts with high-risk and intermediate-risk exposures.
  • Review VDH’s Monkeypox Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Settings to prepare your facility for potential cases.

Resources from CDC and VDH are available to help providers recognize and report suspected cases:

Time is of the essence to control this outbreak. Please share this information broadly both within your healthcare network and with any colleagues or facilities where frontline healthcare is provided.

Thank you for all your efforts to identify, report, and prevent monkeypox in Virginia.

21 Men’s Health Tips for Your Patients

There’s a “hack” for everything these days, and the internet has no shortage of hacks claiming to improve health. Some “health hacks” have value, although many do not.

As a physician, you know you can’t hack good health. Maintaining good health is being intentional about making a series of everyday choices and decisions, including managing risk factors like age and family history of diseases.

Your male patients also know they can’t hack their health — though their actions might say otherwise. To help you help your male patients stay as healthy as they can, we’ve put together a list of 21 men’s health tips for your patients. And they start with going to the doctor.

For convenience, we’ve written the rest of this article so that you can share it directly with your patients.

GO TO THE DOCTOR

Men just don’t go to the doctor like women do. Studies show as many as half of men don’t go for their regular check-ups, and about three-quarters would rather do household chores — like cleaning the bathroom — than go to the doctor. Is that you?

The truth is you have to go to the doctor if you want to be healthy and stay healthy. Though there’s a lot more to seeing the doctor than your annual physical, that’s the best place to start, and so it’s the #1 tip in our list of 21 men’s health tips.

  1. Get Your Annual Physical. Even if you’re feeling great, you should see your doctor every year for a check-up. Do not skip or postpone these visits! Your doctor will monitor things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar — which may not cause symptoms when out of whack. Your doctor will also help you monitor and manage your risks for health problems that are specific to you. Your annual physical is your first line of defense!
  2. Get Your Screenings. Your primary care physician can guide you as to what regular screenings are right for you, based on things like your age, lifestyle, ethnicity, age, family history, and symptoms. You may be a candidate for an annual full-body skin exam, or you may need to get a regular colonoscopy. Another example: About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the U.S. is found in a man — are you at risk?
  3. Make Mental Health a Priority. Whether for stress, depression, or thoughts of self-harm, get the help you need from a mental health professional. Though men and women share the same mental health conditions, men may have different symptoms. Men are also more likely to die by suicide. If you’re in crisis, get help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  4. Don’t Procrastinate. If your health changes or something seems off, see your doctor right away. The sooner the better! Maybe it’s a change in your bathroom habits or a sore spot on your skin. Early detection is critical to successfully treating many conditions, diseases, and cancers. If fear is keeping you away from the doctor, remember this: you might find out what you’re dealing with is minor, and save yourself a lot of stress and worry.
  5. Be Honest. Sometimes it’s hard to be honest about things that may be embarrassing or make you feel shame. But your doctor depends on your honesty to effectively treat you. From your family history, to your sex life, to your symptoms, to whether and how often you may use drugs, and more, your doctor needs to know everything.
  6. Check In Before Changing. Before starting any new diet or weight loss regimen, adding a supplement to your diet, or trying a new exercise plan, check with your doctor to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your health. Challenges with hormones like cortisol and insulin can impact your ability to lose weight. Supplements can interfere with prescribed medications. And, of course, heart health is always a consideration for exercise.
  7. Keep Your Eyes Healthy. Unless you already wear glasses or contacts, many men just don’t think about their eye health — until they have a problem. Many vision problems are avoidable, and some are symptomless. Your eye doctor can also help address things like eye strain and screen exposure, which can impact other areas of your health. To keep your eyes healthy, get an eye exam every year.
  8. Don’t Forget Your Teeth. Regular dental visits, typically every 6 months, are important for maintaining your dental health. Prevention strategies will help keep your mouth healthy, and your dentist can identify anything that needs to be addressed. Poor dental health can cause other problems, from bad breath and difficulty eating to headaches and heart disease.
  9. Beware Dr. Google. The internet can be a great tool to search symptoms and guidance, but it can be as hurtful or even scary as it can be helpful. Google is not a substitute for a diagnosis or a treatment plan. If you have questions or concerns, consult with your doctor.

