Archive for October 2015

Direct Primary Care presentation tonight

Tonight at 6pm I’ll be hosting an open forum on Trinity’s new Direct Primary Care program in the main lobby of Trinity’s Fort Sanders West office.  There will be a short presentation then time for questions and discussion afterwards.  Space is limited to about 25 participants.

The next presentation will be this Saturday at 2pm at VitalSigns, 2531 Willow Point Way, in the upstairs exercise room.  There should be plenty of space for all who wish to participate at that venue.

I’ll post further meeting opportunities as the they are scheduled.



Risky Behaviors

Why do you have a question about wearing seat belts?  You’re a doctor not a policeman.”  This adolescent was expressing a rather common question among both youth and adults.  But the reality is the answer to that question, especially among youth, may have more impact on their health than almost anything else we will talk about in their visit.

What do adolescents and young adults (say age 10-24) die from in the U.S.?  Only 5% die from heart disease and other congenital diseases.  Seventeen percent die from a mix of causes such as infections and various uncommon maladies.  The three other causes that make up all the rest are suicide (11%), homicide (13%), and unintentional injury (accidents) at a whopping 48%.  Obviously the fact that suicide and homicide make up nearly a quarter of the deaths of youth is heart-breaking.  But today we want to focus in a little more on the nearly half of deaths in youth which are caused by accidents.

Out of these accidental deaths, almost ¾ of these are from motor vehicle accidents, and a substantial percentage of these involve alcohol.  Another 7% of accidental deaths in youth occur from unintentional poisoning, 5% from drowning, 3% from other recreational vehicle crashes, and 2% from firearms accidents.

Just to name one other example of accidental injury, over 25,000 traumatic brain injuries needing emergency room treatment occur in youth from bicycle accidents every year, usually in youth not wearing a helmet.

What about other behaviors that may cause disease or other unwanted outcomes?  Although 15-24 year olds make up only about a quarter of sexually-active individuals, they incur almost half of the sexually-transmitted infections, including 17% of the new HIV infections.  Also, three quarter of a million teens become pregnant each year, although the numbers are trending down a bit.

Substance abuse shows some slight drop in alcohol and tobacco use, but other substances such as marijuana, meth, and prescription drug abuse are not falling off or are increasing.

Finally, over the last 20 years, the US has experienced an obesity epidemic. In 1991, only four states reported an obesity prevalence rate over 15%, and no states reported rates above 20%.  In 2009, every state except for Colorado reported an obesity prevalence rate at or above 20%, with 9 states exceeding 30%, including Tennessee.  Between 1980 and 2008, obesity among adolescents shot up from 5% to 18%.

So, life happens, and we certainly can’t control it all… but our choices bring consequences, some sooner and some later, some good and some not so much.  High tech medicine can certainly bring life-extending treatments for many maladies.  But, for adults, and even more-so for youth, a few consistent good choices may make a world of difference – choices such as:

  • Buckling your seat belt every time you drive or ride in a car.
  • Not driving when you’re impaired or buzzed nor riding with someone else who is.
  • If you’re on a bike, motorcycle, snowboard, 4-wheeler or similar fast-moving objects and you have a brain, protect it with a helmet.
  • Skip the unhealthy, addicting substances that will wreck your life, health, and freedom in the long run, even if they’re advertised as making you feel cool and in in the short run.
  • Save yourself sexually for the person you’ve committed to be with for a lifetime
  • Skip the sugary drinks and refined carbs (starches) and go easy on the portions
  • Stay physically active and limit your screen time (phones, computers, t.v.)

No doubt these sound old-fashioned, but they can impact your life and health more than the most expensive, high-tech treatments.  So, it can be a corny cliché from grade B movies, but somehow in real life it still has some remarkable power:  “Make good choices… and keep on making them; they make a difference.”


Direct Primary Care presentation and open forums

I’ll be offering two opportunities this week to hear a short presentation on Trinity’s Direct Primary Care program.  At the end of the presentation we’ll have time for questions and discussion.

Thursday October 15th at 6pm in Trinity’s main lobby.  Seating is limited to 25 participants.

Saturday October 17th at 2pm at our wellness center, VitalSigns (2531 Willow Point Way), in the upstairs exercise room.

I look forward to seeing you there.




What is Direct Primary Care?

Since I announced the addition of a Direct Primary Care program to the services offered through Trinity I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback and support.  I’m excited to see the first patients start signing up for the program even though it doesn’t start until January 1st, 2016.

Many people have asked me to provide a short summary of the program and it’s benefits for the average patient.  I could write a lot about why I like this model so much but will try to keep it brief.

The two biggest advantages of this program are the lower cost of providing care and the increased accessibility.  First, with the removal of insurance overhead this office can provide a full range of services at a very low price.  I can only do this by cancelling my contracts with insurance companies to allow a lower than allowable cost.  Most services are inexpensive enough to simply be included in the monthly membership price.  Others can be offered at exceptional discounts.  Second, having more time to counsel over the phone, communicate via email, and spend face to face with each patient allows for more personalized therapies.  I’ve long said that the most valuable thing I have to offer my patients is my focused attention on their concerns bringing to bear my understanding and expertise to their personal, individual situation.  I want to build an office that accentuates those opportunities.

Trinity Medical Associates of Hardin Valley as a Direct Primary Care office will offer the following benefits with membership:

  • Unlimited medically necessary visits in person, over the phone, or via email as appropriate to the situation
  • No per visit copay
  • Direct phone access to me and my office staff during the business day
  • Direct email access to me (
  • Same and next business day appointment availability
  • 24/7 telephone coverage through Trinity Medical Associates on call physician services
  • Longer more focused visits.  The standard visit will be 30 mins in length with physicals lasting one hour.
  • Most in-office testing is included such as rapid strep test and rapid flu test
  • Most routine blood work is included such as Cholesterol testing, Kidney function, Liver function, Thyroid testing, Hgb A1c
  • Most in-office diagnostics are included such as EKG, Audiometry, and Spirometry
  • Yearly influenza vaccination

Membership is $30/month for children up to 22 years of age, $60/month for adults, and $90/month for those 65 years of age and older.  The family plan covers two married adults and all their children at $210/month.  The enrollment fee is waived with sign up prior to January 1st, 2016.  After that the enrollment fee covers the first month of membership with payment.

For those interested in aggressively pursuing better health we’ve added an increased membership level that covers VitalSigns Wellness center membership, VitalMeals enrollment (our email meal planning service), and monthly visits with Nutritional Counseling, Wellness Coaching, or Biblical counseling.  This is designed to give members all the tools necessary to make their health a success story.

I invite everyone with questions to contact me at or Mel Moss, the DPC office coordinator, at  If you already think this is something you’re interested in you can sign up at

Below you’ll find a copy of our flyer.