The Sunshine State is known for its beautiful beaches, theme parks, and outdoor activities. Take some time this summer and fall to enjoy some of the most relaxing places in Florida.
As always, stay safe and hydrate responsibly!
What is insurance?
Health insurance is a contract between a patient and the insurance company that agrees to pay a portion of health and medical expenses in exchange for a premium. This generally covers the cost of routine care, emergency services, specialty care, and the treatment of chronic illness.
What kind of health insurances are there?
There are a wide variety of insurance policies available in today’s market. Two of the most common are Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO).
Why do we ask?
By asking about insurance, we are able to ensure that our patients are getting efficient and effective care. For example, the following may be affected by inaccurate insurance information:
How can you be proactive in your care?
With constant changes to policies and procedures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to take a moment to keep you up-to-date with COVID-19 information and how we are working to keep you safe.
Continue to keep yourself safe:
The State of Emergency COVID-19 Executive Order is set to renew on October 13th, 2022. We are tracking any updates and changes to the virtual visit guidelines. If you have any questions or concerns regarding virtual visit coverage, please contact your insurance company.
COVID by County:
Duval, Clay, and St. John’s counties are within the high alert level for COVID-19. The alert level is determined by a number of factors which affect the precautions that need to be taken. Keep up with COVID-19 information by county here: CDC- COVID by County
Guidelines and Policies:
Our office follows CDC and Baptist guidelines and policies. You can find more information regarding these guidelines here:
Baptist Jax- COVID Updates
COVID-19 vaccines are available at most pharmacies in the area. If you need help finding a location to get vaccinated, you can find a search feature here:
CDC- Vaccine Information
As always, stay safe!
The Kidney Korner is the newest installment of our blog, The Bean: Kidney Empowerment. We will be defining, explaining, and discussing various topics related to the kidneys, their function, related issues, and conditions that may contribute to or result in kidney damage. We will also be providing helpful resources and infographics related to the topic. Check back monthly for new Kidney Korner posts!
Definition: Kidneys are fist-sized, bean-shaped organs that are located just below the ribcage in the back. Their main function is to filter the blood, remove waste from the body, and produce urine to remove the waste and excess water. Kidneys have approximately one million functioning, filtering units called nephrons. Nephrons contain small blood vessels called glomerulus that connect to tubules to filter the blood and fluids.
What do kidneys do?
How Dr. Munjal Helps:
Dr. Munjal comes from a teaching background and believes that a patient is more likely to succeed when they are knowledgeable about their diagnosis and conditions. He has a whiteboard in every room to be able to draw out and explain the importance, function, interaction, and relationships of various components regarding kidney diseases and hypertension. Based on the patient’s individual needs and case, he will prescribe medications, make lifestyle change suggestions, and order lab tests and imaging as necessary. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to discuss results and any other changes needed. Dr. Munjal’s office staff is also cross-trained with a wide knowledge base to assist patients with questions and concerns.
National Kidney Foundation
National Institutes of Health
If you have any questions about how your kidneys function, call our office to set up a consultation with Dr. Munjal to empower yourself through education.
Our Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) program allows our patients’ blood pressure and weight readings to be monitored remotely by their care team. Patients are able to remain in the comfort of their own home and receive personalized and comprehensive care. By identifying trends and out-of-range readings, we are able to alter a patient’s care plan with more precision in a timely manner to help improve overall health and wellbeing without frequent office visits.
Dr. Munjal seized the opportunity to incorporate this program into his practice when it became available to Medicare patients. Dr. Munjal’s passion for this type of program has only grown since the implementation of this program. “For twenty years, I have said that if I ran an insurance company, I would give all patients a blood pressure monitor and scale as they are two of the most effective tools to take care of one’s health. I have always asked patients to log all readings to review at appointments rather than relying on the one reading taken in-office. This reading may be wrong or an outlier (which happens more often than not) which can greatly affect decision making. If we can see a trend of regular readings in a consistent environment, then we are making better decisions for the patient. These devices are capable of transmitting readings in real time so patients no longer have to maintain a log themselves. Because of this, the care team and I are able to monitor and make decisions as we go along, thus fine-tuning the care plan.”
Our office provides all of the necessities to get started. This includes your Bluetooth or 4G enabled devices and a personalized training session to become familiar with the devices and program. This program is covered by Medicare and most secondary insurances. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your insurance provider. We have seen a wide range of benefits from this program for our patients since we began in early 2021. Our care team has been able to identify trends and intervene faster by altering care plans when we have noticed a change in health status. This has reduced potential hospitalizations, prolonged in-office follow-up appointments, and helped to improve care plans for other providers within the patient’s care team. One of our RPM patients, Mack Gooding, had this to say about his experience with the program: “It is extremely comforting, as a senior citizen who lives alone with multiple health issues, to know that my progress and health status are being monitored by healthcare professionals on a regular basis."
You can learn more about this program by calling into our office, asking at your next appointment, or from our website here.