MORE MEN’S HEALTH TIPS

Honestly, a comprehensive list of men’s health tips could fill a book — a book you don’t have time to read. So, here’s a list of top tips that will apply to men of most ages and stages. As with all medical advice, it’s best to run tips by your own doctor before you dive in, of course.

  1. Reduce your sodium
  2. Know the signs and symptoms of stroke and heart attack, which can be different in men
  3. Drink more water
  4. Stay active, which includes exercising — like walking
  5. Get good sleep, most adults need at least 7 hours
  6. Eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  7. Make time for “you time,” to relax and do things you enjoy
  8. Watch your waistline, men with a waist over 40 inches are at higher risk for heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes
  9. Wear sunscreen
  10. Brush and floss daily
  11. Be safe and follow recommended safety precautions like wearing a seatbelt and using safety equipment on the job as well as off
  12. Wash your hands!

If you have any questions about these 21 men’s health tips, or any questions about your health, your own doctor is always your best resource.

Mark Monahan, MD
Urologist

We Must Take Positive Steps to Address Gun Violence

Violence against children, nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, or any individual in our workplaces, our communities, our houses of worship, and most certainly our schools, cannot be tolerated. The MSV is appalled at the recent attacks in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa. Gun violence is unacceptable and something must be done to address it.

MSV stands in support of all physicians, PAs, and healthcare providers who have dedicated their lives to healing. We recognize the extraordinary challenges they face on a daily basis especially when dealing with violence in the workplace. Today, we call on people and leaders across the Commonwealth to come together and take positive steps to address this public health crisis. We also encourage people to demonstrate empathy, and to show support and care to Virginia’s healthcare providers and to others in our lives.

For all healthcare colleagues, here are some resources that may help you navigate these challenges:

SafeHaven™ was founded in 2020 after recognizing a greater need to provide physicians and PAs the support they need to stay well and prevent burnout. Learn more about SafeHaven™.

The Joint Commission’s Workplace Violence Prevention Compendium of Resources

Threats, intimidation against doctors and health workers must end, Gerald E. Harmon, MD, AMA President, 2021-22 President

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) Workplace Violence Prevention Resources

Richmond Times-Dispatch Names the Medical Society of Virginia a Winner of the Greater Richmond Area Top Workplaces 2022 Award

The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by Richmond Times-Dispatch Top Workplaces. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward. Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.”

“Being recognized as a top workplace, based solely on employee feedback is a true honor,” said Melina Davis, CEO and EVP of the MSV. “The last few years have been difficult for everyone, but our entire team has worked hard to ensure that the MSV is thriving. I am so grateful to everyone at our organization working to create a positive and resilient work culture, especially given the special challenges our members and team have faced during the pandemic.”

The MSV is excited to see what this next year will bring. This is a new and wonderful opportunity to not only celebrate, but to continue growing and changing as an organization.

About The Medical Society of Virginia

The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) is the professional association that serves as the voice for more than 30,000 physicians, residents, medical students, PAs, and PA students in all regions of the Commonwealth. The MSV strives to advance high-quality care and make Virginia the best place to practice medicine and receive care. To learn more, visit www.MSV.org.

About Energage

Making the world a better place to work together™.

Energage is a purpose-driven company that helps organizations turn employee feedback into useful business intelligence and credible employer recognition through Top Workplaces. Built on 14 years of culture research and the results from 23 million employees surveyed across more than 70,000 organizations, Energage delivers the most accurate competitive benchmark available. With access to a unique combination of patented analytic tools and expert guidance, Energage customers lead the competition with an engaged workforce and an opportunity to gain recognition for their people-first approach to culture. For more information or to nominate your organization, visit energage.com or topworkplaces.com.

Virginia nurse urges colleagues to ask for help: ‘Lean on your people’

…Melina Davis, who serves as the C.E.O and E.V.P for the Medical Society of Virginia, said that when healthcare workers are having mental health issues, many times they do not feel comfortable coming forward for fear of repercussions.

“If you can’t talk to somebody, not only are you isolated, but there’s a building level of frustration and loss of hope,” she said. “Could mean that your license would be affected, your referral network could be affected even your employment, so they had a tendency to then just hold it all in and keep it to themselves, because they couldn’t turn to anybody safely.”

Davis said this was because of this the Safe Haven bill was introduced and then unanimously passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020. The legislation protects healthcare workers looking to address any career fatigue or mental health issues. The law was amended in 2021 to include nurses and other healthcare positions.

