Newsletter April 2021

Client Spotlight – Teresa Hannah (Hip Replacement Client)

COVID-19 has consumed our lives for the past year.  Every news outlet is reporting something on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times.  The one thing that has not changed is that life must go on.  We still need to take care of ourselves the best we can.  For one individual, this meant taking care of her health.  Teresa Hannah contacted us last year during the early summer, right in the height of everything, to inquire about a private hip replacement.  This newsletter is to spotlight her journey, albeit during a pandemic.

Teresa had been experiencing hip issues as far back as 1998.  She is an extremely active person who has run marathons, does long hikes, biking, swimming, as well as yoga.  After her initial hip pain, she continued to do hikes that were close to marathon length with no problems until 2016 when her right hip started to bother her.  By July 2019, her left hip became the one giving her the most trouble and she could no longer complete the 12-15 mile hikes.

She began the process of treating the pain with physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, foot orthodontics, various dietary supplements, hydraulic acid injections and a hip unloaded brace. The pain became so severe that she had to increase the Tylenol, Ibuprofen and Aleve over time.

 After numerous tests to rule out more serious issues, it was confirmed she had osteoarthritis and needed a hip replacement. 

On top of not being able to continue her active lifestyle while in pain, she was also planning a move from Alberta to Nova Scotia.  The wait list for a hip replacement in Alberta was going to be a minimum of 1 year wait.  The wait time in Nova Scotia was even lengthier with a minimum 3 year wait time.

She continued to deal with the pain until November of 2019 when it became completely debilitating.  She was having trouble getting up and down stairs and at times, she was unable to even walk 2 blocks.  Maneuvering in the kitchen or being on her feet for more than 15 minutes was uncomfortable.  It also became uncomfortable sitting at her desk and at worst, sitting on the couch, floor or lying in bed.  The only relief was to utilize a yoga ball to sit on.  

Given the wait times, her husband’s age, and her desire to enjoy the precious years, led her to the decision to seek out private surgery.  She came across our company on the internet and gave us a call.

We told her about a wonderful facility in New Hampshire that we work with and would be drivable from Nova Scotia.  After doing her own research on the surgeon, she decided to go for it.  We started making the plans and coordinating all necessary things to get her surgery.

The surgery was done Oct 30th and it went amazingly.  She was up and walking within 2 hours after the surgery, (see attached video) and was released to driving back home within 5 days, although, she and her husband decided to stay a couple more days.  We made arrangements for her to have physiotherapy done virtually, until her 14 day quarantine was completed, at a local facility near her new home in Nova Scotia.  She was very happy with the therapist and received great care.  

Teresa stayed with her physical therapy longer than normal due to her goals of hiking 10-26 miles in a day and running again.  As of March 2020, she has been up to walking 2 hours and 40 minutes.  Her goal is to be walking for 3 hours at a time and hiking 15-20 miles on an ambitious day!

When asked if she had any advice for anyone else in need of a hip replacement she said to consider what state of life you are in and the precociousness of your mobility.   She was concerned about getting it too soon and having to get another one in her 70’s.  Now that she has the new hip and new lease on life, there is no doubt in her mind she made the right decision.  The way she sees it is that ‘she could have gotten a new car or a new hip.  Her new hip is 100 times more precious than a new car.  That said, it is deeply disappointing that the Canadian health care system has allowed joint replacements to be so low on the totem pole. Especially for relatively young and active people who could get back to productive work and more enjoyable lives in general more quickly if the wait list was shorter.  There are many good things about the Canadian health care system, but this is one where there is huge room for improvement.’  When asked if she would do it again, she said yes.  

Teresa was such an amazing client to work with. we are so pleased she had a great outcome and positive experience and is nearing her long-term goals.  She has indicated she is willing to speak to anyone who is considering a private hip replacement at any time.  If you have questions, please give us a call so we can answer them for you or connect you to Teresa to get first hand experience.

Also read below some notes from her journal on her recovery process the first few weeks after her surgery!

