January 2021 Newsletter

Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings. Life's not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it's about doing, being and becoming. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right or at least do it better. Reset, Refocus, Restart.

2021 DiagnosTEX Dysphagia Calendars will be distributed this month!  So much fun to see how much anticipation there is for them each year. We hope you enjoy the new one, as we anticipate a better year! 

Yeah, if we could stop wearing masks...that'd be great.

But……. we can’t so we thought you ought to have one that tells everyone you’re a Healthcare hero!  You are to us!  Get one of the new masks as a Happy New Years gift from us the next time we see you for an MBSS, as we march into 2021 together. 

We have moved a mile down the road from Hurst to North Richland Hills. Our contact information remains the same.  Our new address is 8913 Mid Cities Blvd, Suite 100.  Sometime in 2021, we hope to begin outpatient MBSS at our new office. Stay tuned! 

2020 was a challenging experience for all in the healthcare field, from PPE to caseloads.

Evaluating and treating COVID-19 patients is truly no different than treating other cases. We are still using clinical judgement, critical thinking skills, educating, advocating and communicating with medical teams- as we always have done. But in other ways, our practice has drastically changed to accommodate the COVID-19 situation. There has NEVER been a more critical time to keep our patient’s respiratory status as strong and uncompromised as possible, considering the effect of COVID-19 if contracted. We can rely heavily on our bedside skills or use the proper instrumental assessment during this time, MBSS. Withholding this medical procedure increases medical liability risks as well as adverse outcome to a known or unknown diagnosis of dysphagia.  Existing evidence reported by the CDC indicates that the viral density is greatest in the nose and nasopharynx, it is likely that use of instrumentation that passes through these areas would lead to increased risk for transmission of COVID.oropharyngeal dysphagia is a very common complication in post ICU patients that have required intubation/mechanical ventilation or had tracheotomies or NG tubes. Patients with prolonged intubation should have assessed swallowing before the first oral intake. To determine appropriate therapeutic approaches, you must know what, when and why the dysphagia is occurring. Therapy needs to be customized as there is no one single approach that fits all patients.  Patients deserve follow up repeat studies to upgrade diets in 2021, just as they did in 2019. Let’s advocate for proper dysphagia care.

New DiagnosTEX Fee schedules with the service agreements are being distributed with the Updated Fee schedules for 2021

FDA authorizes COVID-19 combination diagnostic for flu season - A single sample from a patient for multiple respiratory diseases that might show similar symptoms. Advantages of these forms of tests include that it alleviates the need to take multiple samples and they require fewer supplies such as swabs and personal protective equipment. We have tested over 5000 patients and staff in DFW in the last 4 months.  We care about our community, patients and healthcare staff and are honored to team with local facilities to keep everyone healthy and safe as we continue through this pandemic.  DiagnosTEX is now offering this option for patient group testing at facilities in the DFW and surrounding area this winter season.  Call us at 817-514-6271 for more information or to schedule testing. 

CE from your home

January 26 and 27 – Ampcare 2-day Virtual Dysphagia CE. Register at www.ampcarellc.com

April 12-15- After the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA) Executive Board has made the decision to pivot the TSHA 65th Annual Convention & Exhibition to a fully virtual event. Registration for the virtual TSHA 65th Annual Convention & Exhibition is now open!  Register by February 28 to secure the lowest possible registration rate!

Unpredictable Weather in Texas – It’s been a warm winter… so far! - Unfortunately, in Texas we typically 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, does not mean passing through another area to get there 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!

Dysphagia Tidbit – Upper Esophageal Sphincter The upper esophageal sphincter (UES) is that area of the upper digestive tract between the esophagus and the pharynx that intermittently relaxes/opens & closes to allow passage of food and/or liquid during various physiologic events. The muscles of the UES are used when breathing, eating (triggered by the swallow reflex), belching, and vomiting. It consists of skeletal muscle but is not under voluntary control. The UES is composed of the cricopharyngeus , thyropharyngeus, and cranial cervical esophagus. UES dysfunction is identified as an impaired opening of the cricopharyngeal segment, which is also called the pharyngoesophageal segment. Five types of swallowing exercise including Shaker Exercise, Chin tuck against resistance (i.e. Ampcare RPD), Jaw open Exercise, Modified Jaw open Exercise and Head extension, exercise may assist to facilitate the opening of the UES.