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Health & Fitness

A Primary Goal

Looking for a doctor? The Bartlett Medical Clinic and Wellness Center won’t accept your insurance. Heather Bartlett, M.D., the clinic’s founder and owner, sees a hidden health care crisis in America, one which led her to establish Columbus’ first Direct Primary Care (DPC) medical practice, an alternative payment model with a flat-rate monthly fee and [...]
Laura Dachenbach

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Looking for a doctor?

The Bartlett Medical Clinic and Wellness Center won’t accept your insurance.

Heather Bartlett, M.D., the clinic’s founder and owner, sees a hidden health care crisis in America, one which led her to establish Columbus’ first Direct Primary Care (DPC) medical practice, an alternative payment model with a flat-rate monthly fee and no third-party billing.

“Nobody’s talking about it,” Bartlett’s said, referring to physician burnout—the anxiety and depression leading to suicidal thoughts, the disengagement, the general malaise that has ticked upwards in the profession by 25 percent over the last four years according to some studies. She tells me about closed Facebook groups for physicians looking for side work, rental income or MLMs to escape clinical work.

“We’re not getting to practice medicine any more. We’re becoming data entry clerks,” Bartlett lamented.

As a young doctor in Seattle working under an insurance model, Bartlett describes how she was trained to limit her patients’ issues to just one or two a visit, maximizing the number of patients seen per day, since insurance companies won’t reimburse a physician or practice for the time spent with any one patient.

“These were people that were coming in that were lower socioeconomic class, that were laborers who had bosses who were jerks. They were already losing income by being there. They were losing income by waiting. Then they lost income with their copay. Then they lost income with anything that I ordered.”

Follow up care would often become unaffordable. So Bartlett always worked through the list of complaints her patients would bring her, disregarding the “rule” to prioritize concerns for the sake of time.

“I couldn’t do it,” she explained, shaking her head. “It wasn’t within my resolve.”

So in February 2016, in the midst of political battles over insurance, Bartlett opened her no-insurance clinic and returned to the type of work she loves to do—primary care. Being a pioneer in the field isn’t easy, but she was convinced that providing affordable access to primary care, along with the time to adequately counsel patients, was the right thing to do.

“There’s a difference between being miserable and struggling. Struggling is being an entrepreneur and taking a risk. And that’s okay because that can change,” said Bartlett. “Even when I had moments of doubt, it was my patients’ feedback that kept me going; to say, ‘Okay I’ll figure out how to keep the clinic open for another month, and another month, and another month.’”

Bartlett shows me her exam room, what medicine looks like when the bureaucracy is removed. The vintage cabinets and wooden blinds call back an era before health insurance became commonplace (and virtually necessary) to healthcare. Bartlett even has a small pharmacy stocked with frequently prescribed drugs (most of them generics and 50 to 80 percent cheaper) and supplies such as braces and splints. Here is where she spends two hours with a patient during an initial exam. And what does she do with patients for that amount of time?

“I’m going to get to know them,” Bartlett explains, adding that current medical records consists mostly of yes or no questions designed around ease of billing, rather than getting an accurate medical history or description of a current illness. “First of all I say, ‘I see your history, but I’m going to let you start. Where do you want to start with your health history?’ You need to know the history of the patient. You need to know the story. It’s a story.”

To Bartlett, it’s all about trust, or in her words, “knowing that someone’s got your back”—which stems from genuine relationships with patients as well as financial transparency. Her billing is by “membership plan,” ranging from $149 a month to $59 a month. Fees for labs are available on her website. All plans include the ability to call/email/text/telemed with Bartlett. That means you can take a picture of that thing on your foot, email it, and get a same or next day answer without being forced to make an appointment, taking time off work, or trying to self diagnose on WebMD. You can video conference. Or you can text with urgent concerns.

“A patient was vacationing in Costa Rica…and he was having some side effects [from medication]. So he was able to email me, ‘Hey, this is going on.’ “ Bartlett answered the email and followed up the next day. “He didn’t go to an ER. He didn’t go to an Urgent Care. He didn’t screw up his vacation with his family because of something that I was familiar with and I could guide him.”

Bartlett feels lucky to have escaped the world of doctors on the “hamster wheel,” forced to process huge numbers of patients in an unreasonable amount of time and foresees an exodus of primary-care physicians, already threatened in numbers, leaving the field of medicine, and leaving patients, insured or not, without health care providers. DPC doesn’t mean less work for Bartlett, but it does mean more professional satisfaction.

“There’s a difference in going home tired and frustrated versus being tired and fulfilled,” Bartlett said. “So I’m happy.”

