Do You Need A Gastroenterologist?

RSS Follow me on: When you first start developing digestive problems, you might see your internist or a general practitioner. If you first experience pain, you might end up in the emergency department of your local hospital. Now, if your symptoms continue, or you are not getting a definitive diagnosis and effective treatment — do you need to see a gastroenterologist ? Internists and general practitioners tend to be a little like gatekeepers (although I’m sure that analogy doesn’t sit well with them). In many cases, they can treat a problem and everyone goes on about their lives. You have some diarrhea or some constipation, they offer some treatment suggestions, and then you see if the problem clears up. In most cases, it will. But there are some situations where it will not, and at that point your doctor may consider referring you to a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist is a digestive disease specialist. In the same way that it’s probably better to take your Ford to the Ford dealership than it is to take it to the Toyota dealership, a gastroenterologist might be the best choice when you’ve got persistent, or emergency, digestive problems. Now, nothing against your regular doc, but they aren’t trained in a specialty. You wouldn’t go to your gastroenterologist to fix a broken bone, but you will certainly need one if you have a change in bowel habits or some bleeding . If you’re on the fence, I have some rules of thumb that can help you determine if you should ask for a referral or if you should make an appointment with the gastroenterologist you’ve already been seeing. More about digestive disease specialists:


UVMC welcomes new gastroenterologist to Ukiah

“I have always wanted to return to the Bay Area,” said Dr. Hermens, who continued, “But after living in a small town in the Midwest my opinion has changed about returning to a large metropolitan area. My wife and I have come to find smaller communities more appealing, so when we discovered the need for a gastroenterologist in Ukiah, we thought it would be the perfect fit.” Dr. Hermens has fond memories of his childhood vacationing in Ukiah, “My family and I vacationed here every year growing up,” reflects Dr. Hermens, “I have also brought my kids through the area on several camping trips. When the practice opportunity became available in Ukiah I couldn’t help but feel excited!” As a gastroenterologist, Dr. Hermens specializes in caring for and treating digestive disorders and diseases. Dr. Hermens explains, “I treat intestinal disorders from top to bottom, including the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreas which are all part of the digestive system and included in the practice of gastroenterology. Diseases of the liver are an especially large part of my practice. Most people know that endoscopic procedures of the upper and lower digestive system are one of the primary means for evaluation and management of digestive diseases. I also rely on esophageal motility testing, esophageal pH testing and capsule endoscopy to assess problems of the esophagus and small bowel respectively. One of the things I like best about gastroenterology is the wide spectrum of problems I am able to diagnose and treat.” Dr. Hermens explains, “Gastroenterology is mostly a consultative specialty. Most patients are referred by their primary care doctors for help with specific GI problems.

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West Orange Gastroenterologist Pleads Guilty to Kickbacks

Newark Courthouse

The announcement came from U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. Dr. Green, a resident of Basking Ridge, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to soliciting and receiving more than $14,000 in illegal cash kickbacks for patient referrals in violation of the federal health care anti-kickback statute. Green’s office is located at 61 Main St. in West Orange. Information from the US Attorney’s Office is as follows: “Green was a licensed and board-eligible gastroenterologist who operated his own medical practice in West Orange. From January 2009 through December 2011, Green agreed to take cash payments from Orange Community MRI LLC (Orange MRI) in exchange for MRIs and CAT scans he referred to the diagnostic testing facility. During his guilty plea proceeding, Green admitted to receiving cash on a per-patient basis for approximately three years. Green met with an Orange MRI representative nicknamed Kenny on Oct. 6, 2011, and Nov. 10, 2011, at Greens medical office in West Orange. On each occasion Green received an envelope with more than $800 in cash for referring patients. The anti-kickback charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense.

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