 

Recovery Journal Written By Teresa Hannah (Hip Replacement Client), Oct. 2020

In last week’s blog, we spotlighted one of our recent client’s, Teresa, who had a hip replacement done in the US.  She took extra care in her recovery process and even journaled some of her post surgery progress.  Although every individual is different, we thought it would be  great to show her documented journey as a possible expectation of how you might recover.  Keep in mind, Teresa was in incredible shape and did a lot of athletic exercise in the way of hiking, yoga and biking.  Teresa’s surgery took place on October 30, 2020.

Nov 24 – Was first day I got on stationary bike at PT.   Did it for 10 minutes on level 24 and more like 20 minutes on level 26.  (This was just 3 1/2 weeks post surgery!)

Nov 25 (Wed am) – I am sleeping better.   I am mostly down to the 2 daily aspirin for blood thinning and one type of pain killer in the AM – either two Ibuprofen or two Tylenol. (No narcotics!). Still very stiff and tricky to put weigh on my hip when I first get out of bed in AM.  Once I move around it gets better.  Increasing the number of 15 minute walks, and focusing on form, on resuming a graceful gait.  I no longer feel like I am holding my breath to manage the pain when I walk.  Range of motion almost in normal range in terms of PT – internal rotation to right is still not quite there.Scar healing well.  Steri strips off on Sunday.  Can do modest clam shells, a physical therapy exercise, again- yay!  Still using my stick in house, but can tell that discomfort when putting full weight on left leg is subsiding.  Still moving slowly around house, especially when I first get up after sitting.

Nov 26 – Did a 30 minute walk, and another 15 minute walk later in day.  Did bike for about 15-20 minutes.  Up and about in town doing errands for about an hour.    Then dinner, cleanup, and prep that evening took probably a good 30 minutes.  Today, as I go through my daily motions, I shall approach it ALL with a mindset of Thanksgiving.  (Teresa holds citizenship in Canada and the US)  A mindset of how positive all the movement is.  How nicely the healing is progressing.  I can spend a little time lying in bed on my left side with a pillow helping to prop my knees off the bed.  I can do girl push ups without having my bum way up in the air.

Nov 27 – Was first day that I reduced the drug intake to one tablet of either 500 mg Tylenol or 200 mg Ibprophen each day.   One 30 minute walk, and one 15 minute walk.

Nov 28 – Pain at 3.5-4 in AM.  Realized I needed to skip walking today.   Did bike for 2-15 minute stretches.   Shopped on feet for an hour.   Did PT exercises, puttered decorating the house.  That was it.

Nov 29 – 3-25 minute walks spread through-out the day.   Felt pretty decent.  Pain about 1.5 in AM.  Higher than that by end of day.  Somewhere around here my body really wanted me to start doing modified sun salutations which I did.

Nov 30 – Chris (Physiotherapist) approved of my modified sun salutations and was fine with me doing a full plank on way down, but my body let me know I needed to lower myself all the way to floor and then push up from that position and not staying in a plank.  Ever since Nov 26 (one week ago), I have mostly reduced my drug intake to either 200 MG of Ibprophen or 500 MG of Tylenol.  Generally take it in the morning.  Some mornings the discomfort (after being out of bed for 5-10 minutes) is a 1.5.   Other mornings it is a 4 (out of 10).

 

This morning, after having 2 half-hour (or at least 25 minute) GOOD walks yesterday, where I was barely putting weight on the sticks and was moving at a mostly normal pace, and a 20 minute stationery bike ride (where I actually worked up a sweat, despite the low resistance of Gear 2 on right and one on left), and after having done more reps of the PT exercises, I notice my lower back is very tired and a bit painful.  Like those muscles are working overtime.  This morning, pain back up to 3.5-4 in AM.  See how it goes each day.  I find myself moving around the house on some days (not all yet by any stretch), with relative alacrity (not like my self from 2 years ago, but heading in the right direction).  I can stand with reasonable comfort for longer periods, like last night in kitchen – after 20 or so minutes of cleaning up, still felt comfortable.  Observed to husband that I am on fewer painkillers now than in summer.  And we both observed that I am way better than last winter when I was so tangled up.

