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Archive for September, 2015

Georgia Retina Welcomes New Physicians and Opens New Location

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Georgia Retina is expandingGeorgia Retina its services with the opening of the new Cartersville location. Dr. Robert Stoltz and Dr. Krishna Mukkamala, both board-certified ophthalmologists will work out of the new Cartersville office.

The practice welcomed new physician Dr. Harpreet “Paul” S. Walia who will be working at both the Gwinnett and Stockbridge location. Dr. Hyung Cho, who works out of the Conyers and Stockbridge offices, will also start working at the Gwinnett location. Dr. David S. Chin Yee is going to practice out of the Peachtree City office.

Biographies for each doctor are below.

Dr. Stoltz has participated in clinical trials pertaining to ophthalmology, including his role as principal investigator of the Photograph Reading Center involved with the complications of age-related macular degeneration prevention trial. He currently heads the clinical trials program at Georgia Retina.

Dr. Mukkamala also has been involved in clinical trials, published articles in journals including Retina, Survey of Ophthalmology and Archives of Ophthalmology and has written a textbook chapter on age-related macular degeneration (AMD). He has trained with international leaders in both surgical and medical care of retinal diseases.

Dr. Walia’s clinical interests include macular surgery, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular disorders, age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, endophthalmitis and complications of anterior segment surgery, hereditary vitreoretinal diseases, ocular trauma and posterior segment uveitis/inflammation. He also has published extensive research in prominent peer-reviewed medical journals and presented his work at national and international meetings. He has authored book chapters and been involved in numerous clinical research trials.

Dr. Chin Yee has published numerous articles in a variety of medical journals. He has a broad range of clinical interests within retinal disease and surgery, including management of complex retinal detachments; macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, as well as macula pucker surgery.

For more information, visit Georgia Retina


Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

By Kenneth H. Joel M.D.

Ketamine is a medication that was patented in 1969 and put to medical use in humans in the 1970s. It has had many roles over the years, including as a general anesthetic in adults and children for surgery, a drug used in veterinary medicine for pain and anesthesia, as well as alternative roles abroad as a drug used in regression therapy and “spiritual discovery.” It has also been used as recreational drug in RAVEs in Europe and Canada and sold as Ectasy or MDMA.

Research on Ketamine’s use for chronic pain was first performed by Ronald Harbut, M.D., of Little Rock, Ark., sometimes called the father of Ketamine therapy who worked with Graeme Correll, B.E., M.B.B.S., of Australia. Harbut and Correll first successfully treated patients with intractable pain states in the 1990s, but it was not until 2002 that Dr. Harbut worked with the FDA to create a treatment protocol.

Dr. Harbut and Dr. Correll found that Ketamine was most effective for patients with burning, shooting pain that is neuropathic in nature and characterized as having a “centralized component.” Centralization of pain is an abnormal response and is characterized by changes that occur in the brain and the spinal cord as the result of a chronic peripheral painful stimulus. This process is potentiated by the mechanisms of “plasticity” and “wind up,” which ultimately result in a larger-than-normal receptive field in the brain. The exaggerated receptive field produces a greater-than-expected pain perception.

Examples of painful conditions that involve central sensitization are CRPS or RSD, post-herpetic neuralgia, causalgia, phantom limb pain, peripheral nerve injury and trigeminal neuralgia. Although many of these conditions may respond to Ketamine infusion therapy, most of the studies thus far have been performed on patients with CRPS or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Ketamine’s mechanism of action is thought to be from its profound ability to block the NMDA receptor, the channel or gateway where a painful stimulus enters the central nervous system by way of the dorsal horn. It has been discovered that the longer a patient with centralized pain is exposed to Ketamine by way of infusion at the highest dose possible, the better the clinical outcome.

There are several approaches for Ketamine infusion for the treatment of neuropathic pain. In the United States, the treatment is administered as an inpatient in some facilities as well as outpatient in others. The inpatient method involves the patient’s admission to the hospital, where they are treated with 25 to 50mg of ketamine per hour for five days. The outpatient protocol varies, but it basically involves a one- to fourhour infusion of Ketamine at 25 to 300 mg per hour.

