The latest on COVID-19 vaccines (July 20, 2021)
- Grants Pass Clinic is giving COVID vaccines
- We now have all the vaccines we can handle, so we’re giving COVID vaccines to anyone age 12 or older.
- We are giving the Pfizer vaccine
- The 3 vaccines with emergency use authorization in the U.S. are made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being temporarily withheld from the market, we’re giving the Pfizer vaccine. It’s given as 2 shots 3 weeks apart.
- What’s the deal with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
- A very small number of patients (<10 out of nearly 7,000,000 vaccine recipients) developed a blood clotting disorder within 2 weeks of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, so the CDC took a ”pause” in using the vaccine until it could be better understood. This problem has not been reported with the more than 180,000,000 doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, so we’re still using those. Because of the way the vaccine is made, this complication is likely to be from only the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine, which hasn’t gotten U.S. approval.
- The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also being studied for a possible connection to Guillain-Barré syndrome. At this point, neither the Pfizer vaccine nor the Moderna vaccine are suspected to cause Guillain-Barré syndrome.
- Will the vaccine cause heart trouble?
- There have been rare cases of heart inflammation (myocarditis and pericarditis) after getting the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Cases are usually mild and occur most often in adolescent and young adult males age 16 and older. It is still recommended that all people age 12 and older get the vaccine, as the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the potential risks.
- How do I schedule a vaccine?
- Call us at 541-476-6644 and get transferred to the COVID vaccine hotline. We also take walk-ins, but an appointment works better.
- Where are the vaccines being given?
- Grants Pass Clinic, located at 495 SW Ramsey Avenue in Grants Pass.
- How much does it cost?
- Nothing is free, but the vaccine has already been purchased by the federal government and our costs are covered by the County so we aren’t charging for the vaccine or its administration. We won’t bill you or your insurance company anything.
- Can I get a $25 Visa Rewards card?
- Yes! Josephine County Public Health supplied us with gift cards to give to anyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine at Grants Pass Clinic. This offer is not retroactive.
- What about vaccine supply shortages?
- What we have is a demand shortage: not enough people are getting the vaccine. The disease has killed 1 out of every 50 county residents who have been diagnosed with COVID (62 deaths out of 3063 cases as of April 19), so getting the vaccine is clearly the smart thing to do. The vaccine is way easier than having even a mild case of the disease.
COVID-19 for Parents
I have talked to a lot of parents this week who are worried about their kids catching COVID-19.
Here’s the good news- COVID-19 seems to be a lot less severe of an infection in kids. Here’s the bad news- the infection in kids can look a lot like a typical cold. And kids with mild symptoms, and sometimes no symptoms, can still spread the illness. This is why closing the schools for now, social distancing, and trying to limit exposure to people outside of your own house is so important.
As parents it’s important to do our part by keeping our kids at home, encouraging them to wash their hands and participate in social distancing as much as possible. Out of all of those things, teaching kids how and when to wash their hands is probably the best thing we can do for them.
Here is a brief video which shows how (and for how long) we should be washing our hands.
As to when, with kids the answer would be “a lot”. Kids should be washing their hands before and after play, after coughs and sneezes and after touching their face.
Kids tend to have a lot of questions- “why is there no school?” “Why can’t I see Grandma and Grandpa?” “Why can’t I see my friends?” Knowing how to talk to our kids about what’s going on is not easy. It’s important to stay calm and hopeful, and to not overwhelm them with information.
This website has some good answers to many questions you might be hearing right now
For kids who are more interested in the “how” this article answers their questions about what the virus is and how it makes people sick
If your child becomes ill, please call us. We will be doing phone screening for kids who are sick before we schedule the appointment, so it might take a few extra minutes to get your child on the schedule, but we want to know how they are doing and how we can help. At Grants Pass Clinic we want to make sure that your kids are safe and healthy. We are scheduling well child checks, vaccines, and healthy kids in the morning and keeping the afternoons open for sick kids. It’s important to see kids for their check-ups and update their vaccines, even in the middle of this outbreak.
What? Dress in Blue Day lets allies everywhere join our mission to end colorectal cancer. By wearing blue you bring awareness to this disease—as well as honor all who are impacted by colorectal cancer.
