How to Choose a New Primary Care Doctor

Did you know that only 43% of millennials say they would go to a primary care provider (PCP) for non-emergency treatment? Instead of receiving routine preventative care, the majority of millennials are seeking out care on an as-needed basis, turning to walk-in clinics or emergency rooms when health issues arise.

While walk-in clinics are excellent resources for the quick diagnosis and treatment of ailments like cough, flu, and strep throat, these establishments were never intended to function as the primary source of health care for patients.

Walk-in clinics and emergency care facilities are designed to provide immediate care for specific, isolated health issues. They are not designed to provide holistic and preventative care that’s based on a patient’s unique personal and family medical history.

Patients Without a Primary Care Provider Are at a Disadvantage.

One of the primary benefits of having a primary care provider is that you have a health advocate – someone who knows your medical history and is able to provide care that takes your entire well-being into account. Patients who don’t have a PCP are doing themselves a disservice!

How to Find a Primary Care Provider…

Your health insurance plan may provide you with a list of physicians and practices that offer in-network primary care. Within this list, you could have dozens or even hundreds of choices. How do you narrow down your search to find the primary care doctor that’s right for you?

  • Consider your family’s needs. If you have children, you may prefer to see a family practitioner who can accommodate all of your family’s health care needs, reducing the number of visits you have to make for annual exams and other needs. If you don’t have children and only need to consider your own health care needs, you may opt for an internal medicine provider.
  • Visit the office and meet the physician. An in-person consultation is the best way to get to know a PCP. You should feel comfortable and respected in your physician’s office. Do the health care providers listen to you? Do they make an effort to provide care that aligns with your desires and preferences? Can you easily see your physician if you become sick, or is it only possible to see your doctor by scheduling months in advance?
  • Consider location. “Location, location, location,” as the realtors say. Your PCP should be easy to access – one reason why we’ve made our home at the intersection of Green Hills, Sylvan Park and Belle Meade.
  • Seek referrals. Talk to friends, family, co-workers, and other health specialists you may already be seeing. Take advantage of your personal network and seek advice from those whose opinion you respect!
  • Consider hospital access. For some patients, it’s important that a primary care provider has privileges at certain local hospitals. Seeing a physician that has a good working relationship with your hospital of choice can be a tremendous benefit should you require care in the hospital setting.

Find a Primary Care Provider in Nashville

To find a primary care provider near you in Nashville, call St. Thomas Medical Group Department of Children and Adults at +1 (615) 301-7040. You can also make an appointment online.

Do I Need a Hearing Test?

Listen up! Our Nashville audiologists encourage you not to take healthy ears for granted. Hearing loss typically happens gradually, which is why many people do not realize it is happening until they experience significant symptoms or family members notice. Unlike primary care checkups, eye appointments, and dentist visits, annual hearing tests are not a priority for most people.

Fortunately, Nashville ENT Audiology, in affiliation with St. Thomas Medical Group, is here to help you manage hearing loss, tinnitus, balance disorders, and other hearing healthcare needs.

Common Signs It Is Time For A Hearing Test

  • You’re over the age of 60. For many people, hearing loss is part of the natural aging process. If you’re over 60, it is time to make hearing one of your priorities. Simply taking a hearing test every 2 years is an effective first step.
  • You have noticed recent difficulty hearing. Are you turning up the television or radio volume louder than normal? Do you find it difficult to follow conversations? Do you mishear people or ask people to repeat themselves when there is background noise? If you experience one or more of these situations, you could benefit from a hearing test.
  • You hear sound even when no external noise is present. Tinnitus can present itself as ringing, buzzing, chirping, or whooshing sounds in your ear. Many things can cause tinnitus, including hearing loss.

If any of these apply to you, you can schedule an appointment with our Nashville audiologists online or by calling +1 (615) 292-5191.

How Hearing Loss May Affect Your Life

Hearing loss can impact your life in three primary ways. First, people with untreated hearing loss have fewer educational and job opportunities than people with healthy hearing, which has a direct ability on one’s ability to communicate. Second, this impaired communication can lead to social withdrawal as well as reduced access to services. Third, individuals with hearing loss suffer emotional consequences such as a drop in self-esteem and confidence.

Our Nashville audiologists will help you find the right treatment plan. Our solutions include hearing aids, assistive devices, osseointegrated devices, cochlear implants, and rehabilitative education.