During the inpatient and outpatient infusions, a benzodiazepine is administered to avoid the negative side effects of Ketamine. The patient is continuously monitored and recovered before discharge. Outside the U.S., because it is not FDA-approved in the country, patients are placed into Ketamine comas for five to seven days. These patients are induced, intubated, ventilated and administered 500 to 700mg of Ketamine per hour.

The clinical research studies have shown success rates anywhere from 80 to 100 percent. The most effective method is the coma method followed by the inpatient and outpatient methods. One of the most concerning issues of the Ketamine infusion therapy is the failure of the pain resolution to last. Almost all patients treated with Ketamine infusion require the patient to return for a one- to two-day booster anywhere from two to six months following the initial treatment. The booster is an outpatient four-hour infusion of the patient’s greatest tolerated dose. Research is ongoing to resolve this issue and prolong the effects of the initial infusion.

In conclusion, Ketamine infusions are a welcome effective modality in the treatment of neuropathic pain syndromes. This treatment has shown amazing success in patients with the most intractable, unmanageable pain states where all other treatments have failed.


Kenneth H. Joel M.D.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Kenneth Joel MDDr. Joel received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He remained in Augusta to complete an internship at Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital before transitioning to Vanderbilt University Hospital. While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Joel completed an anesthesiology residency immediately followed by a fellowship with concentrations in chronic pain management and OB anesthesia. Board certified in both pain management and anesthesiology, Dr. Joel currently serves as the Medical Director for the Pain Center, a position he has held since 1990.


Dr. Frank Lockwood Joins Inman Park Primary Care

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Atlanta Medical Center Primary Care Physicians at Inman Park welcomes new physician, Dr. Frank Lockwood. Dr. Lockwood, who is board-certified in Family Medicine, is accepting new patients. He has 17 years of experience in primary, urgent and occupational medicine.

A native of Macon, GA, Dr. Lockwood earned his medical degree from Mercer University, and continued his training at the University of Texas Houston Hermann LBJ Family Practice Program. He is on the teaching faculty for Emory University and Mercer University family practice programs. His primary areas of expertise are: heart disease, diabetology, psychiatry and pediatrics.

Dr. Lockwood is a member of the American Medical Association, American Association of Family Practitioners and the Georgia Academy of Family Practice.


William Jacobs, MD Provides Overview of Addiction Symposium

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

William Jacobs

Reported by Dr. William S. Jacobs         

I recently was invited to attend a symposium hosted by Michael Botticelli, director of the Obama Administration’s National Drug Policy. I was pleased to join representatives from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, National Institute on Drug Abuse, the American Board of Medical Specialties and other medical and accreditation organizations at the White House for the September 18 symposium entitled, “Medicine Responds to Addiction.” The objective: accelerate progress in the medical field to address the mismatch between the growing addiction epidemic and the shortage of trained providers, medical intelligence and treatment.

The American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation (ABAM) approved Georgia’s first-ever addiction fellowship, a partnership between the Medical College of Georgia and RiverMend Health’s Bluff Plantation. This announcement was met with great enthusiasm by the attendees, including representatives of three current and 17 prospective addiction medicine fellowship training programs.

What was impressive to me was: ABAM’s drive to create new addiction fellowships like that in Georgia was supported by primary care boards including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Preventive and Emergency Medicine. In fact, many of these groups are sponsoring ABAM in its quest to obtain a seat on the American Board of Medical Specialties, which would be a landmark for treatment center professionals. To date ABAM Foundation has already created fellowship programs at 36 medical schools and teaching hospitals.

“America must bring the power of medicine and public health to bear to reduce substance use and its consequences,” said director Botticelli. “Today’s symposium can help ensure that the next generation of physicians are well-equipped to bring an effective public health response to substance use disorders.”

