Coryell Health Now Offering Updated, Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Vaccine for Patients Ages 12 and Older

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend — that all individuals ages 12 and older receive one updated, “bivalent” booster dose, specifically engineered to fight both the original version of SARS-CoV-2 and the most prevalent Omicron strain of the virus.

The CDC recommends the reformulated Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster for people ages 18 and older, and the updated Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster for individuals ages 12 and older.

The new bivalent booster replaces the former, monovalent booster dose for those 12 and older. Currently, there are no changes to the COVID-19 vaccine schedule for children ages 6 months to 11 years.

Both vaccines have been authorized for administration at least two months after a patient completes primary COVID-19 vaccinations or receives a previous booster.

Coryell County Medical Authority, Dr. Diedra Wuenschel, wants patients to know, as flu season quickly is approaching, patients safely can receive both the flu vaccine and the new COVID-19 booster during the same appointment. “The bivalent boosters are worth getting. They keep people out of hospitals, save lives and combat the pandemic,” said Wuenschel, who is also Coryell Health Medical Clinic Director and Chief of Staff.  “Luckily, a major new variant hasn’t arisen, but the virus is still evolving. Reigning in the virus with new boosters every few months is not a long-term strategy, but it is all we have now, until a next-generation vaccine is developed that can fight all or most variants and provide long-lasting protection.”

This may be the last free shot; it is the final one Congress has funded. Wuenschel strongly recommends taking advantage of this opportunity.

Find Out When You Can Get Your Booster

Coryell Health Medical Clinic- Gatesville, Bldg. 2, is providing the Bivalent vaccine for walk-in and appointment scheduled patients. Monday- Friday, 8:30am-11:30am – 1:30pm- 4:30pm. Doses for 5-11 year-olds are in route. Follow Coryell Health’s Facebook page for the latest COVID-19 updates.

For more information about the recent booster, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html and/or https://dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine/.

 

Getting a flu shot protects you, your family, and your community.

The fall 2022 flu season may hit early and hard this year, so it’s best to get your flu vaccine as soon as possible.

Dr. Diedra Wuenschel, Coryell Health Medical Clinic Director and Coryell County Health Authority, is urging people to get their flu vaccines relatively early this fall.

“Every year, we try to guess when the flu is going to hit and when we should get our vaccines. Some people wait to get their flu shot until right before Thanksgiving in case they’ll be traveling over the holidays,” said Wuenschel.

Her advice: “Don’t wait. Get your flu shot as soon as it’s available.”

Learn more about the newest COVID-19 booster shots

Patients can receive their COVID-19 booster during the same visit as flu vaccine- in the opposite arm.

Wuenschel reminds people that it takes about two weeks after you get your flu shot for the vaccine to fully go into effect.

Getting your flu shot relatively early this year — in September or October — is the best way to brace yourself for what could be an early, virulent flu season.

“The flu vaccine will protect you for four to six months. If you’re a little off on your timing, that’s fine. It’s best to be early this year. If you get your shot too late, it just means you’re more at risk of getting the flu,” adds Wuenschel.

Coryell Health Medical Clinic- Gatesville, Goldthwaite, Moody, Waco and Temple are providing flu shots for walk-in patients. Monday- Friday, 8:30am-11:30am – 1:30pm- 4:30pm.

Coryell accepts most major insurance. Health plans usually cover a set of preventive services like shots and screening tests at no cost to the patient. Uninsured self-pay $35.

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/flu/finder.aspx

Coryell Health Advanced Wound Center Wins Two Awards

Coryell’s Advanced Wound Center won both the Clinical Distinction Award and the Excellence in Patient Satisfaction Award from RestorixHealth! These awards mean that our Advanced Wound Center demonstrates exceptional success in clinical and safety benchmarks, and our patient success rate is at least 96%. We are proud of these achievements and are grateful for our hardworking team behind it all. Want more information about our Advanced Wound Center and the technology behind the healing? Visit our website: https://coryellhealth.org/wound-center.

The Need for Sepsis Awareness: A Survivor’s Perspective- A Decade Later

In December 2011, a lack of awareness of sepsis – a disease responsible for more American deaths each year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and AIDS combined – nearly cost me my life.

It all began with a little bump on my shoulder one afternoon. When it all began, I did not know that within 24 hours, that small bump would develop into life-threatening septic shock and soon I would find myself in the ICU.

The seemingly insignificant little bump became swollen and I developed symptoms that felt like the worst flu of my life. When my husband had discovered my temperature was over 104 degrees, he had rushed me to the emergency room, just on a hunch that this was not an ordinary “flu.”