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Health & Fitness

The Great Outdoors (Are Always Open): An easy scavenger hunt to ease you into nature

Linda Lee Baird

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Quarantine. Isolation. Social distancing. The words defining our historic (and historically difficult) moment are all about solitude—and we’re bound to be using them for some time to come. But getting through these long days doesn’t mean we need to be inside. In fact, even under the “stay at home” orders currently in effect, getting out in the fresh air is still very much allowed. Spring goes on springing, and the time away from schools and the office gives us the opportunity to soak it in, observe, and enjoy the changes. 

For those who have been disconnected from nature for a few years, or never connected in the first place, here’s a beginner’s guide to the plants and animals you may see around our Metro Parks, woods, and rivers this spring. We went with common species—because it feels good to be able to check things off your list—but think of this as a starting point for paying a little more attention to the natural world around you. 

And if you are one of the many people who is suddenly leading a homeschool, you can use this as an educational scavenger hunt. My “class” will be taking this list up to Highbanks on the first warm April afternoon. 

Birds

Robin

My mom used to point out the “first robin of spring” as March turned to April every year—a sign that the season was changing and more birds would soon be joining their song in the trees.

Hawk

Look up! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… actually a bird. Our flat lands and wide skies are an ideal combination to catch a hawk carefully circling in  the sky.  (Because this is an easy scavenger hunt, any bird of prey can check this box. We won’t tell). 

Warblers

The Ohio Division of Wildlife calls warblers, “one of the avian highlights of spring.” While there are several species that visit our state, the blue-winged, golden winged, and yellow all have bright yellow coloring that perhaps makes them easier to spot in the trees. ODW recommends Greenlawn Cemetery as a local spot to see them.

Animals

Deer

They’re everywhere in Ohio, but there’s still something magical about spotting one in the wild and looking into its tranquil eyes.

Butterflies

Yes, there are many different types of butterflies that live in Central Ohio and yes, they are most active later in the year, but the common painted lady starts fluttering around as early as April. If you find a butterfly of any species this early in the season, we’ll give you full credit. 

Frogs

Head down to the water and open your ears for that familiar croak. You’re likely to spot them chillin’ on the bank or the nearest lily pad, but it’s really fun if you get to watch them swim. 

Baby… anything

It’s spring, the season many species welcome their babies into the world. And if there’s anything cuter than an animal, it’s a baby animal. Ducklings, bunnies, birds nests; anywhere you can spot an animal family will let you tick this box. 

Plants

Fiddlehead ferns

One of the first signs that the earth is returning from winter is the emergence of fiddlehead ferns. Their distinctive spiral sticking up from the ground portends more plants to follow. (They are also supposed to be delicious when cooked, but since this is a scavenger hunt occurring in a public park, please leave them for the next visitor). 

Lilac

You’ll probably smell them before you see them. There’s a reason lilac is dried and used in aeromatics year round, but—lucky us—we’re quickly approaching the season to experience the real thing. Those small, purple buds that smell like absolute bliss? That’s lilac. 

Maple tree

Sure, it’s at its peak in the fall when the leaves turn gold and red, but can you identify a maple before it’s leaves are in full bloom and it’s not producing any syrup? Now’s your chance to find out. 

Fungus

Mushrooms count, but the best fungus in my opinion grows on old tree stumps and boasts beautiful stripes.

Feature photo by Rebecca Tien.

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Health & Fitness

COVID-19 Coverage: Expert tips for staying healthy during your stay-at home

Mitch Hooper

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It's been nine days since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has placed the state under a shelter-in-place order. However long this will last is unknown, but Dr. Anup Kanodia has a suggestion: use this time for your own self-health.

Dr. Kanodia, an Akron-native, is the owner and head MD at KanodiaMD in Westerville. He did a fellowship of alternative, integrative medicine at Harvard University and went on to earn his Master's in Public Health. His practice focuses on integrating functional medicine with conventional medicine. In addition to owning his own private practice, he works part-time with addiction clinics and part-time with urgent care.

"What we're finding, in my practice, is that a lot of people want to know how do they help themselves in this time. What can they do beyond social distancing and hand washing?" Dr. Kanodia said.

To find ways to cope and grow through this situation, 614Now talked with Dr. Kanodia via Zoom. Here are some of his tips to finding happiness and peace during these stressful times.

1.) Get into a routine

Working, sleeping, living, and eating in the same place can make the days feel like they blur together. Dr. Kanodia says a daily routine can be exactly what you need to help create a separation of your work and personal life as they collide together at home.

