Sun Safety: Keep the Sun Fun

Make the most of your summertime fun by staying safe in the sun! Incorporate these simple tips into your everyday routine to protect yourself in hot and sunny conditions.  

Festivals, pools, backyard BBQs – oh my! It’s the season for fun in the sun.  

But nothing can put summertime fun on ice like a sunburn! To help you keep sun safety top-of-mind this summer, we’ve compiled a few tips to work into your everyday routine. No matter the occasion, your age, or your comfort level in the sun, these simple and affordable habits will help keep you safe when spending extra time outdoors.

While it’s especially important to make sun safety a priority during the summer months, these are good practices to keep yourself safe from damaging UV rays all year round. 

Apply SPF 30. Before heading outside in sunny or even cloudy conditions, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. This type of sunscreen shields your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunburn is a sign of short-term overexposure to these rays, and premature aging and skin cancer can be side effects of prolonged UV exposure. 

Be sure to apply sunscreen on all uncovered skin. Your face, nose, ears, neck, hands, and feet are especially important to protect as they are most exposed to the sun. Using a daily face moisturizer with SPF can help ensure your face is always protected.

Reapply every two hours. This may sound silly, but read the sunscreen label to make sure you’re applying it correctly! Sunscreen is highly regulated by the FDA, so you can learn a lot from the labels including reapplication times. Reapply at least every two hours and more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating, as no sunscreen is waterproof.

Wear sunglasses or a hat. The sun’s harsh rays can not only affect your skin but also your eyes! According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, overexposure to UV rays (often from the sun) can cause photokeratitis. Like a sunburn on your skin, this painful, temporary eye condition might not be noticed until after the damage has occurred. Symptoms may include eye discomfort, swelling, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light

To avoid short-term symptoms or even long-term damage that can cause eye disease or cancer, purchase sunglasses that provide 100% UV or UV400 protection, or block both UVA and UVB rays. Make a habit of wearing sunglasses when you’re outside or driving during daylight hours.

A wide-brimmed hat is also a great shield to protect your eyes and the skin on your face, scalp, ears, and neck from the sun. Consider keeping a spare hat in your car or garage so it is always at your fingertips when you’re heading outside. 

Drink water. Water is crucial to protecting your entire body, especially in hot and humid conditions when you may be overexerting yourself! If you’re dehydrated and experiencing prolonged sun or heat exposure, you could be at risk of heat exhaustion. 

Before you go outside to do yard work, exercise, play, or hit a local community event, be sure to drink plenty of water. Bring a water bottle to make it easy to keep drinking water during your time outside and be sure to continue hydrating once you’ve returned inside.

Proactive sun protection can help keep you safe and cool in the summer sun. If you’re experiencing severe sunburn, photokeratitis, dehydration, or heat exhaustion, visit our walk-in clinics in Ankeny or Bondurant, or our 24-hour Urgent Care Clinic in West Des Moines. 

Women’s Health: Your Path to Well-being Through the Years

Each year, National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, urging women and girls to prioritize their health. The focus in 2024,  is on empowering women to seize control of their health journeys and addressing health concerns specific to women. Taking care of yourself encompasses nurturing your physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. From adopting healthy habits to attending healthcare appointments diligently, there are numerous steps you can take to ensure you receive the care you deserve.

 Though most women don’t relish the thought of getting older, they should be prepared for common health concerns that can inevitably come with age and issues that are unique to women with their reproductive organs.

Let’s celebrate Women’s Health Month by raising awareness of these common health concerns for women by age group. We encourage women to regularly visit a trusted primary care provider for early detection and treatment of these health concerns.  

Health Concerns by Age

20s

Women in their 20s don’t have many age-based health concerns, so using this time to be proactive and establish healthy habits can help lessen the likelihood of serious health problems in the future. Here are a few actions to consider:

  • Regular Well Woman Exams: It’s important for all women, if they have not done so already, to establish care with a trusted primary care provider. Women should visit their primary care provider for a standard PAP smear and pelvic exam to screen for any early indications of cervical cancer or HPV every 2-3 years until age 30, according to HealthyWomen.org.  
  • Sexual Health: As some women become more sexually active in their 20s, health concerns such as STIs and pelvic inflammatory disease can arise and effect their fertility and health in the future, so it is crucial to take preventive measures such as:
    • Using condoms during sexual contact.
    • Staying up to date with HPV and hepatitis B vaccinations.
  • Establish Healthy Habits: Practicing healthy habits when young can lessen health risks as women get older. Here are a few habits we recommend getting into:
    • Eat and Drink Healthily: Getting the right nutrients can prevent diabetes, boost serotonin, and promote heart health.
    • Get Active: Combining exercise with a nutritious diet helps women in their 20s maintain a healthy weight and prevent future health conditions from arising.
    • Get Sufficient Sleep: The National Institute of Health recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for an adult woman each night. This can prevent short-term health effects like fatigue or depression, and long-term health effects like hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
30s-40s

Women in their 30s and 40s are presented with unique challenges as they go through their potential childbearing years to perimenopause. It is important for women to be aware of these issues and continue to integrate their primary health care and reproductive health care to achieve optimal health and prevent future health concerns.