Various resources are available though SafeHaven including peer coaching and counseling services…

Read the Full Article

Learn More About SafeHaven

VMAP: Helping to Address and Improve Children’s Mental Health

As many of us already know, our nation’s youth is in a mental health crisis, as recently reported by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

This crisis has been developing for years. The pandemic did not cause a mental health crisis among our nation’s children but exasperated it while exposing challenges that existed prior to adding COVID-19 to the mix.

The challenge to address and improve children’s mental health is urgent. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in 5 U.S. children has a diagnosable mental health disorder. For our nation’s teens this has been significant. While factors like teen sex and school bullying are down and LGBTQ acceptance is up, feelings of teen sadness and hopelessness have increased, as have eating disorders and teen suicides.

Headlines also tell the story, like this eye-opening headline from U.S. News & World Report in March: “Mental Health of America’s Children Only Getting Worse.”

As a physician, what can you do to help your young patients in this time of great need?

How to help address and improve children’s mental health

Primary care physicians (PCPs) are in the unique position to promote mental health and offer both primary and secondary prevention to patients and their families. Your role at the front lines of children’s healthcare gives you the “primary care advantage,” which includes developing a trusting relationship with patients and their families, promoting social-emotional health with every contact. Identifying mental health problems through education and anticipatory guidance and intervening in a timely way if and when risks, concerns, or symptoms emerge.

We have the resource for you: the Virginia Mental Health Access Program

Virginia is making it easier for PCPs to support children and adolescent mental health. When a child is struggling with their mental health, many parents seek help from their PCP. Additionally, this close, regular interaction provides ideal opportunities for identifying mental health issues.

When you need support, to help your pediatric patients, look to the Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP), a statewide initiative focused on helping healthcare providers take better care of children and adolescents with mental health conditions through provider education and increasing access to child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and care navigators. VMAP services are available for children through age 21 (up to the 22nd birthday).

VMAP ensures more children have access to providers who have experience in screening, diagnosing, managing, and treating mental health. It provides tools and training to the front-line PCPs treating them, including pediatricians, family medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and PAs. It also gives Virginia PCPs access to consultations with child and adolescent psychiatrists, and licensed mental health professionals such as psychologists and social workers, as well as care navigation services to support with resource and referral needs.

VMAP is a key tool for Virginia’s primary care providers. Learn more about the ways in which it can support you and your patients today!

Written by:
Ryan Fulton, DO, FAAP
Pediatrician

Disability Insurance Application Frequently Asked Questions

Disability insurance is essential to protecting your hard earned income. If you have anyone who relies on your income, disability insurance provides a safety net so you can still pay for your rent, groceries, student loans, or anything else if you’re unable to work.

With how important disability insurance is, we understand that the process of applying and getting disability coverage can feel daunting. This FAQ will cover the questions we get from clients all the time, and hopefully make you feel better about getting the disability insurance application process started.

Who do I buy disability insurance from?

You should buy your disability insurance from an independent agent. An independent agent is able to sell you coverage without being tied to one company. Of the existing insurance companies, there is a Big 6 that offer the most competitive and expansive coverage. Those companies are: Amertias, Principal, Standard, Guardian, Mass Mutual, Ohio National.

Your independent agent should be able to show you the pros and cons of the best coverage options for you with a comparison quote.

What should I look for in a disability insurance quote?

Your disability insurance quote will cover a number of items. Here are a few to take note of:

    • Benefit amount, which is the amount that would be paid to you monthly if you were on disability claim.
    • Elimination period, which is how long you would need to wait after becoming disabled to receive your benefits (the most common is 90 days).
    • Benefit period, which is how long you receive benefits (either a set number of years or to a certain age, like 65, 67, or 70).
    • Riders, which are optional add-ons that provide additional benefits. Common riders include a Cost of Living Adjustment, Future Increase Option, or Automatic Increase Rider.
      • Cost of Living Adjustment increases your benefit each year you are on claim to help decrease the effect of inflation.
      • Future Increase Option is the ability to increase your monthly benefit without needing additional medical underwriting. This increase usually happens on policy anniversaries and financial verification is generally needed.
      • Residual Benefit Rider allows you to collect benefits while residually disabled and still working. The definition of this rider varies by company but generally means you can receive payment for a 20% or more decrease in income due to disability.
    • Mental Limitation, which can limit your benefits for mental, nervous, or substance abuse.
    • Definition of disability, which determines how broad the scope of disability is in order to go on claim.
      • Own Occupation or Specialty Specific definition means that your policy will pay your claim if you can’t work in your specific occupation, even if you can be working in another field or specialty. This type of coverage is important for physicians or other specialists.
    • Premium, which is how much you would pay for that policy split up into options like monthly, quarterly, or annually. Generally paying fewer times per year is the least expensive option. 

