Western Wisconsin

New program gives direct access to physical therapy

Now people in the Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital service areas do not need a referral to see a physical therapist as Ministry Health Care pilots its new direct access program.

The pilot program allows patients to schedule appointments for physical therapy in a hospital setting without having to see a physician first.

“We understand from our patients that sometimes this added expense of a required physician visit can be a deterrent to getting the therapy they need,” said Steve Seiberling, DPT, director of rehabilitation at Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital. “Even though a referral is not required for the visit, the patient’s information will still be sent to his or her primary care provider to ensure good continuity of care.”

Patients need to check with insurers
However, it is important that people check with their insurance companies prior to an appointment to see if direct access physical therapy is covered by their policy. Direct access is not yet available for Medicare / Medicaid patients.

Physical therapy as a first stop
“During the initial visit, we look at the overall movement ability and location of the patient’s pain,” said Dennis Kaster, director of rehabilitation at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point. “If we can help, we start therapy; if the problem is beyond the scope of physical therapy services, we refer the patient to the appropriate provider for further treatment.”

Ministry Saint Michael’s Physical Therapy program in Stevens Point has won the Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes Excellence Award for the second year in a row. The first year it rated in the top 10 percent for positive patient outcomes; this year, it ranked in the top 7 percent.

“In general, 98 percent of our patients would recommend our physical therapy services to family and friends,” said Kaster. “This does not mean that everyone leaves our department at 100 percent, but they know that we have done the best for them that we could and they are as mobile, independent and as pain free as possible.”

To see if direct access is an option for you, please call 715.346.5190 in Stevens Point or 715.644.6181 in Stanley.

Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital and Victory Medical Group in Thorp welcome Vinay Sharma, MD.

Family Physician Vinay Sharma, MD, has joined Victory Medical Group’s Thorp Clinic and the medical staff of Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital. He began seeing patients in July 2011. Dr. Sharma and his wife, Pundeep Kahlon, MD, who joined the Thorp Clinic in July of last year, will have their clinic area in the lower level of the newly repaired and remodeled Thorp Clinic.

“In January, we experienced significant water damage when a pipe broke during the weekend and the lower level was flooded,” according to Cindy Lindgren, clinic manager. “The area has now been renovated and remodeled. Patients seeing Dr. Sharma or Dr. Kahlon will be able to use the lower entrance where they will have separate registration and waiting area to smooth the patient flow. Dr. Charles Wirtz, MD, and Peter Gintner, PA-C, will continue to see patients in the upper level using that entrance and registration area.”

Cynthia Eichman, president of Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital and Ministry Victory Medical Group says, “We’re putting the ‘family’ in family medicine in our Thorp Clinic as we welcome Dr. Kahlon’s husband, Dr. Sharma, to our team.”

Dr. Sharma is a family medicine physician who can take care of all of the health needs for you and your family through all stages of your life. Family doctors are trained in all areas of medicine and can diagnose and treat the full range of problems. Dr. Sharma will also be treating patients in the hospital along with the other medical staff members.

Dr. Sharma recently completed a family medicine residency with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He completed his earlier education in Canada, and then earned his medical degree from the Windsor University School of Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies. He is board certified in family medicine and is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics, and Neonatal Advanced Life Support.

He is licensed by the Wisconsin Board of Medical Practice and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, Wisconsin Medical Society, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Dr. Sharma and his wife Dr. Kahlon came to the United States from Canada to pursue their medical residency programs.

High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy Now Available at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital

Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital is pleased to announce a major step forward in cancer treatment for residents of central and northern Wisconsin. The hospital has recently introduced High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy to treat various forms of cancer where radiation therapy is prescribed. Ministry Saint Joseph’s is the only area hospital in Central Wisconsin that offers this treatment technique.

High Dose Rate Brachytherapy places the radioactive source in, or close to a cancerous region of concern. In most cases, HDR Brachytherapy can be completed in a shorter amount of time as compared to traditional radiation treatment, allowing patients to get back to their lives sooner, and with fewer side effects.

HDR Brachytherapy delivers treatment to the specific area where it is needed most. Radiation exposure to healthy tissue is minimized, which reduces the potential for side effects. The treatment is given on an outpatient basis and no hospital stay is required.

The cancer team at Ministry Saint Joseph’s is highly skilled and combines the highest level of services of Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital and the clinical skills of cancer specialists from Marshfield Clinic. HDR Brachytherapy is covered by most insurance plans and offers an option that has many potential benefits to patients.

The technology significantly reduces the treatment time, minimizes discomfort and potential side effects. With a significantly reduced time required for treatment, patients get back to their routines more quickly.

The breadth and depth of cancer-fighting technologies available at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital treat any type of cancer and are specifically tailored to meet the needs of each patient.

How does brachytherapy work?
Brachytherapy works by targeting the cancerous region tumor from inside the body, and the radiation is placed directly inside or next to the tumor. This reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissues and organs that are close to the tumor.