Dec 3 (Thursday AM) – Moving around the house with no hiking stick for the most part, other than when I get up in the middle of the night.  Still use it sometimes to steady myself.  Painful and stiff when I first try to get moving out of bed or if have I been sitting for a long time.

 

Watch Video of Teresa moving around 2 hours after surgery!

 

Teresa Video

5 Questions People Are Asking About Surgery During COVID-19

5 Questions People Are Asking About Surgery During COVID-19

COVID-19 has really affected all of us in the past year.  Life goes on and we still need to take care our health.  Our health care providers have worked extra hard this year to keep us all safe and healthy.  That includes in the operating room.  Many have wondered if it’s safe to even have surgery.  The answer is yes.  It is probably even safer with the added precautions being done to protect everyone involved from any kind of contamination.  Here are 5 other questions you might also be wondering about:

Will I need a COVID-19 test before I go into surgery?

All hospitals and outpatient surgery centers have their own rules, however, most likely, you will need one.  If it is something emergent, and you do test positive or they can’t get your results back quick enough, then the heath care workers take extra precautions and proceed with the surgery.  If it is something non-urgent, they recommend you have a negative PCR test prior to having your surgery.

Is my surgery going to be delayed due to COVID-19?

Unfortunately, yes, in most cases.  Canada already experiences long surgery delays and COVID-19 has created a bigger back log.  Last year, many elective surgeries were cancelled to free up beds for COVID-19 patients.  Those surgeries were still needed so obviously, they have to be rescheduled taking up spots for new people requiring surgery.

Will having COVID-19 or having had the vaccine interfere with anesthesia?

There is not any evidence indicating COVID-19 or being vaccinated for the virus interferes with anesthesia.  Having surgery does put stress on your body and can temporarily weaken your immune system.  Most experts have been recommending you wait until you are fully recovered from the virus, if you recently had it, or you have been fully immunized before proceeding with your surgery.

I have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 yet.  Should I wait until I am?

It has been recommended that all eligible persons should get the COVID-19 vaccine.  If you are currently eligible to have the vaccine, and you are having a non-urgent surgery, it is recommended that you get the it prior to your surgery.  If you are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, find out from your surgeon what their protocol is for this.

I have just been vaccinated for COVID-19.  Is it still safe to have surgery?

Yes, according to experts, if it is something non-urgent.  They recommend your surgery be scheduled at least 2 weeks after your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccination so you are fully protected.

Health Vantis

info@healthvantis.com

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

Decrease in Prescription Medications – COVID-19

A recent study showed that there could be more than 100,000 Canadians walking around with undiagnosed chronic diseases, possibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Prescription Drug Trend Report indicates that there was a significant drop in claims for drugs used to treat serious conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure or diabetes.

“This trend is a cause for concern,” said Dr. Dorian Lo, president of Express Scripts Canada which compiled the report. “Delays in diagnosis and treatment increase the challenge for patients to manage their disease. For most conditions, seeking care in the earlier stages likely improves health outcomes and it helps decrease the risk of disease progression and related consequences.”  Not only can a delay in diagnosis lead to more severe health outcomes, it can also become at a higher cost to treat them in the long-term.

The decrease in medications is believed to be due to the stay-at-home orders.  Many people were not comfortable leaving their home to seek treatment for new onset ailments for fear of catching COVID-19 in the healthcare settings.

From the end of March 2020 through December 2020, cancer medications saw a 2% decrease in weekly new claims.  That could mean approximately 10,000 Canadians did not start cancer treatments when they should have.  These delays in medications and/or surgeries could result in people having more advanced cancers with fewer options available to them.

During this same time frame, an average of 1% decline for diabetes medication was seen.  This could mean approximately 200,000 Canadians are not being treated for this disease.  The same goes for high blood pressure, which could increase the risk of stroke or heart attack.

As the vaccine becomes more and more available, we suspect people’s confidence in seeking medical care will rebound.  Keep in mind, the hospitals and doctors offices have taken great care and attention to keeping everyone safe should they need to seek care.  

