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6/10/2020

As our Quality Assurance Analyst, Kristy works with doctors to ensure our clients receive the best quality reports; she is meticulous in her proofreading skills to give you an accurate and credible evaluation report. Kristy is a graduate of Ripon College where she majored in English with minors in Politics and Government and Educational Studies.   Kristy enjoys proofreading and brings her natural eye for style and grammar to Medical Systems’ Quality Assurance Department.  She loves reading the doctors’ reports, which cover a variety of different topics—every day is something new! 

Kristy is an avid reader and has a soft spot for a good adventure novel.  She and her husband John can often be found walking their Corgi Izzy and Chocolate Lab Bruce along the Milwaukee lakefront. We love the addition her enthusiastic personality has made to our team; she is a true team player and is always up for brightening someone's day!

For a pic of Kristy and to read the May Newsletter click here.

4/29/2020

In keeping with our commitment to connect with you, I am very excited about our new monthly e-newsletter which gives you an opportunity to get to know us a little better and for us to provide some helpful tips and interesting information.

In this first issue, we wanted to share ways we are continuing to conduct business, how our company is giving back to the community, introduce you to Theresa in Scheduling, and highlight Dr. Joshua Alpert, Orthopedics.  Lots of information neatly packed into 2 colorful pages with photos! 

Please take a quick moment to let us know what you think; we are most interested in your feedback and suggestions.

Click here to access your copy and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

3/15/2020 in News

Medical Systems has been monitoring the news about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) closely.  The safety and wellness of our clients, team members, their families and our community is of utmost importance to our company.  As such, we are evaluating on a daily basis the best steps to take so we can continue to serve our clients to the best of our abilities while assuring the wellness of our team members. 

This coming week, Medical Systems will remain open, but our employees have been encouraged to work from home. Our phone lines have been forwarded to a team member, however, since there is currently only one phone line available, we ask for your patience and understanding if your call should happen to forward to voicemail. 

The quickest way to contact us may be to directly email the person you would like to reach or email Central Scheduling at Scheduler@MedicalSystemsUSA.com.  If it is a matter you prefer to discuss over the phone, please feel free to send an email asking that we call you, so we can make sure the appropriate person contacts you right away!

Scheduled IMEs have not been canceled at this time.  We have not been notified that doctors plan to cancel IMEs, but that may ultimately be a concern we are faced with.  We also anticipate that claimants may have their own concerns about appearing for an IME.  If you have an IME currently scheduled and would prefer to proceed with a record review instead to safe guard against costly no shows or late cancels, please let us know as soon as possible so we can cancel the appointment and ask the doctor to proceed with reviewing the records as a starting point, to keep your case on track.  If you have upcoming IMEs without urgent deadlines that you would like to push back a few weeks, we’d be happy to assist with rescheduling those to a later date as well. 

Business remains as usual at MSI.  Our dedicated team is working to make sure our process remains seamless to our clients and doctors throughout the Coronavirus crisis.  While many of our team members are working remotely, the level of service our clients and doctors receive from us hasn’t changed. 

We will continue to update our business plan as more information becomes available.  In the meantime, you can expect seamless service from Medical Systems as we navigate through these uncharted waters together.

Thank you for your continued support! 

Your Medical Systems Team
800-261-3278
Scheduler@MedicalSystemsUSA.com

3/14/2020 in News

Medical Systems is dedicated to the safety and well-being of our team and clients and want to assure you that we will continue to remain open for business and are ready to assist with whatever needs may arise.  We know that we are all entering uncharted waters in light of growing Coronavirus concerns and are doing everything possible to be proactive so we are prepared to respond appropriately during a health crisis if one should arise locally with Coronavirus (COVID19). We share your concerns and have clear and deliberate actions we are taking now to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our team, their families and our communities while still meeting your needs.

