Plentywood Clinic PC

 

 
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Breast Cancer . . .

Are You At Risk?

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                reast Cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in American women.  The risk of breast cancer increases as women get older.  No one knows why some women develop breast cancer and others do not.  Over the years, researchers have identified certain characteristics, usually called “risk factors,” that influence a woman’s chance of getting the disease.  Still, many women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors other than growing older, and many women with known risk factors do not get breast cancer.

 

In the fall of 1998, the results of a large study that looked at the feasibility of preventing breast cancer was released.  This study demonstrated that if a woman is at high risk of developing breast cancer, it is possible to reduce the chance of getting breast cancer by 50%, by the use of a medication called Tamoxifen for five years.  The most powerful predictors of breast cancer risk are a first-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer and a personal history of a previous biopsy that showed abnormal non-cancerous cells.

 

We, at the Plentywood Clinic, now have available, the parameters that were used to enroll women in the study and calculate their overall risk of developing breast cancer.  Should you desire to have a FREE risk calculation, our nursing & medical assistant staff are more than happy to do this.  A number of issues come up when deciding to have your risk calculated. If your risk of breast cancer is above the recommended cutoff point then treatment with tamoxifen for five years is an option you may decide to take.  This treatment is not without it’s own substantial cost--financial, emotional and medical.  The medical costs include an increased risk of cancer of the uterus (none of it fatal in the study), blood clots, strokes and hot flashes.  The financial cost is $1200 per year for five years and most likely will not be covered by insurance although companies may differ in this.  The medication is stopped after five years and it’s benefit continues for at least 10 years and probably more.

 

This is just the beginning of a new era in medicine in which tools are being developed to predict disease risk and therefore allow earlier interventions to ameliorate the diseases effects.

 

 

Upcoming

Billing Changes . . .

 

Just as the practice of medicine has become more complex over the past 15 years, the business of medicine has also changed.  The days of simplicity in billing and filing insurance claims are long over.  We at the Plentywood Clinic have resisted the flow as long as possible, but the tidal wave is now visible on the horizon.  We deal with over 50 insurance companies, all of whom have different deductibles, co-pays, service charges, etc. In addition there are over 10,000 diagnosis codes and procedure codes, many of which change from year to year.  This all makes the fair and equitable aspect of the “business” of medicine an increasingly difficult commodity to judge.  There are going to be some significant changes in how this aspect of our practice operates.  We will continue to submit the first two insurance claims for our patients free of charge, but will charge $8.00 for each claim over two.

 

We will have to begin adding interest charges for all accounts not paid after 120 days from the date of service.  This allows four months for your insurance to process and act on your claim.  We encourage you to keep up-to-date with what your insurance company is doing during this four months.

 

Because of the complexities of the various insurance policies, you may well find that the same services offered by this office have different charges.  Indeed, the same insurance company will have many different policies that results in many different charges for the same procedure.  Common sense is not a requirement of these policies.  I have never felt that medical services should be withheld from those who are unable to pay (unwilling to pay is another story).  Should  your financial situation be such that this is a concern for your, please talk with Nancy Lasar, my office manager, or myself to see what can be worked out. 

 

Nowadays, there is often a wide gulf between what needs to be done and what can be done.  You also have to be aware of what your insurance will cover.  The time to talk about these things is before the bill becomes unmanageable.  There well may be alternatives that have not been looked at.

 

 


New Policy . . . We ask that you please bring in your Insurance Card to EVERY visit.  We are having trouble with some patients switching Insurance Companies and not letting us know when we send claims in.  Also other Insurance Companies themselves are changing names, addresses, etc.  Thank You for your cooperation.

 

 


Good Luck!! Marci Butcher, our Dietitian/Certified Diabetic Educator (CDE) will be leaving.  Her husband Jason Butcher has taken a position at Fairfield High School.  Marci has been a very helpful part of setting up our diabetic education program.

 

In the near future, we will be hiring another dietitian and CDE.  However, our diabetic program is still up & running.  Appointments can be made during office hours.  Diabetic Clinics are on alternating Wednesdays & Fridays.

 

Dr. Stoner, Nancy Lasar, RN and Lisa Fawcett, RN have just returned from the American Diabetic Association Conference in Great Falls.  The Plentywood Clinic was praised for having done an outstanding job of diabetic patient education.  This was documented by a dramatic improvement in patient hemoglobin A1C lab values.  We are very excited about this and are looking forward to seeing continual improvements in our diabetic patients.

 

If you have any questions about the Diabetic Education Program, please call Nancy Lasar, RN, Monday - Friday at the Clinic.

 

All doctor visits are by appointment only.  The following is a schedule for the Plentywood Clinic.

 

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DR. KIRK STONER            MONDAY

                                                TUESDAY

                                                WEDNESDAY

                                                THURSDAY  AM  ONLY

                                                FRIDAY

                                                SAT  9 - 11 (WALK-INS)

A. SKORPIL, PAC              MONDAY

                                                TUESDAY

                                                THURSDAY

To make an appointment with either Dr. Stoner or Mrs. Skorpil, you need to call the Plentywood Clinic at 406-765-1501

Emergency room protocol dictates that unless you specifically request the services of your own family physician, you may be assigned to the ER doctor on call.  If you have any questions, please call the Plentywood Clinic at 406-765-1501.

 

Don’t Forget Your Insurance Card(s).