"[It starts] with having a regular sleep schedule," Dr. Kanodia explained. "And then getting out of the house first thing in the morning; meaning go for a walk, or go get something. But if you're stuck inside the house all day long, that's going to ruin your mental health."

For folks working at home, he also suggests making your work space separate from your bedroom. Don't work in bed, he says, and try to work in a different room than your bedroom if possible.

2.) Sleep is crucial right now

Sleep is the time our body repairs itself making it a vital part of a healthy immune system. But with schedules out-of-order, the long hours inside can make falling asleep difficult. Things like exercise throughout your day can help at nighttime, and Dr. Kanodia suggests writing before bed if you are struggling to fall asleep as well as limiting blue light exposure.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself waking up much earlier than usual, he says to simply go about your day, but it's important not to take naps as they can throw off your sleep cycle.

3.) And so is staying physically active; better yet if you can safely get outdoors

He says that functional medicine is finding that there are even more benefits to the immune system and overall health of the body through doing outdoor activities and being in the sunlight.

"Walking out in nature is even more beneficial if you could. Sunlight, outdoor light, or daylight helps us make Vitamin D, helps us shutdown sleeping hormones, and helps with depression."

However, there is a limit to exercise. He warns that if you feel tired roughly two hours after a work-out, you might've overworked yourself. Be cautious as being overworked can lead to a lowered immune system.

4.) Continue social distancing, but use technology to stay connected and close with loved ones

Dr. Kanodia suggests folks use applications like FaceTime and Zoom to stay in-touch with their families and friends. KanodiaMD also offers video chats—both in groups or solo—for anyone with questions or struggling in this time.

He also suggests alternative ways to do this such as video games and online games. Additionally, forums and chats are great ways to stay connected, he says.

5.) Keep a positive outlook with healthy outlets

It's difficult to do so in times like these, but Dr. Kanodia says a positive outlook is vital right now. And having a positive attitude doesn't mean you are immune to the fears, rather, it's coming to terms with them, he says.

"We have to accept our fear, [being] overwhelmed, and anxiousness. [...] Stress and mindset are unmet expectations. If I have expectations of how long this will last, if I will get COVID-19, that I don't like working from home; any of these expectations make us more stressed. If I go with the flow, what's the best I can do with this one minute? And keep going down that path."

For this, he suggests finding hobbies that brought you joy when you were younger. For some it's adult coloring, for others it's sports.

"Figure out in the past what kept you calm. Whatever it is that is your stress reliever, now is a good time to do it."

For more information on Dr. Kanodia, or to download his free COVID-19, Cold, and Flu Top 3 Recommendations, visit kanodiamd.com.

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Health & Fitness

5 unique ways to improve wellness without a treadmill

Jeni Ruisch

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big percentage of the resolutions we make every year involve getting in shape and/or improving our overall wellness. But running on a treadmill is only slightly more attractive an activity than, say, waiting in line at the DMV. And unless you can sit still for more than two minutes, meditation is out of the question. If you want to really challenge yourself to step outside your normal bubble, face your fears while finding balance. You’ll conquer your phobias AND the scale.

Float

True REST Float Spa
truerest.com

You can achieve a state of buoyancy akin to floating on a cloud. The key is a pod filled with hyper-salinated water, heated to the temperature of your skin. Reduced Environmental Stimulus Therapy can help your mind find peace.

Flip

Life Energy Yoga
leyyoga.com

Did you ever dream of becoming an acrobat? This exercise consists of poses done with a partner. You can make human pyramids, or even learn to stand on each other’s shoulders, or contort yourselves into knots of fun.

Climb

Infinity Aerial
infinityaerial.com

Raise your skills to the roof with aerial silks, the skill made popular by Cirque Du Soleil and performing artist P!nk. A long swath of fabric pours down from ceiling supports, and the performer uses friction and strength to support themselves in poses among the waterfall of silk.

Dive

Columbus Scuba
columbusscuba.com

The depths of the ocean hold more mysteries than the surface of the moon. Brave men and women strap Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus to their backs every day the world over, and dive into the unknown.

Fly

The Buckeye Bounce Club
thebounceclub.com

If you thank your lucky stars for gravity, and the hard ground under your feet, maybe it’s time to shake yourself free of the terra for a few ticks. The Buckeye Bounce Club is a gym where the workouts are done on wall-to-wall trampolines, or rather, ceiling-to-ceiling, as the walls themselves are bounceable, just like the floors.

Originally appeared in (614) Magazine December 2017

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