He had never heard of sepsis, and I had heard the word, but thought it was a rare, largely obsolete disease. I had no idea of the symptoms and certainly no idea it could be happening to me.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was the sickest I had ever been in my life.  My temperature was soaring, my blood pressure was falling, and my arm was in excruciating pain. I soon learned the bump on my arm actually was a skin infection, which had led to cellulitis.

 

The doctors acted quickly and I was soon admitted to the ICU, where I vacillated between life and death. I was cognizant enough to worry whether I would make it out of the hospital and home again to my two small children, and if so, whether all my limbs would be coming home with me.

After several terrifying, agonizing days, I began to recover, transitioning first out of the ICU and then out of the hospital. I went home to begin what would be a deceptively arduous recovery. Having survived and avoided severe complications like amputations, I expected my recovery would be swift, but it was not.  Weeks turned to months, even years, before I began to feel like “myself” again.  I did not know then that post-sepsis or post-ICU syndrome exists, and can affect many sepsis and ICU patients. Today, I have my strength back, although some of the physical and of course the emotional impacts still linger.

As difficult as my recovery was, I am lucky to be alive. I am lucky that the doctors and nurses at my hospital were aware of sepsis. They saved my life.  Others – who either do not make the fortunate decision to seek emergency medical care, or whose symptoms are overlooked or misdiagnosed – are not as lucky.

But surviving sepsis should not be a matter of luck. The public and medical professionals alike must be aware of sepsis. We must know the name of this deadly disease, and we must know the symptoms. By being aware and suspecting sepsis, we will be able to save more lives — which just might be our own, or those of our loved ones.   The CDC’s efforts to increase sepsis awareness and improve treatment will result in fewer lives lost to this sudden, swift and often-fatal disease.

Download and share any of CDC’s FREE patient education materials with your friends and loved ones to learn how to prevent infections, be alert to the signs and symptoms of sepsis, and act fast if sepsis is suspected.


Guest Author: Dana Mirman

Dana Mirman is a communications professional. She is a member of the Sepsis Alliance Board of Directors.

Posted on by CDC’s Safe Healthcare Blog

RehabLiving Hosts “Living with Dementia” Workshop During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

September is almost over, but our memory of Tam Cummings “Living with Dementia” workshop earlier this month lives on. RehabLiving hosted the event this September, during World Alzheimer’s awareness month. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Passionate about teaching others what dementia is, Dr. Tam clearly explained dementia and how it progresses in the brain. A master at translating medical jargon into easy to understand terms, Dr. Tam walked the audience of medical staff and care givers through how the disease starts, how it presents itself in each stage of dementia and how to provide care for a loved one or resident, even when their behaviors may be challenging.

Dr. Tam’s book, Untangling Alzheimer’s, is designed to allow the first time caregiver and the longtime professional to gain the understanding and skills they will need to work effectively with persons with dementia. To learn more about Dr. Cummings and her work, visit https://tamcummings.com/.

Coryell Health Hosts Ribbon Cutting for Primary Care Clinic in Waco

Coryell Health hosted a ribbon cutting at the Medical Clinic- Waco location performed by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce on August 16, 2022. The new clinic location is on 5100 Franklin Avenue, Waco, TX.

To serve the McLennan County community and greater Central Texas area, the Coryell Health Medical Clinic- Waco opened several years’ prior, providing specialty care, and adding the full scope of primary care services on April 11, 2022. Local community members, Greater Waco Chamber members, media, and Coryell Health board members and staff attended the ribbon cutting celebration.

“This ribbon cutting is another milestone for the Greater Central Texas community and Coryell Health,” said David Byrom, Coryell Health CEO. “We are proud to extend the reach of our innovative care model to Waco and are dedicated to improving health outcomes of the patients in the communities we now serve.”

“Our family medicine team is available five days a week, providing comprehensive and preventive primary care and urgent care services including welcoming walk-ins, same-day appointments and scheduled appointments,” said Dr. Jantzen Matli, Family Medicine, Coryell Health Medical Director- Waco.

“The Coryell Health Medical Clinic- Waco also provides specialty care services including: bariatric medicine, dermatology, hepatology, orthopedics, and general surgery. We have been gaining the trust of patients in Waco, offering them exceptional care where they can get in quickly and feel at home. We are grateful to the team at Coryell whose collaboration and efforts have contributed to this achievement,” Matli adds.

URGENT CARE/ WALK-INS WELCOME | SAME DAY | NEXT DAY APPOINTMENTS | TELEHEALTH

Accepting Most Major Insurance Including: Medicare | Medicaid | Tricare | BSW Health Plan | BCBS

To learn more about Coryell Health services, please call (254) 865-2166 or visit coryellhealth.org.

Gastroenterology vs. Hepatology: What’s the Difference?

Medical terminology can be confusing and hard to understand. At Coryell, we want to make sure that our patients are well-informed and able to make the best decisions possible for their health. 

