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July 2019 >> $5 ON ROUNDS Southern Charm Works Wonders On Nephrologist A slice or two of strawberry pie and some Southern hospitality played a big role in one physician’s decision to move to Memphis where 40 years later he has offices and out-patient clinics in six locations.

Story on page 3.

Volunteers Offer Free Eye Care, Hold Fundraiser Summer’s not merely vacation time for some volunteers from the healthcare community – some will help provide 80 free surgical cataract procedures in August while others will hold a benefit art sale this month.

Items on pages 6 and 7.



Field of Practice Management Is Ever-Changing, Challenging Role of Practice Administrator Grows More Demanding By BETH SIMKANIN

The field of practice management has encountered enormous changes during the past three decades – industry regulations are more complicated, and physician practices have seen tremendous growth along with the demand for physicians. As a result, the role of the practice administrator has evolved from an office manager assisting physicians with their practice management to a career Rusty DeGeorge requiring a college education and responsibilities for the entire business side of a medical practice. The practice administrator’s main goal is to alleviate the administrative burden on physicians by managing daily practice operations

Robert Burns           

and developing and implementing business strategy. “You wear many hats and have to abide by many regulations,”


Alex Trebek’s Cancer News Not All Hollywood Fluff By LAWRENCE BUSER

In March of this year, the longtime host of “Jeopardy!,” Alex Trebek, made a brief, startling announcement before resuming his role of giving answers that beg questions from contestants. The popular, 78-year-old Canadian told viewers that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest of cancers, which leaves as few as nine patients out of 100 still alive after five years.  Perhaps equally stunning, however, was Trebek’s follow-up announcement on the show just three months later. He said he is in “near remission” and that chemotherapy treatments have shrunk some of his cancer tumors by more than 50 percent. The announcement received widespread media attention, including a cover

Methodist’s Response Available Because of deadlines and printing schedule agreements, Memphis Medical News was not able to include news relating to media coverage concerning Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and some of its billing-related procedures. However, Methodist’s entire response can be found on our website:

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Stephen Behrman

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Alex Trebek’s Cancer News Not All Hollywood Fluff, continued from page 1 story in a recent copy of People magazine. “I think it would be a stretch to say that someone is in remission from pancreatic cancer, but if his tumors had down-staged or shrunk, that would not be terribly surprising to me,” said Dr. Stephen Behrman, a pancreatic cancer surgeon at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “It’s a deadly disease, and in the metastatic setting it would be extremely uncommon for someone to be cured just with chemotherapy alone. In reality, he’s eventually going to die from that, but having said that, many of our newer chemo-therapeutic agents will allow the disease to sometimes regress tremendously and allow patients to live a fair amount of time even though the disease is not completely eradicated.” Dr. Behrman acknowledges that he is not privy to the exact treatment Trebek is receiving, but notes that some newer treatments have shown success, such as immunotherapy which uses a person’s immune system to attack cancer cells. “If he has a mutation that’s targetable with these new therapies, then a lot of times people can have dramatic responses to that,” Dr. Behrman added. “That occurs in a minority of patients with pancreatic cancer, but some do have those mutations that will respond to immunotherapy. “He would be in the population that we would test because we generally test for mutations in patients who have had either metastatic disease or a disease that is not amenable to surgical removal. That would be the patient population that we would typically study.”    The pancreas is an abdominal organ – about six inches long and shaped like a flat pear – that secretes enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate the metabolism of sugars. Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often do not appear until the cancer is well advanced, but early warning signs include unexpected weight loss or onset of diabetes, back pain, itching and yellowing of the skin (jaundice).            “The pancreas sits in tight quarters around the major blood vessels in our abdomen that go to our liver and our intestines, so it doesn’t take a very large tumor to potentially grow around these