When discussing our process in starting the new Addiction Medicine fellowship at Medical College of Georgia, I presented what I believe the primary focus for any new program should be: consideration of departmental, financial and institutional support.  The willingness to support the mission of addiction education and training by the Deans, Departmental Chairmen and Designated Institutional Officers is essential to the establishment of a fellowship in an academic institution. This support will allow for the creation of protected teaching time, training program development and many other resources vital to a quality training program. After organizational backing is achieved, you can move on to what probably the most difficult step — which is finding the funding to pay for the program. Our model combines academic medicine with the private healthcare industry. This allows the opportunity to provide optimal training incorporating the latest in academic information and research in a comprehensive private care practice. I believe this hybrid creates a triple win situation where patients get high quality care, private entities receive highly trained providers and the prestige of affiliation with an academic medical center, while the medical center receives training sites and financial support.

It was clear from the September 18 symposium that addiction medicine is now viewed as a respected, true specialty by other medical specialists. Our next step: the training of more addiction medicine physicians in Atlanta and beyond. These doctors will help primary care providers who are on the front line in identifying and initiating those in need of addiction treatment and to have access to the specialists needed to provide the specialized needed by their patients.  Addiction Medicine physicians will provide the knowledge and support primary care doctors need to empower them to increase screening, prevention and demand reduction so their patients are identified -and treated – earlier in the addiction cycle.



MAA / Cobb Medical Society Joint Meeting

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

September 24, 2015

For more information, visit Medical Association of Atlanta


Resurgens Orthopaedics Welcomes Four New Physicians

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Resurgens Orthopaedics welcomes four new orthopaedic surgeons: Drs. Deborah Kowalchuk, Mathew Levine, Anuj Netto and Phillip Walton, Jr..

Dr. Deborah Kowalchuk received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh (Pa.) School of Medicine and completed her residency at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. She completed a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at the Foundation for Orthopaedic Athletic and Reconstructive Research in Houston, Texas. She is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Dr. Kowalchuk practices at Resurgens’ Johns Creek office.

Dr. Mathew E. Levine received his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and then completed his residency at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia. He completed an Adult Hip & Knee Reconstruction Fellowship at St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock, Arkansas, and is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is delighted to join his sister, Dr. Julie Levine at Resurgens Orthopaedics. Dr. Levine practices at Resurgens’ Cumming and Roswell offices.

Dr. Anuj P. Netto received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where he also completed his residency. Following his residency, Dr. Netto completed a fellowship in hand, upper extremity and microvascular surgery at the University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. He is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. Dr. Netto practices at Resurgens’ Canton, Woodstock and Marietta offices.

Dr. Phillip Walton, Jr., received his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He completed his residency at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program in Boston. He continued his studies with an orthopaedic surgery and foot and ankle fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Dr. Walton practices at Resurgens’ Lawrenceville and Snellville offices.


ASH Meeting on Hematologic Malignancies

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

September 17-19, 2015, Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL. For more information, visit American Society of Hematology 


NFMGMA Meeting

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

September 16, 2015, The Metropolitan Club, Alpharetta, Ga. For more information, visit Georgia Medical Group Management Association


Piedmont Healthcare’s Partnership with Newton Medical Center Approved

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Newton Medical Center is one step closer to finalizing an affiliation with Piedmont Healthcare after the Office of the Attorney General ruled in favor of the partnership agreement on Friday. Effective Oct. 1, Newton Medical Center will become Piedmont Newton Hospital.

“Newton will be a great addition to the Piedmont family,” Kevin Brown, president and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare, said. “Our teams share a common vision and set of values that will allow us to expand access to high-quality, patient-centered care in the communities around us.”

Since announcing the terms of the partnership agreement in May, officials with Piedmont and Newton have worked diligently to determine how best to align the organizations and meet the needs of the community.

“As a result of this partnership, our community will have access to even more specialists and healthcare services,” James Weadick, CEO of Newton Medical Center, said. “We’re excited the Attorney General has given us the green light to move forward with our partnership.”

Georgia’s Office of the Attorney General conducts a public review process for all transactions related to the acquisition of not-for-profit hospitals in Georgia.



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