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Nancy Ellis’ day starts with a morning walk around the office to greet colleagues and get a feel for pressing issues of the day. The administrator of a busy rheumatology practice, Ms Ellis may run into any of the 26 people who work at Piedmont Arthritis Clinic. Nurses, medical assistants, nursing assistants, physicians, and the administrative staff comprise the talented team that works together each day to treat the approximately 150 patients who walk through the doors. Between the physicians, staff, and patients, Ms Ellis enjoys a day that is anything but routine. Read More ›

Based on group preferences and state laws, rheumatology physicians may or may not write narcotic prescriptions for patients as part of chronic pain management. In Eastern North Carolina, primary care providers seldom write such prescriptions, and outside of pain management clinics, patients have limited options for pain control. Because of this, the 3 physicians in our practice prescribe narcotics for patients who we feel need long-term arthritis pain control. We have a protocol to manage these prescriptions that is in compliance with the North Carolina Medical Board. Read More ›

We are all aware of the many challenges and opportunities we face in rheumatology practices. As we see from the countless articles, news blurbs, and listserv postings, we all encounter similar things. We strive for quality improvement (our physicians are known to be leaders in this area), we have ongoing performance indicators that examine practice quality as well as costs, and we evaluate our practices by comparing them to yesterday, looking at how they exist today, and preparing them for tomorrow. I recently returned from a meeting where we discussed partnering together to meet these challenges. Read More ›

The uncertainty of the current healthcare environment has become a cause of undue stress. Al­though stress can have a positive impact on individuals and organizations, it most often wields a negative effect. Read More ›

We see quite a few changes physicians might make to improve their financial security, but 1 item is usually beyond their control: the 401(k) plan. Un­less you are self-employed, there is practically nothing you can do about your 401(k)’s underwhelming investment options, ridiculously low contribution limits, or perverse tax consequences. Read More ›

Practicing medicine is no long­er exclusively char­­acterized as providing patient care. A physician is now re­-quired to be a skilled clinician, a marketing guru, an entrepre­neur, an ac­countant, and a legal savant, given the level of financial hurdles and oversight that are required to run a successful practice today. With the advent of digital media marketing, a physician must also now add “web designer” to his or her skill set. Read More ›

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affects the lining, or synovium, of the joints, affects 1.3 million people in the United States. In addition to causing painful swelling that may eventually lead to bone erosion and joint deformity, RA can also affect other organs of the body, including the skin, eyes, lungs, and blood vessels. Read More ›

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