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vessels to the point we can’t remove it surgically,” Dr. Behrman said. “It’s also just a very aggressive cancer. The natural history of the cancer is to metastasize very readily and very commonly as well. Oftentimes, by the time we diagnose it, it’s too advanced for us to do anything.” According to the American Cancer Society, 56,770 Americans will be diagnosed this year with pancreatic cancer and 45,750 will die. In Tennessee, some 1,220 new cases are expected, as are 980 deaths. Apple founder Steve Jobs (2011) and actor Patrick Swayze (2009) both died from pancreatic cancer. Though it is on track to become the second deadliest of all cancers, Dr. Behrman says there also are reasons for optimism. “I think it’s important that over the last five years, the cure rate has gone up by 1 percent per year, so we have essentially improved the cure rate by 5 percent,” he said. “If you look at it historically, up until the last five years we were dead in the water, and now we’re making very rapid advances in pancreatic cancer in terms of earlier diagnosis and treatment. I think we can look forward to clearly dramatic improvements going forward, though it’s still a very tough cancer to work with.” The causes of pancreatic cancer are not well understood, though it is hereditary and can run in families where there is a genetic predisposition. Excessive smoking and alcohol intake, as well as dietary influences and environmental factors, also are believed to play a role. Treatment generally involves a collaboration of specialists, including a radiation specialist, a surgeon, a medical oncologist and a genetic counselor. “Most often with pancreatic cancer we start with chemotherapy, even if it looks like it can be removed with surgery, and sometimes we complement that with radiation,” Dr. Behrman said. “Then hopefully we can get as many people in surgery as possible, and then after surgery we recommend more chemotherapy since it is an aggressive cancer. “A big problem and frustration with pancreatic cancer is that we don’t have a good screening test for it. For instance, we don’t have a good blood test to screen people, so there’s much, much research

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Family Establishes Foundation in Kosten’s Honor In 2003 Memphis and the tennis community lost one of its stalwarts when Herb Kosten died of pancreatic cancer at age 67. Soon after his death, Kosten’s family set out to do something about fighting the disease and supporting those afflicted with it. Headed by his brother, Alan Kosten, and his son-in-law, Jeffrey Goldberg, they formed the Herb Kosten Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation which has raised nearly $2 million for research and hosts monthly support group meetings for patients and families. The organization also hosts annual tennis tournaments, holds the Kick It 5K walk/run every spring and presents a yearly Herb Kosten symposium featuring top names in the field of cancer treatment and research. “We have the Kosten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Endowment Fund at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center that has donated well over a million dollars to our research,” says Dr. Stephen Behrman, the foundation’s medical adviser. “For people who have no medical background at all, Herb’s family has just done an amazing job of helping the greater Memphis area patients with pancreas cancer face their disease and deal with it with a positive outlook. “Once you know or hear or see or have a relative who has pancreas cancer, all of a sudden you become aware of all these other people who have pancreas cancer. There are some very nice people in our community who are dealing with this right now and I think awareness is one means to help increase funding for research.”

focused on what we call biomarkers or things we can test in the bloodstream or even on the pancreas itself to assess for pancreas cancer and catch it even before it turns into a cancer. Those are avenues of very aggressive research in 2019.” He said there is a vital need for more funding to support the research, and he applauds Alex Trebek for going public and raising awareness and getting the word out. “He has been a great ambassador in that regard,” Dr. Behrman continued. “I

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JULY 2019

think awareness is one means in which we can increase funding in that area, whether it be donations or philanthropy, and hopefully we can spur the government on to increase funding as well.” Trebek has said the love, prayers and support he has received from family, friends and fans have played an important role in his turnaround. “I say he’s absolutely right,” said Dr. Behrman. “I think attitude, when you’re facing any cancer, is huge. I tell my patients that it’s important to continue your life, and I applaud Alex Trebek for continuing to do his work because no individual patient with pancreatic cancer, any cancer, can control that. That’s the job of the healthcare providers.   “I think the job of the individual afflicted with cancer is really to continue to live their life and not let the cancer consume that because otherwise cancer wins. I think that people who maintain a positive attitude and always continue to fight, that always carries them the furthest.” memphismedicalnews



Decision Easy as Pie for This Nephrologist Dr. Jacinto Hernandez Knew Memphis Was the Place By LAWRENCE BUSER

All it took to convince Dr. Jacinto Hernandez that Memphis was the place to establish his practice in nephrology more than 40 years ago was a piece of strawberry pie and some Southern hospitality. He had graduated from the University of Santiago School Of Medicine in his native Spain and had completed an internship in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and a residency in Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1978 he came to Memphis to discuss a nephrology fellowship position at the old University of Tennessee William F. Bowld Hospital. “My interview was with Dr. James Gibb Johnson, a true Southern gentleman,” Dr. Hernandez recalled. “I was so impressed with him in the interview, and with the way he treated patients. I already felt like this was my home. Then there was this other event.” He stayed nearby at Madison and Pauline. “I remember I stayed at the Medical Center Holiday Inn and I had lunch at a Shoney’s there and I looked over the counter and saw these beautiful strawberry