You should be able to ask your disability insurance agent for a comparison quote that shows you the benefits and premiums of multiple insurance companies, so you can make an informed choice about the company your coverage will be through.

How do I fill out and sign my application?

Most insurance companies allow online applications that are signed using the company’s online portal or DocuSign. Your insurance agent will facilitate indicating what fields of the application need to be filled out and send it to you for signatures.

If you’d prefer to do a paper application, the forms can be mailed to you with a return envelope or signed at your agent’s office.

What happens after I submit my application?

The insurance company will generally request a phone or online interview be completed. This interview will cover your demographic information and medical history. They will ask about any recent doctor’s visits or medications you take, as well as your family history.

Insurance companies also require financial documentation to confirm your salary and the benefits they can offer you. Generally a copy of your latest tax return or pay stubs will suffice.

Will I have to do a medical exam?

Potentially. Insurance companies have different parameters on when exams are required. These parameters are usually based on the benefits you’re applying for, your age, or your medical history.

If it is required, a nurse can come to your home or place of work to complete the mini-exam. They are designed to be quick and easy to not add too much to your plate during the application process.

How long will this process take?

It generally takes three to six weeks from applying to getting your insurance offer. A lot of this time is dependent on how quickly you are able to submit your financial information and complete the phone/online interview.

Sometimes insurance companies need to request medical records from your doctor, which can also extend the underwriting process. If they do need medical records, the insurance company will handle ordering and following up on them.

When do I know my coverage is active?

Your coverage is active once your policy is approved, you’ve signed the delivery documents, and paid your first premium.

Questions about Disability Insurance?

You might still have questions after this brief Q&A, but the good thing is that you are not alone during the disability insurance application process. Your insurance agent should be with you every step of the way by providing quote comparisons, answering questions, and advocating for you during underwriting.

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month in the US, and there is no better time to review your disability insurance coverage. If you’re ready for a quote or for a no-cost review of your existing coverage from an experienced, independent insurance agent, contact 1752 Financial today.

Get a Quote Now

Virtual Fireside Chat with Corey Feist from All In: Wellbeing First for Healthcare

Members of the MSV have been invited by the Richmond Academy of Medicine (RAM) to join a conversation with Corey Feist, co-founder of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation and former CEO of UVA physicians group, to discuss the ALL IN:  Wellbeing First for Healthcare campaign on Tuesday, May 10th at 6:00 PM.

The campaign, developed by #FirstRespondersFirst and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, is committed to advancing a state where the well-being of the healthcare workforce is prioritized. They are working to make progress against persistent mental health and well-being challenges that disadvantage our healthcare workers.

Corey will discuss his background and work with the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, he’ll review the Dr. Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act and then explain what ALL IN is and how it aligns with the work of the Foundation and Protection Act.

Most importantly, learn what YOU can do in your practice or system to create an environment that is supportive of physicians and other clinicians. YOU are the key!

Register here!

Thank you to RAM for inviting MSV and its members!

The Color of Care

A new documentary that traces the origins of racial health disparities to practices that began during slavery in the U.S. and continue today. Former AMA President Patrice Harris featured in the film.

The Color of Care premiered on the Smithsonian Channel on May 1st. The film will be available to stream for free until May 31st on the Smithsonian Channel Facebook and YouTube.

Learn more about this film at https://www.thecolorofcare.org/.

Congratulations to the 2022 Richmond Top Docs!

Many members of the Medical Society of Virginia including Board members, PLI participants, VMAP leaders, and more were recognized as Richmond’s 2022 Top Doctors. Congratulations to every physician on this list! You are making a true difference in the lives of your patients every single day. Thank you for all you do!

Take a look at all those recognized!