Health Vantis

info@healthvantis.com

877-344-3544

www.healthvantis.ca

Private Surgery and When to Consider It

Canadian healthcare works well if there are no waitlists. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many people. Covid-19 pandemic is creating even longer medical lines.

How Long Is Too Long?

Waiting for medical treatment has consequences. What the Canadian medical system thinks is an acceptable wait is not be acceptable to many Canadians. Those that live in pain can suffer from mental anguish and their condition can deteriorate leading to more complications.

In addition, every day that people live in pain is not exactly a great day. So if you have been waiting for a while, and think that you are no longer willing to wait, consider your private options. At the very least find out what they are so you can decide.

Are You Able to Travel?

Another thing to consider when thinking about going the private route is that in the majority of the cases one has to travel outside their local area to get private care. We work with medical facilities in the US and Canada. Many Canadians do not want to go to the US just yet. It’s understandable. Unfortunately, only a handful of private clinics exist in Canada.

Do Your Research!

If you are willing to travel and are considering private options, we suggest doing thorough research on the place and doctor you are going to see. How many procedures are done at the facility? What are the outcomes? Infection rates? How many of the procedures you are seeking a doctor does a month?

Also, consider the distances you will go. Flights over 4h carry higher risks of DVTs.

If you are busy or do not feel well to do your research, hire a reputable medical facilitator to guide you through the process and make all the arrangements for you. You should also ask the facilitator how they get paid. The answer will provide you with a little bit of info into the integrity of the facilitation business. Look for those that are open to disclose how they get paid.

If you have any questions or would like to know your private options, please give us a call at toll-free 877 344 4544.

Is It Safe to Delay Hip Replacement Surgery?

If you are experiencing hip pain due to osteoarthritis, you may be wondering when it is time to consider surgery and if it is safe for you to delay surgical interventions. As we age, arthritis progresses, and the pain can become severe.

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most successful surgeries done today. Does that mean you should get one as soon as you feel pain in your hip? Not quite, say the experts. In many cases osteoarthritis pain can be managed with physiotherapy, a weight loss regimen, modifying your activities and taking anti-inflammatory over the counter medications. These conservative approaches may work for some time.

However, if your pain is so severe that you are experiencing it while resting, its time to talk to an orthopedic surgeon. Arthritis of the joint can not only cause pain in the hip but also in the knee, groin, lower back and buttocks. If the pain and inflammation begin affecting your ability to do daily activities and you are no longer able to take shorter walks, get dressed or put shoes on without debilitating pain, you may want to seek a hip replacement surgery.

Waiting too long has consequences. The surgery can be less effective because due to all the limited mobility and activity, your overall health can worsen. People that are going into surgery healthier tend to have better outcomes. Badly deteriorated joints can make surgery more difficult to perform, requiring special skill and additional physiotherapy afterwards.

Most hip replacement implants last 10 to 20 years. For many people, that means that if they got their hip replacement in their early 60-ies, it would last them for the rest of their lives. The concerns of having a revision surgery somewhere down the road should be discussed with your orthopedic surgeon. Surgeons and patients should work together to ensure the best outcome.

If you are placed on a long waiting list for surgery and are unable to see an orthopedic specialist in the public system, we can help connect you to a private option for your total hip replacement. We can get your X-ray reviewed by an orthopedic surgeon in a private, no wait manner.  Give us a call toll-free 877 344 3544 and find out your private total hip replacement options in the US and Canada.

Is It Safe to Delay Private Knee Replacement?

Arthritis can damage our joints as we age. In some cases, the pain is so severe that one has to get a total knee replacement. This joint replacement surgery corrects the worn our knee surfaces and the mechanics in knee movement. The ideal result is a pain-free, stable and aligned joint.

Delaying total knee replacement can have negative effects on postoperative outcomes and recovery. Arthritis is a progressive disease and damages knee joints over time. The more damage occurs the more your body will need to adapt to a new “damaged” condition of your knee. Sometimes these adaptations create deformities of the knee joint and stretch out the ligaments of the knee. As a result, the movements of your limbs become irregular, muscles and bones get weaker and there is more pressure put on other parts of your body such as the ankle, hip and spine.