Jacinto Hernandez

pies,” Dr. Hernandez said. “I had never seen a strawberry pie before and I asked a very nice waitress, ‘Could you give me a piece of that?’ She said sure. So I ate one piece and then I had another one. “Then I paid and I gave her a tip and she said, ‘Thank you, sir. And please come

back again.’ Then I said, ‘I have been in this country for four years – in the North – and no one has ever said to me ‘Please come back again.’ So I went upstairs to my room, called my wife in New Jersey and said, ‘Mama, we are going to Memphis.’ I had no doubt that this is where I wanted to be.” Today his Mid-South Nephrology Consultants has seven doctors, two nurse practitioners and offices and out-patient clinics in Memphis, Southaven, West Memphis, Covington, Forrest City and Blytheville. His wife Dominga is the office manager at the main practice in Southaven. Much has changed in the years since he arrived in Memphis four decades ago. “Everything in nephrology was new to us to explore and investigate because we had maybe one-fiftieth of the knowledge of what we know today,” Dr. Hernandez recalled. “You made errors. You try this; you try that. It was all new. Compared to today, the equipment was totally different. It was more simplistic. “But from a clinical viewpoint, it was perhaps a good time. Physicians had to be physicians. They had to think. It was more

bedside manner and more clinical. You had to be close to the patient and listen to the patient. Today it’s all about tests and CAT scanners and MRIs. Then, it was different.” He also credits two other UT nephrologists – Dr. Sergio Acchiardo and Dr. Fred Hatch – for mentoring and teaching him what it is to be a physician. “When I came to the states, I really learned a lot from physicians who had really good bedside manners,” Dr. Hernandez said. “You could see the way they related to the patients and to their families, and you learned from that.” In 2014, Dr. Hernandez was the honored for his career and service at National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee’s annual Gift of Life Gala. While he was growing up in Spain, the coveted occupations were lawyer, physician, engineer or teacher. He enjoyed lab work and studying the mysteries of electrolytes and eventually became the first in his family to become a physician. He chose nephrology as a specialty because it was a field in its infancy. “The diseases today are the same –


JULY 2019



Field, continued from page 1

The Experts

said Robert Burns, Principal and CEO of ClearlyMD, a Memphis-based practice management firm that provides financial and operational management for several Mid-South medical practices. “We handle everything from operations to recruitment, so the physicians can just do what they are called to do – practice medicine.” To get a clearer picture of the role of today’s practice manager, Memphis Medical News interviewed three healthcare executives who oversee practice management for a number of  medical specialist clinics in the Memphis area concerning the job’s evolving role and daily challenges. All three were quick to mention insurance hurdles and recruitment struggles as well as the necessity for an excellent staff and a clear communication with physician leadership who have aligned goals and a willingness to anticipate change in order to operate a successful practice. In addition to Burns, the executives interviewed were: • Karen Adams, Director of Operations for Semmes-Murphey Clinic and President of the Mid-South Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). • Rusty DeGeorge, CEO of Conrad Pearson.

Karen Adams Title/Organization – Director of Operations, Semmes-Murphey Clinic; President of Mid-South Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Hometown – Tulsa, Oklahoma Education – Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Abilene Christian University Experience – Adams began her career in education teaching children for 10 years. After a decade in education, she worked in youth ministry for seven years in various roles. In 2004, she joined Semmes-Murphey Clinic as an administrative assistant, a position she held for four years. She served as clinic manager for seven years until she was promoted to director of operations in 2015.

Robert Burns Title/Organization – Principal/CEO of ClearlyMD, LLC Hometown – Memphis. Education – Bachelor of Science in Biology from Memphis State University Experience – With 35 years of experience in healthcare practice management, Burns began his career working for Dr. George Flinn in the late 1970s during the summer while in college. The experience solidified his decision to pursue practice management instead of medicine. While managing Dr. Flinn’s practice, he began managing other practices and started Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association in 1985 with Dr. Leigh Adkins and Dr. John Gayden, a practice he still manages more than 35 years later. Burns has consulted in practice management for almost four decades. His management company, ClearlyMD, works with physician practices in the Mid-South.