Today, we’re going to break down the difference between Gastroenterology and Hepatology. While those words sound very different, they’re actually more similar than you’d think! Hepatology is a subspecialty of Gastroenterology, meaning that often, physicians practice both. 

Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. It encompasses the diseases that affect the organs along your gastrointestinal tract, including the liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas and gallbladder. Gastroenterologists are able to diagnose and treat digestive disorders such as liver disease, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and some cancers. 

There are a few signs that you should seek help and make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, including: 

  • Unexplained changes in your bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation and blood in stool
  • Unusual bloating
  • Frequent and severe heartburn
  • Sudden and severe abdominal pain
  • You’re due for a colonoscopy

If you’re having any of those symptoms, a gastroenterologist may be able to help you by performing an exam and potentially diagnosing one of the following:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Ulcers
  • Autoimmune and genetic liver disorders

Hepatology is more specifically focused on the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas. There are a few specific reasons you may be referred to a hepatologist, including:

  • Liver injury caused by medication 
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding from portal hypertension
  • Jaundice
  • Ascites
  • Enzyme defects
  • Blood tests that indicate liver disease

A hepatologist will be able to diagnose disorders including:

  • Hepatitis infections
  • Fatty liver disease, alcohol-related and not
  • Jaundice
  • Cirrhosis
  • Metabolic liver diseases
  • Liver cancer

Coryell offers a full service esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) program, which involves a test that examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine. We also have a colonoscopy program, as well as a minimally invasive surgery program with two surgeons focused on esophageal, gastric, intestinal and bariatric surgery. 

 Dr. Nadege Gunn is Coryell’s new Hepatologist who specializes in treating patients with chronic liver disease. She is also a Medical Advisory Member for the American Liver Foundation and the Fatty Liver Foundation. Call (254) 865-2166 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gunn today.

Get Ahead of the Game – Schedule Your Child’s Sports Physical

The 5 Ws of Sports Physicals

The deadline for school sports physicals will be here before you know it – consider scheduling your child’s sports physical now! Coryell Health always has your family covered with physicals close to home. 

Any of your students that are athletes. Even if your child hasn’t participated in a sport up to this point, but may consider it during the school year, it’s best to schedule their physical sooner rather than later.
Sports physicals are an opportunity for physicians to make sure your child is healthy enough to play sports. They’ll check your athlete’s vitals, joints, flexibility and vision, alongside a short fitness assessment to diagnose and recommend any potential limitations on physical activity. n’t participated in a sport up to this point, but may consider it during the school year, it’s best to schedule their physical sooner rather than later.
At a minimum, six to eight weeks before the season starts. That said, the earlier, the better! Sports physicals are valid for one year, at which point a new exam is required.
You can schedule your athlete’s physical at your family medicine practitioner’s office at Coryell Health.
Texas requires that children and teens have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season. Scheduling their sports physical will ensure nothing holds your athletes back from participating in the sports they love!

To schedule a physical, please call Coryell Health Medical Clinic at (254) 865-2166. Bring identification, such as a driver’s license, and current copy of the insurance card that covers your child, and a list of medications the child is taking. If your child has been seen anywhere else since your last visit, such as urgent care or the emergency department, please bring paperwork or test results. To expedite your visit, download the Child Sports Physical form to complete and bring to your child’s appointment.

Download Form

Coryell Health recently added Dr. Nadege T. Gunn to the ranks!

Coryell Health recently added Dr. Nadege T. Gunn to the ranks! A gastroenterologist and hepatologist who focuses on finding therapies for liver-related illnesses, she’s committed to providing world-class care for patients, close to home. Dr. Gunn is also a Medical Advisory Member for the American Liver Foundation and the Fatty Liver Foundation. Learn more about her here: https://coryellhealth.org/physicians/nadege-gunn-md/.

Is Bariatric Surgery In A Foreign Country Worth The Cost?

Traveling south of the border has its perks. Sunny beaches, delicious food, and rich cultural history make Mexico a desirable vacation spot. But, when it comes to a life-changing surgery, is the bargain surgery worth the added cost? 

Visiting another country to obtain healthcare, known as “medical tourism,” creates a considerable amount of potential complications. If you’ve researched bariatric surgery, you’ve likely seen that a common trend for candidates – especially those looking to save money – is to have the operation performed in Mexico. While these procedures appear to cost less, the risk to your individual health and safety becomes a costly consideration. Further treatment is often needed upon returning, possibly amounting to thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

  • There is no individualized patient plan and education, resulting in long-term complications after the surgery and unsuccessful long-term weight loss.
  • Mexico surgery centers do not have to adhere to the same guidelines as clinics and surgeons in the U.S. In the U.S., patients are protected by healthcare laws and practice standards.
  • Patients have to fly home before fully recovering from surgery, increasing the risk of developing pulmonary embolism and blood clots.
  • There is no nutritional counseling or follow-up care to monitor for malnutrition, which can lead to short- and long-term health problems, slow recovery from wounds and illnesses and vitamin deficiencies, which can cause hair and nail loss.
  • The inability for patients or families to take legal action as a result of harm or death.

