This fall when you come to the office you may see several new faces at our front desk or in our nursing staff. We welcome two new staff members to our front desk, Corrinne Guerzoni and Caitlyn Villaneuva. We have also added 3 new nurses to our staff; Laurel Pinto, Sarah Hierolcer, and Kristy Coache. We are excited to welcome each of these people to our dedicated staff!
This past month we have received some very good news from our partners in the Pediatric Physicians Organization at Children’s. One of our quality initiatives that we have been working on in the past 12 months has been to make an effort to reduce the total medical expense of our patients. Total medical expense is measure that looks at the total cost of care to both the patient and insurance, not charges from our office. We have several initiatives that have been put in place to collaborate with specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital so that we can provide a higher level of care in our office, in many cases without the need for a referral to Boston. We also have been busy tracking emergency room visits by our patients so that we can help determine ways to provide more urgent care in our office. Through these efforts we have been successful in reducing the cost of care for our patients by almost 8%. This has happened at a time when other members of the PPOC have reduced total expense by 1%.
Dr. Mendes continues to meet monthly with our Behavioral Health Learning Community team to fulfill our goal of having a behavioral health provider in our office to help patients with their acute mental health needs.
We have always known that finding mental health care in our community is not easy for parents. Often they have to wait several weeks or months for the initial appointment after getting a referral from our office. Through our collaboration with the PPOC we have learned that unmet mental health needs is a risk factor for poor medical health outcomes and contributes to increasing the cost of medical care in our community. We are excited to be able to offer this service and hopeful to have a program running in our office within the next year.
There are several options for Family Halloween events in the Southcoast region. We have attempted to provide some links to help you find activities for you and your children. If you would like to learn about events sponsored by the The Southcoast YMCA, Click here.
Edaville Railroad is starting a new tradition at their park that includes unlimited rides, music, a train ride, and opportunity to stroll through a new area of their park to view jack-o-laterns, click here to learn more.
Plumb Corner in Rochester will be hosting their annual Halloween Party on Oct. 26th from 1 – 4pm. To learn more, click here.
Lastly, for families who are interested in local corn mazes and other farming activities, Escobar’s Highland Farm in Portsmouth Rhode Island and Sauchuk Farm in Plympton may be worth looking at.
As you may recall from our August newsletter, improving our management of pediatric concussion has been a focus of our quality improvement efforts. This fall we have already seen 31 patients with concussion which is twice as many head injuries compared to the same time frame last year. We recently spent some time reviewing some of these cases, and have recognized that some patients are having their first visit to our office several days after having sustained a head injury. Many times, they come to us because they are having trouble in school. We would encourage families to contact our office for an office visit within the first 1-2 days after your child sustains a head injury. The management of pediatric head injuries is more complicated than merely abstaining from physical activity and sports. When you come to our office, our provider will provide a thorough medical exam and also create a management plan that focuses on brain rest, which includes limiting screen time and often limiting school work. To learn more about the management of concussions, click here.
This past month, I had the opportunity to read a book written by a high school classmate, PT McHugh. Keeper of the Black stones, is a young adult book in which the main character Jason Evans travels through time to catch an evil man who is trying to change history for his own benefit. I learned of the book when my friend informed me that he was asked whether the character Jason was someone from his past. It turns out, that the inspiration for the character was me! I recommend the book to any child who likes history, science fiction, and epic adventures. The next book in the series is due out in April and I look forward to reading it. If you would like to learn more about his book, click here. I would love to hear from anyone who reads the book – Dr. Reynolds
To help you prepare for a safe and healthy Halloween we have put together some informative links from the Centers for Disease Control, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and also information from Boston Children’s Hospital to help families of children with food allergies.