Insurance Obstacles

All three healthcare executives agree that with reimbursements lower and insurers slow to cover new procedures, it’s a challenge for practices to ensure quality healthcare for patients while maintaining a healthy business model. As a result, Adams stated that medical practices must look at new ways to operate. “It’s getting increasingly harder to provide for patients as a result of the summary of regulations and stipulations by insurance carriers,” she said. “In the past, a practice could send a bill to the insurance company and it was paid. This is no longer the case, and now practices must think differently and creatively, so we can benefit from new reimbursement models.” A new payment structure emerged with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act nine years ago. The way providers are paid, in some cases, is linked to quality and outcomes instead of service. Adams said it makes sense for practices to partner with other healthcare entities, like hospital systems, so they can benefit from the quality of outcomes, which allow practices to have

Rusty DeGeorge Title/Organization – CEO, Conrad Pearson Hometown – Biloxi, Mississippi Education – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi Experience – After briefly working for a textile manufacturer in Stonewall, Mississippi, after college, DeGeorge began his career in healthcare in 1985 working as a human resources manager for the largest multispecialty clinic in Mississippi. He moved to Memphis in 1992 to work at Pfizer as a hospital sales representative. He joined the Ruch Clinic several years later as administrator of the clinic. Before joining Conrad Pearson, he worked at United Healthcare as a provider relations manager. DeGeorge has worked in practice management at Conrad Pearson for 20 years.


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Field, continued from page 4 higher reimbursement. Additionally, Burns, who has managed various medical practices for more than 35 years, said physicians’ incomes have dropped over the years as a result of lower reimbursement. “Physicians look to us on how to fix it,” he said. Burns revealed that it’s a constant battle to work with insurance companies, especially when negotiating the coverage of a new procedure. He said once Medicare covers a new procedure, insurance carriers could be slow to cover it. They demand that providers renegotiate entire contract terms as a result. It can be time consuming and cumbersome. “Medicare is the first to cover a certain procedure,” Burns said. “Each time this happens, we have to start over with each individual insurance company. In order to change one code, we are asked to completely negotiate terms in order to ask for coverage on one code for one procedure.” For example, Burns said that Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association (MOGA), one of the Mid-South’s largest women’s health practices, which he’s managed for 35 years, began offering 3D mammography four years ago. At the time, Medicare covered the procedure, but many private insurers didn’t. “Other payers weren’t paying for it,” Burns said. “Some still aren’t, and we have to bill the patient directly. It can take months or years, in some cases, for insurance companies to get caught up.” Burns said he would like to see some type of payer reform, so insurance companies would follow the same Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines, the manual that stipulates government healthcare statutes and regulations, such as Medicare. “There needs to be work done on payer standardization,” Burns said. “It would help, so we don’t have to constantly deal with insurance companies for issues every time we need to ask for coverage on one code.”

Recruitment Struggles

All three experts acknowledged that recruiting physicians, medical staff and office employees is a challenge, mainly because there is a shortage of physicians, both locally and nationally, and smaller practices can’t offer salaries as high as large hospital systems can. “It’s challenging for smaller practices to recruit physicians, especially specialists,” said DeGeorge, who has managed one of the largest urology clinics in the Memphis area for the past 20 years. “Hospitals drive up salaries and knock the smaller practices out because they can’t afford to pay them what hospitals can offer.” Burns agreed. “Hiring qualified medical staff such as RNs is challenging,” he said. “We can’t compete with the hospitals in salary. The staff must want a lifestyle change.” DeGeorge said more urologists leave every year than are coming out of residency. “The average age of a urologist is 57,” DeGeorge said. “Many physicians are retiring, and there’s a finite number of people available to replace them. We’re already in memphismedicalnews


the negative to replace them because there aren’t enough to fill the vacancies coming out of medical school. Over the next decade, 10,000 people will be eligible for Medicare. There is, and will continue to be, a need for physicians.” Burns said that some subspecialists, such as a perinatologist, who is an OB-GYN who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, are so specialized that practices have difficulty finding a candidate to fill a position. “There are just so many spots available in medical schools for urologists, and those residency spots are full,” DeGeorge said. “We need to have more spots in medical schools available, but that takes more money and resources.”


