January 2020 Newsletter

A new year brings renewed hope, new opportunities, new adventures, and new ways to give and love. 

May this be your best year ever!

Happy New Year to Everyone!  New Year’s Resolutions Statistics – Do you have one?  

Researchers say about 60 percent of us make New Year's resolutions but only about 8 percent are successful in achieving them. Here are the top 5 New Year's resolutions according to a survey of 2,000 people:

  1. Diet or eat healthier (71 percent)
  2. Exercise more (65 percent)
  3. Lose weight (54 percent)
  4. Save more and spend less (32 percent)
  5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26 percent)
  6. Quit smoking (21 percent)
  7. Read more (17 percent)
  8. Find another job (16 percent)
  9. Drink less alcohol (15 percent)
  10. Spend more time with family and friends (13 percent)

DiagnosTEX will be running vans January 2nd and 3rd after New Year’s!  We wish everyone a blessed, healthy and prosperous New Year! We are looking forward to working with you again in 2020!

2020 DiagnosTEX Dysphagia Calendars are distributed!  Thank you for all the great feedback!  So much fun to see how much anticipation there is for them each year. We have only a few left, if you have not received one, please let us know!

New DiagnosTEX service agreements being distributed Updated Fee schedules for 2020 - I know it is hard to believe but we have not updated service agreements with facilities in over two years.  We will be updating our Fee schedules to meet the 2020 requirements. We, like you, do our best to stay ahead of the game and avoid pitfalls. Call us and we will fax you one, or you can find it on our website at www.DysphagiaDiagnosTEX.com

We are also handing out our 2020 Facility and HH packets with all updated paperwork. You can also download this from the website at www.DysphagiaDiagnosTEX.com.   Please do not forget that Starting January 1, 2020, you must submit the new Medicare number/ Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) with ALL of your new referrals. 

DiagnosTEX has new members of our family -   Katie Dusold is our new front desk person.  She is who you will get to know the best as she will be answering the phones and getting your studies scheduled. Kari Welling is in AR and can help with facility payments.  We are excited to have them, please welcome them when you call in!

Unpredictable Weather in Texas – It’s been a warm winter… so far! - Unfortunately in Texas, we do not get a beautiful flaky snowfall, we get ice (usually black ice).  Our weather can change overnight! This kind of weather obviously becomes a problem for anyone who travels.  Most of our daily routine is traveling extensively in all directions! As winter approaches and the threat of severe weather conditions arise, DiagnosTEX owners and drivers will evaluate the conditions of the roads and DiagnosTEX will contact all scheduled facilities immediately if we are unable to meet our appointments for that day.  If the weather conditions are unsafe for driving, we will cancel the day and reschedule the studies as promptly as possible. Even though roads may be passable in one area, it does not mean passing through another area to get it is possible and we have to take all routes and directions into consideration. We have precious cargo on board on mobile clinics, most importantly our staff! 

Choking Risks on the Rise? -   It is the 4th leading cause of unintentional death in the USA. Of the 5,000 choking deaths in 2017, 2,800 were those over the age of 74. Approximately one child dies every 5 days from choking on food. Country singer Ned LaDoux’s (son of Chris LaDoux) 2-year-old daughter passed away in October 2019 from a tragic choking episode. Non-food items are most likely to cause choking: marbles, balloons, coins, buttons, pills, pebbles, beads, small erasers, small toys, and small flat batteries. The odds of dying from choking are 1 in 2,696 and people are more fearful of flying. Airlines crashes are 1 in 205,552 (bit.ly/crash-odds). In today’s society, we eat fast, we eat while multi-tasking, and we often eat alone. We eat distracted by screens or eat while driving. High-risk foods are: too large of sandwiches, round/slippery/hard candies, gummies, dry consistencies, stringy consistencies, and compressible consistencies such as marshmallows, popcorn, and hot dogs. (Archambault., N., Paskay, L, 2019) This is why an MBSS is so important to screen for structural, functional, oral sensory, behavioral, and environmental. We need to consider the interplay between all these factors and incorporate not only the chart review but observations and patient/family interviews for lifestyle.

Nutrition - How do you get protein on a puree or soft diet?

Your body needs both proteins and good carbohydrates. Foods rich in protein include:

Meat. – puree, ground or minced

Milk, including dairy milk, or powdered milk.


Yogurt (especially Greek yogurt)

Eggs and egg whites.

Beans and bean purée.

Dysphagia Tidbit – BCST – Behavioral Cough Suppression Therapy (Slovarp, L, Vertigan, A, 2019)

Cough that persists despite medical management and r/o dysphagia, is labeled idiopathic or refractory chronic cough (RCC). 

Eight percent of these patients can benefit from BCST. 

There are 4 components:

 1) Education – what sensory receptors are hypersensitivity– such as air temperature changes, talking, laughing, swallowing, strong odors and fumes.

 2) Cough suppression strategies –  Use of competing responses such as distraction techniques, chewing gum, non-medicated lozenge, effortful swallow, relaxed breathing, cough-control breathing, voice therapy techniques

3) Reducing laryngeal irritation – Involves hydration, vocal hygiene training reduce behaviors such as smoking, mouth breathing, consuming excessive caffeine and alcohol. Lifestyle changes affecting reflux and weight loss.

4) Psychoeducational counseling – Understanding emotional triggers and alternative responses to emotional stresses such as relaxing shoulders and slowing rate of breathing.  Treatment may also address muscle tension dysphonia and vocal fold motion.

There is no formal training for BCST but several ways to achieve competency.

AMPCARE ESP It’s a New Year, and Ampcare continues to be in a giving mood. Interested in a FREE Customized AMPCARE RTIC Stainless Steel Tumbler?  All you have to do: Let us know if you have had a patient that you have treated using Ampcare’s ESP and who had their initial and repeat MBSS with DTEX. Please send the dates of the MBSS and the name of the patient to Ronda@diagnostex.us and we will send you your tumbler – great for cold or hot beverages! We will have independent clinicians assessing these studies for changes in kinematics; all identifying patient information will remain confidential. This data could potentially provide our discipline with a better understanding of how we are rehabilitating patients with dysphagia.