 

Adding travel expenses, lodging, and time away from work, the cost of crossing the border for bariatric surgery adds up quickly.

  • Specialized care by a doctor trained in bariatrics and metabolic surgery
  • A medical team who will provide a customized care plan to meet individual patient needs
  • A comprehensive guide you and your medical team use to equip you with the knowledge needed to maintain a successful weight loss journey
  • Big city standard of medical expertise with a small-town level of care
  • No travel requirements before or after the procedure
  • Continued follow-up care and relationships with your healthcare provider

The Coryell Health Minimally Invasive Surgery Center offers bariatric surgery led by David Gochnour, MD, complemented by expert nutrition advice and behavioral health counseling to maximize results and long-term success. Coryell Health is now offering the most competitive price in Central Texas for bariatric surgery.

Think bariatric surgery could change your life for the better? Learn more here

Want a bariatric medicine nurse to contact you? Click here.

Coryell Health Provides Cancer Screenings

Start Off 2022 By Protecting Yourself Against More Than Just COVID-19

Don’t let the COVID-19 pandemic keep you and your loved ones from getting routine medical care. Annual wellness checks and routine screenings can identify many health issues early, including the five most aggressive types of cancer: lung, colorectal, breast, pancreatic and prostate.

Early detection is key because the quicker cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. More treatments are available for cancers detected at Stage 1 than at other stages, and survival rates are much higher. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never easy, but early detection brings hope. 

Lung Cancer

Known as the most aggressive form of cancer, lung cancer is most often caused by smoking/tobacco use. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently revised its recommendations on who should get a low-dose CT scan and when. Low-dose CT scans, which can detect cancer earlier, have improved survival rates for those with lung cancer, even for heavy smokers. The new recommendations take a person’s personal smoking history into account, so if you’ve ever been a smoker, even just an occasional one, check it out

Colorectal Cancer

Most colorectal cancer cases begin as small, benign cells that become cancerous over time. Physicians use screenings, like colonoscopies, for early detection and prevention. If you’re between the ages of 45 and 75, this is a crucial test. Here’s the good news: you don’t necessarily have to go in for a colonoscopy. The USPSTF’s new recommendations say most people can start with an at-home stool test to screen for cancer. Call your doctor to find out what kind of screening is right for you and ask how you can get started.

Breast Cancer

The second most common type of cancer in women is breast cancer. Coryell Health doctors recommend women begin having annual mammograms starting at age 40. Family and personal medical history should be taken into account, so if you’re age 40 or older and haven’t had a mammogram yet, call your doctor to discuss when is the right time for you.

Coryell Health has 3D mammogram technology, which produces the clearest and most precise scans possible. For your convenience, Coryell Health Diagnostic Imaging allows you to book your appointment without seeing a provider for a referral. Call (254) 248-6238 to schedule your 3D mammogram today. One of our family medicine providers will follow up with you regarding your results.

Also, let your doctor know when you’re scheduled to receive your COVID-19 shots. One of the side-effects of the vaccine is swollen lymph nodes, which can alter your mammogram images. Most doctors recommend waiting 4-6 weeks after your COVID-19 shot to get your mammogram.

Pancreatic Cancer

Currently, there are no standard screenings for pancreatic cancer. Those with a genetic tendency for pancreatic concerns should discuss routine endoscopic ultrasounds or MRI/CT imaging with a family medicine provider.

Prostate Cancer

This is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men. There are two tests to check for prostate cancer: a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test or a digital rectal examination (DRE). After a certain age, a doctor may recommend regular screening. A prostate exam can help detect cancer while it is still highly treatable, even if symptoms are not present.

Other Recommended Cancer Screenings for Adults

We also recommend HPV tests for women under 65 to screen for the human papillomavirus, a very common STD that causes warts and can be linked to cervical cancer. There are more than 3 million cases of HPV in the United States per year. To screen for it, your doctor may take a “pap smear” cytology test. Testing should be done with regularity, but your individual testing schedule is dependent on your personal medical and sexual history. 

You can get an HPV vaccine to help prevent HPV and cervical cancer through the age of 45, but check with your insurance provider first, to make sure you’re covered. HPV also affects men, so young men may want to consider getting the vaccine, too. 

Warning Signs

Here are some common warning signs of cancer: fatigue, weight loss, swelling or lumps in any part of the body and unexplained pains. However, many symptoms associated with cancer could also be signs of other conditions. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or anything unusual, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.