Keys to Success

All three experts said it’s imperative for practice management staff and physician leadership to have similar goals in order for a medical practice to be successful. Burns emphasized that the first step to achieving the same goals is to have open communication. “It’s important to have a good relationship with the physicians,” Burns said. “Respect that it’s their practice. It’s my job to provide the possible outcomes and know what they want and expect. A physician may want to upgrade the practice’s technology. We run the numbers to show them why it may or may not be in their best interest. This starts with good, open communication.” DeGeorge said it’s important that everyone is invested in the practice so that the focus is on patient care. “You need the right staff in place and the physicians invested in the infrastructure,” DeGeorge said. “It’s important to not be stretched too thin, but to not be overstaffed either. You have to have the right people doing the right things. We are here to support the physicians, and it’s our job to make that as efficient as possible.” Adams said it’s important as a practice administrator to anticipate change. “You must be forward thinking and learn to predict change,” she said. “Healthcare isn’t a static industry.” Adams referenced important milestones for Semmes-Murphey, such as when the practice converted to electronic records and placed electronic kiosks for patients to check in inside its offices. “Technology has changed the way we do business internally,” Adams said. “We have to look at solutions and leverage them for high productivity and efficiency.” With healthcare laws changing and technology increasing at high speed, all experts said it’s important to network with other practice administrators to learn about successes and failures. Memberships in professional organizations like the Medical Group Management Association provide insight in the ever-changing landscape of healthcare. Despite rapid change, all experts agreed that the field of practice management is rewarding because the ultimate goal, for everyone, is to make patients better. “There’s never a dull moment,” DeGeorge said. “You have to have a thick skin to be in this field. You have to deal with different personalities. No two days are the same, but it’s the best job there is.” 


Dr. Kashif A. Latif was born in Pakistan and attended Aga Khan University Medical College there. He practiced internal medicine in Dyersburg, TN. He came to Memphis in 1992 and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Tennessee. He married Shazia Hussain, a pediatrician, in 1997. When his son, Ahmed, was diagnosed at 11 months of age with juvenile diabetes, Dr. Latif then decided he wanted to specialize in Endocrinology. He felt he could better learn how to monitor and live with his son’s diabetes, and care for patients with diabetes and diseases of metabolism. After completing his training, Dr. Latif opened AM Diabetes and Endocrinology Center in 2002. The center is named in honor of his son. Dr. Latif has 21 years of experience in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism. He is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine and is affiliated with 25 hospitals and has contributed to 6 publications. To refer your patient to Dr. Latif, please call: 901) 384-0065.

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GrandRounds Eye Care Event to Be Held August 29 The Surgical Eye Care Foundation (ECF) has partnered with 20/20 Memphis, the Eye Specialty Group, The Southern College of Optometry and the Church Health Center for its annual “Eye Love My Community Day” to be held Thursday, August 29. A team of companies and healthcare professionals will be donating their time and materials for the event designed to promote awareness and deliver eye

care for those who have little or no resources for assistance. Approximately 80 surgical cataract procedures are expected to be performed at two surgery centers – one in Memphis and one in Southaven, Mississippi – as part of the event. Six Eye Specialty Group doctors will be providing the free cataract surgeries at their Ridge Lake and Southaven Surgery Centers. Those wanting more information should visit or call Cindy Brandon at 901-820-2256. Appli-

Church Health Announces New COO, CFO Church Health has named Jenny Bartlett-Prescott its Chief Operating Officer and Jennie Robbins its new Chief Financial Officer. Both will continue to report to G. Scott Morris, MD, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Church Health. Bartlett-Prescott, who most recently had served as senior director of Integrated Health, joined Church Health in 1997, after graduating from Rhodes College. During her 22-year tenure, she has led held a number of positions at Jenny Bartlett-Prescott Church Health, including clinical services, programs and outreach. In her new role, she will lead day-to-day operations and support Dr. Morris in guiding patient care and strategic Jennie Robbins direction. She will continue to oversee the medical, dental, behavioral health,

physical rehabilitation and eye care clinics; nutrition programs; the Healthcare Advisory Team (HAT), which facilitates the MEMPHIS Plan, Church Health’s small business health coverage program; and Faith and Health Ministry Resources, responsible for congregational engagement and health ministry publications. In addition, Bartlett-Prescott oversees research, measurement and reporting systems to ensure close monitoring and continuity of care. Active in the community, BartlettPrescott volunteers at her church and coaches youth soccer. Robbins most recently served as senior director of Finance and Performance. Prior to her current role, she served as director of the MEMPHIS Plan, Church Health’s affordable healthcare plan for small businesses and selfemployed people in lower-wage jobs that relies on donated services from volunteer doctors, area hospitals, and laboratories. Before joining Church Health in 2007, Robbins worked in commercial lending in Memphis. She is a graduate of University of New Orleans. Her community involvement includes serving on the Board of Advisors of Memphis Bio-works Foundation’s New Market Tax Credit Program, Tennessee Charitable Care Network Association, and the Junior League of Memphis.