The CDC defines the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as “a federal law that requires the creation of national standards to protect sensitive health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge,” (2022). The Privacy Rule addresses protected health information (PHI), uses, and disclosures. An explicit, written authorization is required from the patient to disclose any information for routine clinic practices and procedures as well as any marketing or research. Jacksonville Nephrology takes your rights to privacy very seriously. We require annual reviews of HIPAA compliant contacts and all contact information as well as screening all callers and records requests for proper authorization to release information.
What is considered PHI?
Empower yourself with more information about HIPAA and the Privacy Rule at the following sites:
HIPAA Privacy Rule- hhs.gov
HIPAA Privacy Rule- AAFP.org
Be proactive in maintaining your privacy and allowing others to speak to our office by filling out our HIPAA forms and finding our privacy policies on our website here.
The front desk team here at Jacksonville Nephrology does it all. Not only are they the first and last faces you see in the office, they are a well-oiled machine to make all of your visits and interactions smooth and efficient. They have a variety of responsibilities and a broad knowledge base that make them an invaluable asset as a part of your care team. You can often find our team multitasking with phone calls, chart notes, and handling interactions within the office.
This part of the team is responsible for all aspects of the appointment process. This includes, but is not limited to, scheduling, retrieving lab and imaging results, processing new patient and outgoing referrals, and checking insurance and referral authorization status. Additionally, they are responsible for coordinating tasks associated with Dr. Munjal’s rounding outside of the clinic. Our front desk team handles most communications for the office including faxes, voicemails, emails, and other practices and providers.
Beyond this, our front desk team is the first line of defense when protecting your health information. HIPAA’s Privacy Rule sets strict standards and guidelines for the uses of patients’ health information. They work hard to maintain those standards by requiring annual reviews of HIPAA compliant contacts and all contact information (including all phone numbers on file, and mailing and email addresses), screening callers for HIPAA authorization, and other standard privacy protocol. They also frequently sanitize the waiting area and ensure safe social distancing practices within the waiting room.
Thank you to our front desk team for all that you do! We are so grateful for your hard-work and dedication.
Summer has arrived! Summer in Florida comes with relaxation and a plethora of fun activities and events. However, it also comes with many risks to be aware of and proactive in avoiding.
We hope you have a fun-filled summer! As always, stay safe!
6 water safety tips to help save a life this summer. American Red Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved June 23, 2022, from https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/6-water-safety-tips-to-help-save-a-life-this-summer.html
Ask the expert: Does a high SPF protect my skin better? The Skin Cancer Foundation. (2022, March 26). Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.skincancer.org/blog/ask-the-expert-does-a-high-spf-protect-my-skin-better/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, September 1). Warning signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html
Kanuckel, A. (2022, May 17). 10 insect-repelling plants that are known to keep the bugs away. Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.farmersalmanac.com/what-to-plant-to-keep-bugs-away-24734
US Department of Commerce, N. O. A. A. (2021, July 13). How to avoid getting caught in a rip current. National Weather Service. Retrieved June 23, 2022, from https://www.weather.gov/safety/ripcurrent
Hurricane season (June 1- Nov 30, 2022) is upon us. It’s important to be prepared if or when disaster strikes. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a sales tax relief package into law that extends the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday from 10 to 14 days (May 28- June 10, 2022). This package includes pet, household, and survival supplies. The price ranges for tax relief on these products are listed below. More information and advice for preparing for hurricane season can be found here:
In addition to basic food and household supplies, it is important to have an emergency supply of prescription medications. We recommend that there is at least 2 to 3 weeks worth of all medications on hand in an emergency preparedness kit. A great way to store these are with pill bags or resealable plastic bags. The prescription name, dosage, frequency, and expiration date can be written on the front of the bag for ease of identification. Please contact your pharmacy for timely refills of your medications.
For those who may want or need to evacuate or do not feel comfortable traveling to our office, we will be continuing to offer virtual visits. The virtual visit coverage under the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency has been extended through July 15th, 2022 for Medicare patients. For commercial insurance, please contact your insurance carrier to inquire about virtual visit coverage under your plan’s contract. This is subject to change as more information is released.
As always, stay safe!
Florida Dept. of Revenue - Home. Florida Department of Revenue. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://floridarevenue.com/DisasterPrep/Pages/default.aspx
Home. FloridaDisaster.org. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.floridadisaster.org/
Renewal of determination that a public health emergency exists. Renewal of Determination That A Public Health Emergency Exists. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://aspr.hhs.gov/legal/PHE/Pages/COVID19-12Apr2022.aspx
More of our team members have received their COVID-19 vaccine! They proudly display their proof like a badge of honor and we are proud of their voluntary effort to protect themselves, their families and those that we care for.
For more information on how to get vaccinated visit floridahealthcovid19.gov/.
About The Bean
The Bean is a blog on a mission to share valuable information in the world of Nephrology. We believe in empowering through education and The Bean is a great place to find resources and information on topics related to high blood pressure, kidney disease, dialysis and topics that enhance the kidney minded lifestyle. Enjoy and be sure to subscribe!