When? Dress in Blue Day is Friday, March 6. All of March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Why? This year, more than 147,000 people will be diagnosed with this highly preventable disease. They will join more than 1.4 million colorectal cancer patients and survivors living today. We go blue for them, their families, and their community.
Anyone can get colorectal cancer (CRC). The lifetime risk for colorectal cancer is 5%, or one in 20. Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, as well as people of all ages, races, and ethnicities. It is one of the only truly preventable cancers thanks to screening.
In March 2014, American Cancer Society released data showing colon cancer incidence rates have dropped 30% in the U.S. in the last 10 years among adults ages 50 and older due to the widespread uptake of colonoscopy, with the largest decrease occurring in those ages 65 and older.
The likelihood of dying from colorectal cancer has been decreasing due to screening.
Over 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided with screening.
Over 90% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over age 50. As we age, we are more likely to grow colon polyps which may undergo gene changes that turn normal tissue into cancer.
Talk to your Doctor about appropriate screening (including colonoscopy) to decrease your risk. I am happy to meet you in the office or even at the facility to get your colonoscopy done. Call us at GP Clinic to set it up at your convenience.
What else you can do to decrease your risk:
Don’t smoke, and if you do, stop smoking
Increase your physical activity (get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week)
Maintain a healthy body weight
Avoid overall body fat, especially fat around your waist
Reduce how much red meat and processed meats you eat
Check out this great resource – https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/
Don’t forget to wear blue! – Andrew Pitzak D.O.
“My Doctor recently retired and I have been assigned to a new provider, but they are a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician Assistant. What does that mean, and what is an NP or a PA?” This is a common scenario that may have happened to you, and it may be a bit confusing.
Both “PAs” and “NPs” have become an integral part of the healthcare team and are providing needed access to care. This is especially true in the realm of primary care. Due to a number of factors, including less primary care physicians and more patients, there is a shortage of providers to deliver care to all the patients in need. This is where PAs and NPs have become integral to meet the ever increasing demand for healthcare.
What is the training of these providers? NPs and PAs obtain a Master’s Degree at an accredited school for Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants. Most students will have completed a Bachelor’s Degree prior to entering their program. The Master’s program is typically 2-3 years. In addition, prior medical experience is required to apply to a PA or NP program. In the case of NPs, they practice as a registered nurse prior to applying to a Nurse Practitioner program. For PAs they may have experience as a phlebotomist, medical scribe or any number of other healthcare related areas. As with traditional medical school, there are multiple science based undergraduate requirements to qualify for a PA or NP Master’s program. Many of the NP and PA programs are also associated with a medical school that includes training for traditional medical students. The programs for these future providers include both classroom training and internship training. The internship year of schooling entails spending time with both specialty and primary care providers to put the classroom knowledge to work in the real world of medicine. When the schooling is completed, both NPs and PAs must take a certification exam to test their medical knowledge. This certification exam is required before a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant can enter practice and treat patients.
I believe the most important part of any provider’s practice is to use the knowledge and experience you have gained to treat patients to the best of your ability. Sometimes, that means acknowledging that you may need the assistance of a more experienced provider or specialist to assist you in the care of a patient. As a Physician Assistant and primary care provider I am part of a healthcare team. By accessing the healthcare team, I use the advantage of combining my own knowledge and experience with other providers. This includes my colleagues, and specialists. By doing so, the goal is always to create the best possible outcome for the patient. When you come to the Grants Pass Clinic, no matter which provider you see, you will have a team of well qualified individuals caring for you.
By: Ben Moss PA-C
Proud Member of the Healthcare Team at Grants Pass Clinic
There is quite compelling evidence that we all should be getting some regular exercise, even those that are late bloomers. Click here to read an article about this very subject. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2727269?
This is something I myself spend a great deal of time counseling patients about, but also counseling myself about. I too have always had a hard time sticking with it!
When it comes to what kind of exercise and how much, it seems pretty clear there is not a ‘one- size fits all’ answer. In my experience, people who’ve mastered the art of consistent exercise have one thing in common; most of them seem to get joy and satisfaction out of it.
The variety of exercise that patients are able to stick with is very interesting. Swimming, walking, softball, rock climbing, bicycling, square dancing, weight lifting, soccer, mountain biking, hiking, surfing, gardening, paddle boarding, kayaking, Aikido, Tai Chi, Zumba. And I know this is just the tip of the ice berg!