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cation to participate or nominate someone else in the event should be made by August 17.

Opioid Prescriptions Continue Decline in Tennessee A recent report shows a 13.3 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions in Tennessee between 2017 and 2018, and a 32.3 percent drop in the five-year period since 2013. According to the data, Tennessee performed slightly better than the national average during the most recent 12-month period and is on par with other states for the five-year downward trend. More  state-by-state data  from the American Medical Association Opioid Task Force also showed a dramatic increase in the number of queries to Tennessee’s Controlled Substance Monitoring Database (CSMD), rising from 8.6 million in 2017 to 11.4 million in 2018. CSMD information is used to identify and address overprescribing and prevent patients from “doctor shopping” for prescriptions. According to the AMA report, CSMD queries in Tennessee have increased every year since 2014, when state officials reported 5 million queries. Nearly 51,000 physicians and other healthcare providers are now registered to use the Tennessee CSMD, up from about 39,000 in 2014. “Our focus in the Tennessee medical community for the past several years

has been – and continues to be – controlling what we can control with opioid prescribing and getting better at nonopioid pain management,” said Elise C. Denneny, MD, a Knoxville otolaryngologist and president of the Tennessee Medical Association. “We continue to focus on appropriate opioid reduction while creating best team-led practices to address pain. This data affirms that we are moving the needle in the right direction and progressing in areas where physicians can make a real difference fighting the epidemic.”

Levy Dermatology Adds Marketing Specialist Jacey Whirley has joined Levy Dermatology as marketing specialist. Prior to her new role, she served in various related roles including email marketing and digital strategy coordinator for Tommy Hilfiger; marketing coordinator for Nina Jacey Whirley McLemore, Inc.; and held marketing and public relations. Whirley earned a BA in public relations at the University of Memphis. Levy  Dermatology has offices in East Memphis and Collierville and specializes in medical, surgical, cosmetic and aesthetic skin care.

Decision Easy as Pie, continued from page 3 mainly diabetes and hypertension – but now people live longer and that creates new problems,” said Dr. Hernandez. “The disease remains, but now we have more complications. “For example, we see more patients with amputations that we didn’t see before. We also see more people with congestive heart failure and the kidneys fail so they continue on dialysis.” The kidneys eliminate toxins, produce important hormones and have an important working relationship with the heart and liver which must remain strong. “If you have a used car, they might tell you the transmission is new, but the engine is a little bit old,” Dr. Hernandez said. “If the engine is old, though, the transmission is not going to run. You’ve got a lemon. In the same way, if the heart is really weak then the kidneys aren’t going to work.” Today he spends most of his time not at the out-patient dialysis clinics but at the hospitals tending to the very sick. “I like the ICU and sick care,” said Dr. Hernandez. “I like to see patients who offer me a challenge. That’s what I do on a daily basis, to relate to patients and their families.” He and his wife like to visit Spain and their three grown children – two daughters and a son – and six grandchildren, living

in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles. Dr. Hernandez also pursues a passion he acquired when he was 9 years old: playing the bagpipes, the mid-range Galician version from his homeland. “I played with a group in Northern Spain and with a choir,” he recalled. “I was a professional at one time when I was young. It’s an instrument you have to play with your heart. You fill that bag with air and you feel it in your chest, so it’s one instrument and one person. One unity. You have to play with your heart and your soul.” While bagpipes are often heard at funerals in the United States, such as those for fallen law enforcement officers, Dr. Hernandez said his style is more for marches or for classical concerts, such as the one he did four years ago before 400 fellow members of the European Fraternity of Sailing. He is still a fraternity member, though now his boat has a motor. “I gave a concert in Spain on Johan Sebastian Bach with bagpipes,” he said. “People had never heard that before. I play for friends, but not really so much in public. I just play for pleasure. “The only one who hears it here is my wife at home, and she says 30 minutes and stop. It is very loud.” memphismedicalnews


GrandRounds Teri McCann Appointed to MAPA Board Teri McCann, PhD, CEDS, founder and executive clinical director of Fairhaven Treatment Center, has been appointed to the Memphis Area Psychological Association Board of Directors. McCann founded Fairhaven Treatment Center five Teri McCann years ago in Memphis. It offers comprehensive clinical treatment for adolescent girls and adult women struggling with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Ner-

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vosa, Binge Eating Disorder and other specified feeding or eating disorders. The Memphis Area Psychological Association is dedicated to advancing psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human prosperity.

