In these uncertain times, a few things remain clear: keeping yourself healthy, proper handwashing, and social isolation are the keys to slowing the spread of this dreaded virus. There is no shortage of information available, but always be sure to consider the sources. Don’t fall for sham treatments and false promises.
The CDC is doing the best they can, and my vast network of physician colleagues are putting themselves and their families in harm’s way to help all of us combat this dreaded disease. This includes my sister who is an infectious disease specialist and hospital president as well as her critical care pulmonologist husband.
The Plan for My Office
As a board-certified Facial Pain and Sleep Medicine expert, I too have been hard hit by the disruption of the medical system. From lack of payment, difficulty in verifying claims, the inability to obtain masks and protective equipment, and more. However, dentists have always been at the forefront of infection control, and our commitment to keeping you safe has never been more important. Because of my unique population, we have gone far beyond the measures suggested by the CDC.
I am trying to keep my staff on the payroll as long as I can. They are good people and it’s simply the right thing to do. Plus, I want us to hit the ground running when the demand surges.
Thankfully, there are many things we can still do by phone. I am currently offering Skype calls for face-to-face consults (regular office costs apply). I am at the disposal of my patients and any doctor or dentist who requires my advice and consultation. Call the office at 916-469-9178 or 1-800-MoreSleep.
The Plan for Sleep Apnea Patients
Sleep apnea patients that cannot get their CPAP services or have yet to get a complete diagnosis to establish the status of this life-threatening disorder cannot be neglected. Currently, sleep labs are closed and portable testing is not reasonable due to the inability to sterilize units between patients.
Many of our incredible sleep doctors are not available right now as they are busy filling in for other staff during this crisis. You will find them working long hours at hospitals and ICU and critical care units, taking care of the most fragile among us, child or adult.
Because of these dire circumstances, I have arranged for my lab to produce a relatively inexpensive oral sleep device that will help mitigate your disease before it increases the risk of immune weakness. This is especially true for those with asthma and diabetes, as well as certain cardiac conditions.
I am currently working to find staff members to scan for these appliances and we will offer them at a steep discount to our regular fee to save you thousands of dollars, and potentially your life. Is it my favorite appliance? NO. It is the best appliance? NO. But it is pretty darn good. Once we get the records, we can mail it to your or have it sent directly from the lab.
When the dust settles, we will reevaluate and be able to use your medical insurance to obtain an upgraded appliance. View the initial appliance as a high-quality band-aid constructed by one of the pioneers of oral sleep medicine and a qualified California-based lab that practices the highest infection control standards.
Normally for a custom appliance, our fee is $3,300. However, those must be authorized by insurance companies and your medical group. We will be making an EMA appliance, custom constructed to my exacting standards, and are offering it at $1,200. This will have to be a cash, check, or credit card only transaction. This includes the full exam that all of my patients get—a $400 value—as well as a panoramic x-ray and potentially a special x-ray to evaluate your airway—normally $300 to $500 value. Because it could take months for us to get back to normal referral patterns, I cannot bill your insurance for this, especially Medicare. Medicare mandates a specific design and we cannot process those at this time. We strongly advise patients over 65 to stay home.
If you already have a diagnosis, I need a copy of your sleep study. I will set up proper social distancing times to see patients for this valuable service. We think we can turn them around in a week if it all goes well. This appliance will be a nice adjunct, even if used simultaneously with CPAP. You will certainly see a decrease in the pressures, making your CPAP more comfortable.
Your loved ones will also be happy to know that the appliance is awesome for snoring!
What to Expect During Appointments
Those that know me, know I love to chat. Unfortunately, this is not the best time for that. We need to keep our social visits short which means I cannot answer a ton of questions. Appointments need to be quick so we can disinfect the room and set up for the next patient.
If you reach out to me directly at email@example.com, I will gladly answer any questions I can. However, please be aware that I am also being inundated with questions from around the state regarding patient care. Additionally, I have a large patient population that is concerned, as they should be.
Please know, I love you all and consider you to be like family. Unfortunately, we are all having to isolate ourselves from our families right now. I too feel the pain of missing out on kids and grandkid time.
For My Pain Patients
I am not neglecting you! If you are a patient of record and need to reach me, you have my contact information for medical refills. Call 1-800-MoreSleep if you need assistance or an appointment.
If emergency trigger point injections and Botox are needed, you are not bugging me! Text me at 916-600-4628. This is my personal cell number. It is reserved for emergencies and pain patients. Please feel free to reach out. Please lead with your name and address as this will be a public post.
If you need refills, the name and phone number of your pharmacy and your birthdate are mandatory. Unfortunately, Kaiser will only take handwritten prescriptions. I live very close to the office and can see true emergencies only—not dental abscesses and the like, but I do have resources to help.
A Word of Encouragement
I started my practice in the U.S. Public Health Service, so I very much understand what the medical community is up against. I have worked in the medical model from my first day of practice. We lived through the AIDS crisis as it developed, innumerable flu epidemic, and now this. Together we will get stronger.
Pardon the verbosity of this post. Please know that I am thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.
Timothy Mickiewicz, D.D.S.