On the other hand, having a total knee replacement too early can result in revision surgery somewhere down the road. Studies show that the younger you are at the time of total knee replacement the more likely it is that you will need revision surgery. Revision surgeries are complex, require specialized skill and the outcomes are rarely as good as the initial surgery.

The decision to delay your total knee replacement is a personal one and should be discussed with your orthopedic surgeon in detail. In some instances, it is safe to delay the surgery and manage arthritis pain conservatively. Losing weight is among one of those measures. It can relieve the stress your body has on your knee joint. A study done with overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis found that losing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. Yet another study showed that losing 10–20 percent of starting body weight improved pain, function, and quality of life better than losing just five percent of body weight.

However, if your pain is long-lasting, is present when you are resting and is interfering with your day to day activities, it is time to talk to a doctor about possible surgery. Surgeons and patients should work together to ensure the best outcome.

If you are placed on a long waiting list and are unable to see an orthopedic specialist in the public system, we can help connect you to a private option for your total knee replacement. We can get your X-ray reviewed by an orthopedic surgeon in a private, no wait manner. Give us a call toll-free 877 344 3544 and find out your private total knee replacement options in the US and Canada.

Knee Replacement Improvements

The expertise for knee replacements have improved leaps and bounds over the years.  What used to require a 4-5 day hospital stay is a thing of the past. Knee replacements can now be done on an out patient basis.  They have you up and walking within hours of your surgery.

The surgery centers we work with are able to do newer techniques which provide huge benefits.  There are virtually zero complications.  Getting you up and moving so quickly helps keep the circulation moving which creates less potential for a blood clot.
The facilities are spotless.  Their cleaning protocols have resulted in less than a 1% chance of getting a surgery related infection. The incisions are much smaller which also creates less chance for infection at the wound site.
Opioids used to be routinely given to patients dealing with knee pain.  They have gotten a lot stricter on who and how much they prescribe due to addiction concerns.  Any surgery is painful and you almost always need some sort of pain medication post op to handle the pain.  One of our facilities in particular has created a program that begins prior to surgery to reduce the need for opioids.   A high percentage of their patients do not even need opioids post op.  Avoiding opioids not only prevents an addiction, it also provides less chance for side effects such as dizziness, nausea or constipation.
Other countries such as India may be able to offer a lower cost for a knee replacement.  Buyer beware, you sometimes get what you pay for.  Not only is it a significant flight and travel time which can increase your chances of a blood clot and uncomfortableness in sitting still for hours, many of these facilities can not provide the same benefits that they can in the US and Canada.
If you are considering a private knee replacement, contact Health Vantis to find out your options. We have several reasonably priced facilities that can do a safe, affordable and state of the art surgery.
Health Vantis
877-344-3544
info@healthvantis.com

Hip Replacement Improvements

The expertise for hip replacements have improved leaps and bounds over the years.  What used to require a 4-5 day hospital stay is a thing of the past. Hip replacements can now be done on an out patient basis.  They have you up and walking within hours of your surgery.

The surgery centers we work with are able to do newer techniques which provide huge benefits.  There are virtually zero complications.  Getting you up and moving so quickly helps keep the circulation moving which creates less potential for a blood clot.
The facilities are spotless.  Their cleaning protocols have resulted in less than a 1% chance of getting a surgery related infection. The incisions are much smaller which also creates less chance for infection at the wound site.
Opioids used to be routinely given to patients dealing with hip pain.  They have gotten a lot stricter on who and how much they prescribe due to addiction concerns.  Any surgery is painful and you almost always need some sort of pain medication post op to handle the pain.  One of our facilities in particular has created a program that begins prior to surgery to reduce the need for opioids.   A high percentage of their patients do not even need them post op.  Avoiding opioids not only prevents an addiction, it also provides less chance for side effects such as dizziness, nausea or constipation.
Other countries such as India may be able to offer a lower cost for a hip replacement.  Buyer beware: You sometimes get what you pay for.  Not only is it a significant flight and travel time which can increase your chances of a blood clot and uncomfortableness in sitting still for hours, many of these facilities can not provide the same benefits that they can in the US and Canada.
If you are considering a private hip replacement, contact Health Vantis to find out your options. We have several reasonably priced facilities that offer a safe, affordable and state of the art surgery.
Health Vantis
877-344-3544
info@healthvantis.com

Do Hospitals Pay Medical Facilitators in the US and Canada? Truth or Deception?