How is it different from other types of radiation treatments?
In external beam radiotherapy, the radiation is delivered from outside the body. It has to travel through healthy tissue to reach the tumor. In HDR Brachytherapy, this is avoided since the radiation is placed directly inside or next to the tumor.

How is the HDR treatment delivered to the patient?
Tiny radioactive seeds, the size of a grain of rice, are placed into the tumor or next to the region of concern and emit low levels of radiation to kill the cancer cells. After treatment, the radioactive source is removed. This is commonly used in prostate cancer.

Will it cause side effects?
People respond in different ways, and the types of side effects vary with the type of cancer being treated, location of the disease, stage of disease, and what other health conditions may be present. When discussing treatment options with your provider, she or he will explain potential side effects of your individualized treatment.

What types of cancers can HDR treat, as I heard it only treats breast cancer?
The HDR Brachytherapy available at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital can treat many types of cancers for both the male and female patient.

Will I need to stay in the hospital?
Treatment is typically done on an outpatient basis. If you are traveling from a distance, talk with your provider to learn more about Hope Lodge.

Where can I be treated?
Your consultative appointments, treatment, and follow up visits can all take place at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, where you will find comprehensive care, state-of-the-art specialties, services, and technology. A multi-specialty team approach between the experts from Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care will coordinate the best treatment options.

Early detection remains one of the most important elements in cancer prevention and treatment. In the beginning stages cancer often has no symptoms. It’s important to get regular screenings and check ups. Talk to your primary care provider and follow the guidelines for age appropriate screenings.

Direct Access Now Available

MOLVH’s Rehabilitation Department is pleased to make physical therapy services more accessible to our area community members. The hospital has initiated a new program called Direct Access.

With this new program, many patients will be able to schedule an appointment for physical therapy without first having to see their physician for a prescription or referral. Direct Access has been available in private outpatient clinics and with local chiropractors that can see musculoskeletal patients without a health care provider referral. This convenience is now available in the hospital setting.

“We understand from our patients that sometimes this added expense of a required physician visit can be a deterrent to getting the therapy they need,” according to Steve Seiberling, DPT, Rehab Director.

Seiberling notes that at this time, not all insurance companies have approved Direct Access. “Because Direct Access is not yet available for Medicare / Medicaid patients and some insurance companies, we suggest patients call us at 715 644-6181 to see if Direct Access is an option for them.”

Even though a physician order is not required for the visit, the patient’s information will still be sent to their primary care provider so that the provider has a record of the therapy and to ensure good continuity of care. Steve says, “Our department will evaluate each patient in order to deliver the appropriate level of care. Based on the patient’s needs we will talk directly to their primary care physician or make sure they get the information they need.”

People with questions about direct access can call the rehabilitation department at 715.644.6181.

Alzada Bourget provides physical therapist in Stanley

With this new added Direct Access program, Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital is also announcing the addition of a new physical therapist, Alzada Bourget, DPT. Alzada is originally from Cadott. She received both her doctorate in physical therapy and her undergraduate degree from Carroll University in Waukesha.

Alzada participated in internships, where she gained experience in a number of settings including acute care, inpatient, outpatient and skilled nursing facilities. She also worked with neurological rehabilitation and orthopedic patients. Steve Seiberling says, “Alzada was a talented and enthusiastic student here at OLVH and demonstrated her abilities and compassion for patients. We are confident she will provide our patients with excellent care and we are looking forward to working with her.”

About the rehabilitation department:

Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital’s rehabilitation department provides comprehensive rehabilitation services in a state-of-the-art facility. Services are available for patients of all ages and with a wide variety of diagnoses. Cardiac, occupational, physical, respiratory, and speech therapy services are available Monday through Friday by licensed and professional staff members who are proud to serve the rehabilitation needs of the surrounding region. For more information on available services, contact the rehabilitation department at 715.644.6181.

Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital in Stanley, Wisconsin was founded in 1919 through community donations. The hospital moved to a new building on Highway 29 in 2003. Services include: cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, diabetes management, diagnostic imaging, dialysis services, emergency care, inpatient services, surgery, palliative care, rehabilitation services, respiratory care, and urgent care. The hospital also operates primary care clinics in Stanley, Thorp and Owen. Ministry Our Lady of Victory is a member of Ministry Health Care, a Catholic Health Care organization that was founded by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother over 100 years ago in Wisconsin. For more information, call 715.644.5571 or visit our website at www.ministryhealth.org.

It’s flu season… Don’t forget!

Fast Facts about the flu

  • Name: Influenza A or B is an extremely contagious respiratory illness.
  • Type: The flu is a virus; antiviral medications may help; antibiotics will not cure the flu.
  • Symptoms: The flu can cause coughing, headache, chest discomfort, muscle aches and pains, fatigue and weakness.
  • Progression: The flu can lead to more life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia.

There’s still time to get your flu vaccination!

Contact your health care provider or visit ministryhealth.org to find a flu vaccination site near you.

For the most up-to-date information about the flu, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or visit ministryhealth.org.

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