With taking proactive steps in mind, while we have not been notified that doctors plan to cancel IMEs, that may ultimately be a concern we are faced with.  We also anticipate that claimants may have their own concerns about appearing for an IME.  If you have an IME currently scheduled and would prefer to proceed with a record review instead to safe guard against costly no shows or late cancels, please let us know as soon as possible so we can cancel the appointment and ask the doctor to proceed with reviewing the records as a starting point, to keep your case on track.  If you have upcoming IMEs without urgent deadlines that you would like to push back a few weeks, we’d be happy to assist with rescheduling those to a later date as well. 

As an added precaution, we are prepared to work from home in the coming weeks should the need arise, to avoid service disruptions.  In that event, the quickest way to receive a response may be to email the person you would like to reach or email central scheduling at Scheduler@MedicalSystemsUSA.com.   We will have phone lines forwarded to a team member, but please note, due to having only one phone line, your call may forward to voicemail if the line is busy.  If it is a matter you prefer to discuss over the phone, please feel free to send us an email asking that we call you, so we can have the appropriate person contact you right away!

We assure you that Medical Systems is prepared to work with you and shares your vigilance to address any and all issues associated with the outbreak of the Coronavirus.   We’ll continue to monitor the Center for Disease Control and guidance from the World Health Organization in order to properly inform our responses moving forward. 

As always, thank you for your trust and partnership!

Sincerely,

The Medical Systems Team

The thoracic spine runs from just below our neck down to just above our low back; it is our middle back.  It is what anchors our rib cage.  The rib cage along with the spine protects the internal organs located in the torso.  When the thoracic spine is injured, it has an effect on other organs in your body. 

The nerves of T1-T5 affect muscles of the upper chest, mid-back and abdomen which control the rib cage, lungs, diaphragm and the muscles that control breathing.  Injuries to T1-T5 usually affect the abdominal and lower back muscles and legs, typically resulting in paraplegia.  Arm and hand function usually remains normal.

T6-T12 nerves affect abdominal and back muscles.  These are important for balance and posture, and they help you cough or expel foreign matter from the airway.  Injury to T6-T12 usually results in paraplegia with little or no voluntary control of bowel or bladder. 


Vertebrae Injured

 


Can Cause Issues With

 T1

 Hands and fingers

 T1-T4

 Esophagus

 Trachea

 Lungs (congestion, bronchitis, or difficulty     breathing/swallowing)

 T2-T5

 Chest muscles

 Liver

 Blood Pressure

 Poor Circulation

 T6-T8

 Chest and abdominal muscles

 Pancreas

 Stomach

 Spleen

 T9-T12

 Abdominal muscles

 Lower Thoracic Vertebrae

 Kidney

 Small Intestine

The prognosis and recovery from thoracic injuries differs from person to person based on the type of injury and level of severity.  General overall health is also an important factor in determining level of independence achieved after injury.

7/25/2019 in Blog Categories, Treatment

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF) is a minimally invasive option to lumbar surgery.  This procedure is done from the side rather than the front or back resulting in reduced time for operation, fewer recovery days, minimal scarring, reduced blood loss, less post-operative pain, and quicker return to daily activities.  It is an outpatient procedure which is not appropriate in every situation. 

This procedure is performed with one or more tiny incisions and a medical device called a retractor that’s used to spread apart overlying tissue to give the doctor a clear view of the spine.  The retractor and dilator system used in the lateral lumbar interbody fusion is called MaXcess™ which allows the surgeon to reach the spine via a lateral view from the side with minimal muscle and ligament tampering and no disruption to abdominal muscles.

The recovery process is quicker than with traditional surgery.  The patient can get up and walk immediately following the procedure, minor pain afterwards, and the results are immediately apparent rather than having to wait for a gradual return to normalcy as in the traditional fusion surgery.

Over 400 published clinical studies support the procedure, documenting positive clinical outcomes as comparted to traditional posterior fusion procedures. 