I am currently running and walking consistently, with fairly regular gardening and light weightlifting. I find that I enjoy running with other people, so I am trying to make that happen more regularly. Click here https://www.meetup.com/SOREnthusiasts/ to find out about Southern Oregon Running Enthusiasts on MeetUp. In the past, I have also enjoyed bicycling and swimming, but seemed to be pretty inconsistent with those activities. I enjoyed soccer for a number of years. I hung up my cleats after breaking a wrist and a finger—yeah, in game in which you aren’t supposed to use your hands! My wife and I have tried dancing lessons a couple of times, but it was tough with our four left feet.
So I really encourage patients to get out there and shop around. What sounds fun? What are your friends doing? What is cheap? What is nearby? Mix it up and look for the activity that you enjoy and isn’t a chore.
“When your (forests) on fire / You must realize / Smoke gets in your eyes” *
Fire and smoke season is upon us again, with orangey skies in the morning and red sunsets at night. I’m frequently asked what people should do about the smoke. The answer, unfortunately, is that the only effective thing you can do is get away from it. That means staying inside in air conditioning when possible, with the windows closed. If you must be outside, especially working, try to do it in early in the day when the smoke is less severe. The people most at risk are those who have lung problems such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis, and anyone who is on oxygen. People with poorly controlled heart failure should be more careful, too. Children are also at higher risk because their lungs and airways aren’t fully developed yet and they breathe a lot more air relative to their size than grownups do.
Masks? The little blue paper “dust” masks you commonly see are useless for smoke. They are good for keeping large particles, such as sawdust, out of your airways, but they do not block the tiny particles which make up the harmful smoke. A heavier mask labelled “N-95” or “N-100” will help. These masks have two straps for above and below your ears and fit snugly over your nose and mouth. Please adjust your mask before helping others. They may be hard to breathe through, especially for people with breathing problems, but they work.
Heavy smoke causes dry, scratchy eyes and throats. The answer is drinking lots of water to keep your throat wet and using moisturizing drops as needed for your eyes.
How bad is the smoke? The current air quality index (AQI) can be found at airnow.gov, where you can search by Zip Code to find the local conditions. The AQI is reported in the Daily Courier and on the TV weather as well. If the number is above 150 the air is considered unhealthy, above 200 is pretty bad. As I write this at noon on Friday, July 26th, the AQI is 153 and predicted to peak at 180 today. By comparison, our AQI in Grants Pass is usually in the single digits. Beijing often hits 500.
In summary, if the smoke is bothering you, get into clean air, just like moving to the other side of the campfire. If you can get away, the coast is always nice. And of course, don’t make it worse by smoking cigarettes. They’re way worse than any forest fire smoke.
by Spencer Countiss, MD
* Quote adapted from “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” by The Platters, with my apologies.
Why I Chose Grants Pass Clinic
For the past 3 years I have served the community of Grants Pass. I do have to say that I have fallen in love with my profession all over again since joining this excellent clinic. Let me tell you a little about my experience.
My wife and I first came to Grants Pass in the summer of 2015. Undoubtedly, the scenery is breathtaking; however, we were amazed with the friendliness of the people we interacted with. We knew this would be the place for us to settle and raise our family.
Ever since we moved here, I have been drawn to Grants Pass Clinic. Their reputation is immaculate. They are known for their camaraderie, wealth of medical knowledge, how well they treat their patients and how long they have served our community.
When I interviewed, I was amazed with the kindness and professionalism of Grants Pass Clinic. One thing that stood out was that many of the providers and staff have worked here for a long time. When a doctor has worked in one location for 20-30 years and retires at the same location, it is a good sign. Even some of the retired physicians came to greet my family and me during the interview process. This is something I have never experienced before and all of the providers made me feel instantly at home.
The providers here are very happy and willing to help. All of us practice with the purpose of doing the right thing for our patients. It is not a place focused on money, rather on the success and general well-being of our patients; the way it should be. We share the same goal of genuinely caring about our patients’ health and happiness. Our roots, as well as our patients, are planted and invested in this fine community.
The best decision I made was to move to Grants Pass. The second best decision I made was to join Grants Pass Clinic.