Do Hospitals Pay Medical Facilitators in the US and Canada?

We have done related blogs on how a medical facilitator gets paid but would like to focus this blog specifically on ‘the hospital paying the medical facilitator’ business model.

For starters, Health Vantis does not utilize this type of business model.  We operate on a transparent basis.  We have never, and will never, request any kind of compensation from a hospital or facility for bringing them a patient.  Not only is it illegal in Canada and the US under federal anti-kickback statutes, it is unethical and not in the patients best interest.  We refer people to the facility we feel best meets their needs and not for financial gain from them.  If the patient wishes to hire Health Vantis, they pay us for our services and pay the hospital/facility directly for their services.

Truth or Deception?

You might be surprised to know that there are some medical facilitation companies, and actual private facilities within Canada, that allow for such an arrangement in a round about way.  The stance is that it costs you nothing to hire the medical facilitator.  The hospital/facility pays them.  If that were the case, then that facility would be shut down.  What is happening is you are being charged a price to have your surgery and/or procedure, but the facilitators fee is built into that.  It is an arrangement the facility has with the facilitator.  The hospital in return gives the facilitator their fee.  This is all done without the patients knowledge, which is shady and unethical at best.  Technically, the facility is not ‘paying’ the medical facilitator for brining them a patient, but only acting as middle man.  The problem with this is that the patient doesn’t realize they might be paying an inflated cost of more than 15-25% higher than the actual cost of the surgery.

The Federal Anti-Kickback Statute is an intent-based statute. To learn more about it, Read more about it here.

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

New COVID Travel Guidelines for US and Canada

New Airline Travel Requirements

New protocols became in effect for air travel to the U.S. and Canada.  Below we have provided more information to both countries.

Specific to the US (Effective Jan 26, 2021)

All passengers 2 years of age or older entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents), must present a negative COVID-19 test.  This needs to have been taken within three days before departure.   Proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the last 90 days is also acceptable.  All airlines will be required to confirm the negative test result or proof of recent recovery for all passengers prior to boarding.  Types of tests acceptable can be found here.         

If you are traveling to the US, click here to the CDC’s FAQ for answers to questions about the new requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19.

Specific to Canada (Effective Feb 3, 2021)

As of January 31, Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries.

Effective at 11:59 p.m. EST on February 3, in addition to proof of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test, all flights, including international commercial, private/business, and charter to Canada must arrive at one of four airports: Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.

In the coming weeks, all air travelers arriving in Canada, with very limited exceptions, must, at their own cost, reserve a room in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three nights and take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival

In the future, the Government of Canada intends to introduce a 72-hour pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test for travelers seeking entry at the land border, with limited exceptions such as commercial truckers.

You can always find the latest official Canadian Government information online at this website: COVID-19 Travel, quarantine, and borders.  Rules and procedures can change quickly.  You should review this website for the latest information whenever you are considering travel to, from, or within Canada. 

ArriveCAN Requirements  

Canada requires travelers to submit their travel and contact information and quarantine plans digitally.  For complete information on ArriveCAN requirements, please click here.

 

Note: COVID-19 tests in Canada are administered through the provinces and territories.  More information, including links to provincial and territorial authorities, is available here.  

 

Provincial Travel Restrictions  (As of 1/15/2021)

 

Individual provinces all have additional restrictions that can affect your travel.  For each provinces restrictions, please click here:

Alberta

British Columbia

Manitoba

New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia

Northwest Territories

Nunavut

Ontario

Prince Edward Island

Quebec

Saskatchewan

Travel for medical purposes is considered essential.  While it requires hoops to jump through, it can be done.  Contact Health Vantis to help guide you through the process.  We will make sure you are always kept to date on the requirements to navigate your journey seamlessly.  

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com