7/18/2019 in Blog Categories, Treatment

The thoracic spine contains 50% of the spines joints and is responsible for two-thirds of the movement in your torso.  It is important to take good care of the thoracic spine in particular so you can maintain mobility and avoid a stiff rib cage which can restrict the capacity of your diaphragm and lungs. 

You can test your own range of motion using the yoga gesture of Uddiyana Bandha (Upward Abdominal Lock).  The best time to do it is early in the morning with an empty stomach and bowls.  If you have any health conditions such as high blood pressure, hiatal hernia, ulcers, pregnancy, or menstruation, check with your doctor first.  Here’s how it’s done:

  • Exhale completely. Notice that you do this pressing in with both your chest and abdomen. You can pretend to be blowing up a balloon as much as possible with one breath.

  • Do a mock inhalation using your chest, locking your glottis and restraining air from entering your lungs, and at the same time relax your abdomen. If you get confused about how to prevent air from entering your lungs, you can try to inhale (without inhaling) while blocking your mouth and nose with your hands. You should feel your chest lift.

  • Holding your breath, try harder to inhale while keeping your abdomen relaxed. Your upper abdomen will form a deep concavity that extends up underneath your rib cage. This is uddiyana bandha.
  • Relax your mock inhalation, letting your chest and abdominal organs drop and your abdomen release forward.

  • Press gently in with your chest and abdomen, thus equalizing air pressure on the inside and outside of the body, and gently inhale without gasping.

This exercise challenges your thoracic spine and rib cage to use their full range of motion at the costovertebral joints, taking the ribs to their most elevated state which causes the diaphragm to stretch laterally.  When done regularly and correctly, it also keeps your thoracic spine healthy.

References:

https://www.yogajournal.com/teach/what-you-need-to-know-about-your-thoracic-spine

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/uddiyana-bandha-step-by-step

Spinal cord injuries are devastating.  In the U.S. there are approximately 12,000 spinal cord injuries every year in which the injured person survives the initial accident.  For those who survive the initial accident, the road forward is physically demanding, psychologically taxing, and financially burdensome.  A spinal cord injury patient can expect to spend well over a month in hospitals and in-patient rehabilitation (sometimes considerably longer depending on the severity of the injury and whether there are simultaneous cognitive impairments or other comorbidities).  In addition, the lifetime costs of spinal cord injuries are extensive, having a present day value ranging from $4,540,000 for a 20-year-old patient with high tetraplegia (spinal cord injury at C1-C4) to $1,460,000 for a 60-year-old patient with paraplegia.  The occupational effects are profound, with only 35% of spinal cord injury patients able to achieve a similar pre-injury level of employment 20 years post-injury.  Obviously, the costs of spinal cord injury claims are enormous and usually lifelong.  Since the two most common causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle crashes and falls, liability claims are relatively common when spinal cord injuries occur.

Certainly no one did more to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries than Christopher Reeve, who suffered a spinal cord injury causing high tetraplegia (C1-C2) after falling from a horse in 1995.  Periodically high profile athletes suffer spinal cord injuries that thrust the issue back into the national spotlight.  In 2010, Rutgers football player Eric LeGrande sustained a spinal cord injury during a game that initially left him paralyzed from the neck down.  In October 1995, Travis Roy was just 11 seconds into his first shift in his first game as a hockey player for Boston University when he crashed head-first into the boards and suffered a spinal cord injury that also paralyzed him from the neck down. 

More recently, Olympic swimmer and multiple gold medal-winning swimmer Amy Van Dyken suffered a spinal cord injury away from athletics in June 2014 when she fell off the all-terrain vehicle she was driving and down a 5-7 foot embankment.  The accident injured her spinal cord at T11 and left her paralyzed from the waist down. 