After being a patient in the hospital as a teenager, I knew I wanted to become a nurse to help people the way the nurses had helped me. I started this process as a Certified Nurse’s Aide while in high school. This gave me the foundation I needed to enter nursing school. After becoming an RN, I began working in the hospital setting. While I absolutely love the pace and intensity of the hospital environment, I didn’t feel that I was doing all I could to help my patients. I would see people at a low point in their lives, but never knew what happened with them when they went home. Becoming a Nurse Practitioner was the natural next step for me in my medical career. It allows me to really get to know my patients both in illness and in health. I love that I can form these relationships and help guide people to their best health possible.
What is a Nurse Practitioner? Nurse practitioners (NP’s) are Advance Practice Registered Nurses who are licensed, autonomous clinicians who focus on managing people’s health conditions and preventing disease. This is sometimes confused with an RN (Registered Nurse). While an RN cannot prescribe medication or diagnose conditions, an NP is licensed to do so. Many Nurse Practitioners have experience working as a nurse in the clinical setting in addition to their years of formal education and advanced degree. This is typically a Master’s Degree of Science in Nursing (MSN), but doctoral programs (DNP) are becoming more common throughout the United States. Nurse Practitioners are certified by national bodies and licensed by their state board of nursing. This helps to ensure that NPs are equipped to provide high quality healthcare.
As of March 2018, there were approximately 248,000 Nurse Practitioners in the US. A little over 55% of these are Family Nurse Practitioners. This is especially important in providing access to the increasing patient population and provider shortages. “Provider shortages, especially in primary care, have become a growing concern, but the growth of the NP profession is addressing that concern head-on,” said AANP President Joyce Knestrick, PhD. “Couple that with news that NPs conducted an estimated 1.02 billion patient visits last year alone, and it’s easy to see why millions of Americans are making NPs their providers of choice.”
Primary care Nurse Practitioners are especially skilled at treating the health and well-being of the whole person. By focusing on patient education, health and wellness education, and disease prevention NPs are able to offer guidance in health and lifestyle choices. This leads to fewer ER visits, fewer hospitalization re admissions, and higher patient satisfaction.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month! The dark blue ribbon has not yet reached the prominence of the pink ribbons we see every October for breast cancer, but its message is the same – dispel the myths and raise awareness of a deadly disease.
Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men AND women. Research shows that more and more cases are being found in younger and younger people. Much can be done to prevent and treat this cancer through proper screening and early detection. Most cancers start out as small polyps. Colonoscopy is one of the only ways we can actually prevent a cancer from developing by removing these growths before they become malignant. Most other colon cancer tests are aimed at detecting already growing tumors.
An excellent bowel prep and a thorough and skilled examination are essential in getting the best results from your colonoscopy. Experience matters. Talk with your provider about who, how, where and when you should have this done. Here are some important quality indicators for endoscopic:
Adenoma Detection Rate (ADR) – Describes percentage of patients in whom adenomatous polyps (precancerous) are identified and removed. Higher percentage is better cancer prevention.
Cecal Intubation Rate – Shows provider skills in examining the whole colon.
Withdrawl Time – You want the provider doing a thorough exam. Increased time has been repeatedly associated with increased ADR, thus reducing a patient’s risk of cancer.
Post-Polypectomy Bleed Rate – Most common complication after colonoscopy. May be delayed hours to up to 14 days.
Please check out some links I have included to learn more about inherited risks, when to screen, and how often. Also a humerous tale by Dave Barry (although we have made some significant improvements to the prep he used). It’s really not all that bad.
It’s About the People
In the busy world of healthcare we often times feel the healthcare we receive is more about the mighty dollar and less about the individual patient. When I first came to interview at Grants Pass Clinic I noticed a difference in the environment of the clinic. All of the providers I met were genuinely invested in the best interest of patients. I also noticed that many of the employees had been with the clinic for greater than 10 years, from the providers down to the office staff. Having worked as a provider for nearly 15 years and in multiple clinics, this said something about the environment in the Grants Pass Clinic. Satisfied employees serve patients better. I have met many patients who have been with the clinic for many years because in their own words, it is the people at Grants Pass Clinic. I have now worked here as a provider for 3 years and come to work excited, because at Grants Pass Clinic “it’s about the people”, patients and employees alike.