Understanding the Two Types of Hearing Loss

If you suffer hearing loss, your doctor will help you determine what kind of hearing loss you are experiencing. “Conductive” hearing loss is characterized by obstructions or malfunctions in the outer or middle ear. Common issues might include a damaged eardrum, impacted ear wax, or an infection in the outer or middle ear.

On the other hand, “sensorineural” hearing loss is attributed to damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. This damage can be caused by the natural aging process, exposure to loud noises (machinery, concerts, etc.), and diseases like meningitis.

Some individuals might experience a mix of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Solutions

Fortunately, advances in medicine and technology have lead to many treatment and management solutions for hearing loss. Our Nashville audiologists will work with you to understand the treatment options available such as hearing aids, surgically implanted hearing devices, rehabilitative education, and much more!

To schedule a hearing test and protect your hearing, please schedule an appointment with our Nashville audiologists online or by calling +1 (615) 292-5191.

What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?

Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine that addresses issues of the digestive tract and liver. It is a subspecialty of Internal Medicine, so a gastroenterologist completes the same training as an internist before pursuing additional fellowship training. By the time the gastroenterology physicians at Nashville’s St. Thomas Medical Group are treating patients, they’ve had five to six years of specialized training since completing medical school.

What Conditions Does a Gastroenterology Doctor Treat?

Gastroenterologists may treat a wide range of conditions affecting the digestive tract, including:

  • Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Colon & Colorectal Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
  • Heartburn, Acid Reflux & GERD
  • Helicobacter Pylori (Stomach Infection)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Liver Disease
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD)
  • Stomach Problems and Swallowing Problems
  • Ulcerative Colitis

If your primary care doctor or an urgent/emergent care physician believes you may have one of these conditions and require specialized care, he or she could refer you to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation and treatment.

What Treatments Are Available at St. Thomas Medical Group?

Providers at St. Thomas Medical Group Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center offer many procedures that aid in diagnosing and repairing issues of the digestive tract. These procedures may include (but are not limited to):

  • Colonoscopy: A diagnostic test that allows the gastroenterologist to examine the entire large intestine. This exam is commonly used to search for possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and other intestinal complications. Learn more.
  • Hemorrhoid Banding: A non-surgical and non-invasive procedure that can be done in-office to alleviate hemorrhoid pain and symptoms. Learn more.
  • Upper Endoscopy: A diagnostic procedure used to evaluate the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. During an EGD test, an endoscope is passed down your throat and along the length of your esophagus to evaluate the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. This procedure may also be used to obtain a small sample for biopsy. Learn more.

Meet Our Providers

Meet the gastroenterologists at St. Thomas Medical Group, and find out what makes our physician-owned practice so unique…

Allan Bailey, M.D.

  • Clinical instructor at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine
  • Teaches Gastroenterology to residents at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.
  • Has served as Chief of Endoscopy at Baptist Hospital and Skyline Medical Center.

Antonio Granda, M.D.

  • Has been practicing with St. Thomas Medical Group since 1978.
  • Professional interests include study of the liver and treatments for Hepatitis C.

Jeffrey B. Eskind, M.D.

  • Holds an appointment at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as an Associate Professor of Medicine.
  • Is part of a multi-generational family of physicians, including his father, brother, a son, and a daughter-in-law, all of whom have practiced or are practicing in the Nashville area.

Howard R. Mertz, M.D.

  • Nashville Magazine’s survey of local physicians rated Dr. Mertz in the top 85 physicians and top three gastroenterologists in Nashville in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
  • U.S. News and World Report rates Dr Mertz in the top 1% of Gastroenterologists in the Unites States (2012).
  • Is the most experienced endoscopic ultrasonographer in Tennessee with a caseload over 14,000 and over 5,000 fine needle biopsies.

Ronald E. Pruitt, M.D.

  • One of the world’s expert authorities in pancreaticobiliary endoscopy (ERCP), performing approximately 500 of these procedures each year.
  • Listed by his peers as one of Nashville’s most talented and respected physicians in Consumers’ Guide to Top Doctors, a publication of medicine’s best.

Edward E. White, M.D.

  • Completed his Internship, Internal Medicine Residency and served his Gastroenterology Fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
  • While at Vanderbilt he served as the preceptor for second-year medical students, as well as instructing a small group in a gastrointestinal section of physiology.

St. Thomas Medical Group Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center

St. Thomas Medical Group Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center is committed to ensuring that your experience with us is relaxed and worry-free, from consultation through recovery. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call +1 (615) 301-7040.