DOT physicals available at Golden Valley Clinic

DOT physicals are now offered at HCMC’s Golden Valley Clinic, conveniently located in Spring Gate Shopping Center, 5653 Duluth Street in Golden Valley.

85449789Commercial drivers are required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to pass a physical exam and receive certification that they are in good enough health to be safe driving a commercial vehicle. A standard certification is good for two years, but people with certain health conditions must have a DOT physical more often. This year, there’s a new wrinkle in getting a DOT physical.

“Now you can’t necessarily just go to your primary care doctor to get a DOT physical,” explains Bryan Nelson, MD, Family and Community Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center. “As of May 21, 2014, health care providers must be specially licensed to give DOT physicals. There’s a surprisingly rigorous test you have to pass to become one of these providers.”

Dr. Nelson is licensed to perform DOT physicals, and has been offering this service at the Golden Valley Clinic since mid-August. He describes the exam: “In many respects, it’s like a routine annual physical exam. But there are a couple aspects of an annual physical that are not done as part of the DOT physical. There’s no blood draw. We do a urine test, but it’s just to make sure there’s no glucose or protein in the urine.”

How to get a DOT physical

Health insurance doesn’t cover DOT physicals. Dr. Nelson and the Golden Valley Clinic offer DOT physicals for a flat fee of $109. Assuming you pass, you will receive a certificate at the end of the exam.

You can schedule an appointment by phone or email. Call 612-873-6963 or email gvdotphysicals@hcmed.org to schedule your DOT physical.

Golden Valley Clinic, conveniently located in the Spring Gate Shopping Mall on Duluth St., partners with patients of all ages to maintain and improve their health by offering comprehensive primary care services as well as complementary treatment options.

 

Dr. Michael Belzer receives Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award

Dr. Michael Belzer

Dr. Michael Belzer

The West Metro Medical Foundation and the Twin Cities Medical Society have selected Dr. Michael Belzer, Chief Medical Officer at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), as the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award.

Dr. Belzer has served as HCMC’s Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer since 1990. He also serves as Medical Director for Hennepin County’s Community Health Department and Associate Dean for the University of Minnesota Medical School. Prior to becoming Medical Director, he served as the Associate HCMC Medical Director for Academic Affairs. Dr. Belzer is a practicing Medical Hematologist and Oncologist with subspecialty and specialty board certification in Medical Oncology, Hematology, and Internal Medicine. He served as President and Chairman of the Board of Hennepin Medical Society (now known as the Twin Cities Medical Society) that represented over 4000 Metro physicians. Dr. Belzer is on the Executive Committee Board for America’s Essential Hospitals, and was the former Board Chair of Hospice of the Twin Cities and the National Public Health and Hospital Institute. Dr. Belzer is past recipient of the Minnesota Medical Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award and he won the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award from the University Medical School in 2004.

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MyChart E-Visits are here!

e-visits-iocNo time to go to the clinic? MyChart E-Visits are a convenient option!

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is now offering a new feature within its MyChart patient portal to make it more convenient for patients and families with uncomplicated medical histories to get care for some common, non-emergent conditions.

An E-Visit is online medical advice and treatment with an HCMC provider – now available 7 days a week (Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5:30 PM and weekends from 10 AM to 5:30 PM). Cough/colds, allergies, diarrhea, heartburn, red eye, sinus problems, urinary problems and vaginal discharge/irritation are some of the non-emergent conditions that can be treated by a provider via E-Visit.

To sign up for the E-Visit, the patient must:

  • Have been seen at HCMC within the past 3 years
  • Not have been seen at HCMC for the same condition or symptoms within 7 days of the E-Visit
  • Be at least 18 months old
  • Not be pregnant or breast-feeding

E-Visits can be requested through HCMC’s MyChart system. For more information, go to hcmc.org and take the E-Visit link.

 

Mary Seieroe, DDS named Chief of Dentistry

Dr. Mary Seieroe

Dr. Mary Seieroe

Dr. Mary Seieroe was recently named Chief of Dentistry at Hennepin County Medical Center, a Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center and teaching hospital in Minneapolis.