UTHSC Names Associate Dean of Pharmacy, Knoxville Shaun Rowe, PharmD, MS, BCPS, BCCCP, FNCS, has been named associate dean of the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Pharmacy. Rowe, also serves as an associate professor in the department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science, and is a pharmacist specialist in neurology/neurocritical care at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He will be responsible for providing administrative direction by identifying potential opportunities in the East Tennessee region.

UTHSC Assistant Professor Awarded $1.9 Million Grant Nikhlesh K. Singh, DVM, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has been awarded $1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help discover the pathological mechanisms that Nikhlesh K. Singh regulate inflammatory responses in patients with retinal neovascularization, with a goal to develop targeted therapies to preserve their retinal health. Singh’s project titled, “Cellular Mechanisms of Pathological Retinal Neovascularization,” is being funded for five years. “The development of new therapeutic approaches against retinal neovascularization is limited because of our lack of knowledge about its pathophysiology,” Singh said. “We know that elevated levels of inflammation and inflammatory mediators have been observed in retinas or in the vitreous body of patients with pathological RNV. We also know that inflammation may exacerbate RNV’s harmful effects. What is unclear is the functional significance of these inflammatory mechanisms and how we can control them.” Retinal neovascularization is most commonly seen in people suffering from diabetes or macular degeneration, and in premature babies. Intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy and laser treatments are currently the only treatment options available. However, research shows optimal benefits are not always received by patients who undergo these therapies.

UTHSC Names Director of Assessment for College of Pharmacy Elizabeth Hall, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, has been named director of assessment for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Pharmacy. She will be responsible for leading and managing assessment activities and the process, proElizabeth Hall cedures, and reporting of the college’s assessment program. Additionally, Hall will also lead faculty enrichment opportunities in the areas of educational delivery and assessment and assist faculty with achieving teaching effectiveness. Hall, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, specializes in oncology. She previously worked for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a clinical pharmacy specialist. She is involved in the Children’s Oncology Group, Tennessee Pharmacists Association, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, and the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group.

Occupational Therapy Students Host Art Show

eral, state and commercial healthcare quality improvement programs in a 12-state region. Dr. Heavrin will provide clinical and administrative leadership across healthBenjamin S. Heavrin care settings while working closely with Qsource staff to help define and achieve the organization’s corporate goals. Heavrin is a board certified emergency medicine physician practicing in middle Tennessee. Dr. Heavrin brings about two decades of clinical experience to Qsource. He served as a faculty member at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the University of Tennessee St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital and TriStar Skyline Medical Center He completed his undergraduate studies in economics at Princeton University and relocated to Tennessee to complete degrees in business and medicine. He earned a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in healthcare from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

Occupational Therapy students from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will host the third annual Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center Art Show and Auction on Thursday, July 25, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Madison Plaza Lobby, 920 Madison Avenue Themed “The Greatest Art Show,” the event, which is free and open to the public, will benefit the Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center, a pediatric student-run, pro bono occupational therapy clinic that provides OT services to the uninsured and underinsured. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on artwork created by children as well as purchase artwork created by adults. Some of the artwork has been created by children or adults in the community who have received therapy sessions. Proceeds will benefit the center named in memory of Rachel Kay Stevens, who died shortly after beginning OT school at UTHSC. The center is managed and staffed by OT student volunteers under supervision of faculty. Community partners include Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Shelby County Schools, Germantown Schools, Concord Academy, Ronald McDonald House, Southern Reins, Simple Strokes, and JoyLife901.

Qsource Selects Benjamin Heavrin as Chief Medical Officer Benjamin S. Heavrin, MD, is the new Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Qsource, a Tennessee-based not-forprofit consultancy that oversees fedJULY 2019



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