These famous athletes and celebrities periodically remind us of both the risk and devastating consequences of spinal cord injury.  Fortunately, progress is being made in managing the post-injury effects of spinal cord injury.  The most frequently reported-on developments typically involve bionic exoskeletons that help the paralyzed person move their limbs.  However, recently medical researchers have been making strides in using electrical stimulation to allow the injured patient voluntarily move paralyzed limbs.  In recently reported research, external electrodes were placed over 5 patients’ spinal columns who have suffered from paraplegia for at least two years.  The electrodes in combination with the drug Buspirone allowed the patients to move their limbs under stimulation, which was not unexpected.  What was remarkable is that the patients retained the ability to move their legs even without electrical stimulation after 4 weeks of treatment.  As lead researcher Prof. V. Reggie Edgerton noted, "The fact that they regained voluntary control so quickly must mean that they had neural connections that were dormant, which we reawakened."  The findings are considered remarkable because the medical and scientific community had accepted that persons with complete paralysis “no longer had any neural connections in the spinal area” suggesting that it may be possible to regain motor function without regenerating spinal neurons or using an exoskeleton system.

This research along with the mind-boggling progress that is being made with patient-controlled exoskeleton devices is changing the landscape for spinal cord injury patients.  These developments are welcome news for patients, their families, and society alike.  As noted above, the occupational and medical costs of spinal cord injuries are enormous.  Anything that can return function to patients has the potential to minimize the occupational impact and long-term medical expenses of spinal cord injuries, which is good news for civil liability systems as well.  Spinal cord injuries are among the most costly injuries to everyone involved.  Improving outcomes in spinal cord injuries will benefit an extraordinary number of individual lives and also the institutions set up to absorb the costs.

5/30/2019

There are only so many hours in a day and giving each file the attention it deserves takes time.  So, how do you squeeze more hours out of every day?  That’s easy – increase efficiency, and you will increase productivity!  Here are a few tips to help you effectively manage your time:

  1. Get Organized – Keep a neat work area.  Get rid of what you don’t need on your desk.  Place important documents in labeled folders and group the folders by claim number in easily accessible, secure file drawers.  Keep your emails organized by creating a folder for each file and putting all email correspondence in the appropriate file.
  2. Create a Plan –  Create a master task plan (or checklist) for each file you are working on.  Each task should be in priority order with deadlines clearly visible.   There are many types of project management software designed to help you keep track of tasks and deadlines.
  3. Use a To Do List – Every morning, review the master task plan for each file (observing any deadlines) and make a list of tasks that need to be completed that day.     

Adding these simple steps to your daily routine can help you stay on task and on schedule and improve productivity so you can identify and resolve problems more quickly.  Good project management skills improve work-quality, increasing customer satisfaction and giving you the competitive advantage needed to boost your bottom line.

The thoracic spine (located between the cervical and lumbar spines) is your middle back, beginning right below your neck and ending at your low back.  The main function of the thoracic spine is to anchor the rib cage and protect the spinal cord, heart and lungs.  It is the longest and most complex region of the spine; made up of 12 vertebral bodies that hold disks (T1-T12).  T1 connects with the cervical spine above at C7 and T12 with the lumbar spine below at L1.

Interestingly, the space between disks (intervertebral opening) is much larger in the thoracic spine as compared to both the cervical and lumbar spines.  A bigger intervertebral opening and smaller nerve root allows more room for spinal nerves and reduces the chance of the nerve becoming pinched or inflamed.  Recent research suggests this might be the reason disk degeneration of the thoracic spine is much less likely to cause pain or other symptoms, unless of course the degeneration causes a disk to push on a nerve.  There are several other causes of thoracic spine pain.

Myofascial pain (muscular in nature) can be caused by poor posture, or any irritation of the large back or shoulder muscles, which would include strains or spasms. Joint dysfunction, thoracic herniated disk, compression fracture, kyphosis, scoliosis, arthritis or osteoporosis can also cause pain.

Symptoms of nerve damage in the thoracic spine include: 

  • Stooped posture
  • Muscle weakness/spasms
  • Pain that is referred to the ribs, shoulder, arm, fingers, neck or legs
  • Limited range of motion
  • Tingling, numbness, burning or pins-and-needles sensation

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