“It’s a great privilege to care for patients at HCMC, and I look forward to serving my colleagues and our patients and families in this new role,” said Dr. Seieroe, who graduated from the University of Iowa in 1986, and completed the General Practice Residency program at HCMC. Her special interests include oral health disparities, the relationships between oral health and overall health, hospital dentistry and management of medically complex patients and those with special needs.

 

 

Is niacin breaking your heart?

Using niacin to improve cholesterol levels doesn’t reduce heart attack or stroke in high risk patients

We’ve all heard that lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels and raising HDL or “good” cholesterol is good for the heart. When lifestyle changes have not been adequate, most treatment effort in the management of heart disease and stroke risk has focused on lowering the LDL or “bad” cholesterol using a class of drugs called statins. In recent years, the use of niacin – a vitamin B3 – in addition to standard statin therapy has been increasing in the U.S.   The main effect of niacin is in raising HDL or “good” cholesterol and this was hoped to result in improving heart attack and stroke prevention beyond what was obtained through the use of statins. But recently reported results from a large study state that the long-term effects of niacin do not lead to better outcomes.

Dr. Woubeshet Ayenew

Dr. Woubeshet Ayenew

“And in fact, niacin use may even be harmful,” explains Dr. Woubeshet Ayenew, a cardiologist at Hennepin County Medical Center, who is referring to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine that associated niacin with infections, skin problems, and diabetes complications. “While niacin can increase HDL levels and lower LDLs and triglycerides, these apparently favorable changes in the lipid levels did not reduce heart attack and stroke when high risk patients were followed on niacin over the long-term,” says Dr. Ayenew. “The effect or benefit of niacin on patients without prior vascular disease was not looked at in these studies.”

“In light of this research, high-risk patients with prior heart attack, stroke or diabetes with arterial blockages who are currently taking niacin with their statin should review their treatment plan with their provider.”

Dr. Ayenew also asserts that pursuing a healthy lifestyle is still the most beneficial and safest way to avoid cardiovascular disease.  If medications are needed to supplement healthy lifestyles, it does appear that statins are very effective and have a better safety profile compared to vitamin B3 or niacin.

Woubeshet Ayenew practices in HCMC’s Cardiology Clinic located in downtown Minneapolis, as well as HCMC’s Brooklyn Center Clinic.  He was the local principal investigator for the AIM-HIGH trial that looked at the impact of niacin on people with vascular disease. The cardiology clinic was recently identified as the number one rated cardiology clinic by patients for “overall provider experience” in Minnesota, according to results published by Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CGCAHPS), a tool used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to collect patient feedback.

 

 

Center for Hyperbaric Medicine re-accredited “with distinction”

Hyperbaric chamber at HCMC

Hyperbaric chamber at HCMC

Congratulations to the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine for recently achieving re-accreditation “with distinction” from the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine Society (UHMS)!

In addition to being the accrediting agency for hyperbaric chambers recognized by The Joint Commission, the UHMS is the primary source of scientific information for diving and hyperbaric medicine physiology worldwide.

HCMC’s 2-day survey took place in March and included over 600 checkpoints for the program, resulting in re-accreditation “with distinction” which means the program can be called a “Center of Excellence.”

HCMC has the only multi-chamber hyperbaric oxygen facility in the region that’s used for 24/7 emergency treatment of critically ill patients: usually victims of carbon monoxide exposure or life-threatening infections, but also cerebral gas embolism and decompression sickness (“the bends”).

Congratulations to everyone on the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine team for this excellent achievement!

UCare honors HCMC for delivering high-quality care

HCMC was recently recognized for achieving outstanding results in UCare’s 2013 quality programs

HCMC's Scott Wordelman and Dr. Jon Pryor accepted the award from UCare officials.

Pictured L to R: Scott Wordelman, HCMC VP of Ambulatory Administration; Dr. Jon Pryor, HCMC CEO; Dr. Russ Kuzel, UCare Chief Medical Officer; and Nancy Feldman, UCare CEO

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) was recently honored for delivering high-quality care to UCare’s Medicaid members at UCare’s sixth annual “A Salute to Excellence!” event on June 17. HCMC was one of 25 health care systems and clinics to be recognized for either for earning quality excellence awards in UCare’s 2013 Pay for Performance (P4P) program or for going the extra mile to deliver culturally responsible health services to UCare members and to reduce barriers to care for people with disabilities.