  • Women in their 30s often experience health issues typically either related to, or resulting from, pregnancy and/or childbirth. Beginning at age 30, women should also visit their primary care provider for “co-testing” which consists of a standard PAP smear and screening for high-risk types of HPV. After age 30, women should repeat these screenings every 5 years.
  • As women enter their 40s, hormone levels decrease, and their ovaries start to release fewer eggs in preparation for menopause. This can cause irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, infertility, weight gain, trouble sleeping, and vaginal dryness. In turn, women are more vulnerable to other health issues like heart disease, obesity, and chronic pain. This is why it is so important for women to complete age-appropriate health screenings with a trusted primary care provider.
50+

Women ages 50 and older should be aware of their personal risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, followed by cancer. These top health concerns can be caused by lifestyle choices or family health history, so it is vital for women to speak with their primary care provider to assess their risk levels for the following:

  • Heart Disease: The decrease in estrogen levels that comes with menopause lessens the flexibility of blood vessels, causing higher blood pressure that thickens a woman’s artery walls and, in turn, her heart health becomes more at risk. Monitoring a woman’s blood pressure and cholesterol can help identify risk levels.
  • Breast Cancer: This is the most common type of cancer experienced by women in the United States. Certain factors can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer such as dense breast tissue or a history of chest wall radiation, but a vast majority of diagnosed women do not have any present risk factors besides their sex and age. The good news is greater than 25% of breast cancer cases are preventable with precautionary measures to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
  • Cervical Cancer: Generally caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) if it does not go away on its own, cervical cancer can be detected when a woman visits her primary care provider or gynecologist for a routine PAP smear which usually continues until age 65. If discovered early on, radiation and surgery are treatment options and proactively taking steps towards future prevention is possible.
  • Ovarian Cancer: Two thirds of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are older than 55, the contributing factor being that the more ovulations a woman has had, the more her risk potentially increases. While menopause does not directly cause ovarian cancer, women’s chances of developing it do increase with age.
  • Osteoporosis: Women are 4 times more likely than men to experience osteoporosis according to the 2017 study Gender Disparities in Osteoporosis. Believe it or not, estrogen also strengthens and protects a woman’s bones, so as they reach menopause their bones become rapidly more frail.

Regular check-ups are important and there are many other ways that women can have a healthy lifestyle at all ages:

In addition to regular check-ups, women can maintain a healthy lifestyle through various means tailored to their well-being at every stage of life:

  • Nurture your body with a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine to promote fitness and vitality.
  • Make mental health a priority by managing stress effectively and seeking support when needed.
  • Cultivate healthy behaviors such as avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Respect and care for your body by practicing self-care routines and addressing any health concerns promptly.

Finding a primary care provider who is trusted, value-based, and takes the time to listen to a woman’s overall health is the most important thing you can do to promote a healthier future. Regular visits and age-appropriate health screenings will allow women to take advantage of preventive care opportunities so that they can enjoy long, happy lives as their healthiest selves!

 

SEE IF DIRECT PRIMARY CARE AT EXEMPLAR CARE IS A FIT FOR YOU! LEARN MORE

Hy-Vee Health’s Holistic Approach to Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Hy-Vee is raising awareness of the impact of mental health in the nation and how to support the millions who are affected. We’ve created a series of videos providing important information and helpful advice from a team of health and wellness professionals at Hy-Vee.
Dr. Daniel Fick, Chief Medical Officer of Hy-Vee, and Dr. Jon Van Der Veer, Co-Founder of Hy-Vee Health, start our series by discussing mental health status in the U.S. Learn from our healthcare providers how improving sleep can reduce mental health symptoms and stress.

What you’ll learn:

  • Status of the mental health crisis in America
  • Statistics of Generational Mental Health
  • Lack of sleep and the role it plays in mental health
  • How to improve sleep
  • How Primary Care can assist combat mental health
  • Savings through Exemplar Care

Listen and watch on YouTube >

 

Want to know more?
If you are interested in learning more about Hy-Vee Health Exemplar Care  Contact Us.

How do you know if ear pain is serious enough to see a doctor?

Earache is a common problem, particularly in children. It can be worrying, but it’s usually caused by a minor infection and will often get better in a few days without treatment. 

What are the signs and symptoms of earache?

Earache can be a sharp, dull, or burning pain in the ear that comes and goes or is constant. You may get pain in one or both ears. Common symptoms that may accompany ear pain or earaches are:

  • Feeling pressure in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Fever or high temperature
  • Feeling ill
  • Fluid draining from the ear
  • In children, irritability or pulling, touching, or hugging of the ear or both ears
  • Sore throat
  • A lack of balance

What causes ear pain or ear infection?

Ear pain or ear infection are caused by bacteria and viruses. Many times, an ear infection begins after a cold or other respiratory infection. 

  • Inner ear infection: the inner ear can become swollen due to respiratory illnesses providing viral or bacterial ear infections and inflammation of the inner ear can impact your balance. This type of ear infection can begin quickly and become quite intense.
  • Middle ear infection: this is a sudden ear infection that develops quickly and gets better in a few days. It is caused by inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum and usually occurs with or shortly after a cold or other respiratory infection. 
    • Blockage of the Eustachian tube: this is the canal that connects your middle ear to your throat and infections like cold, flu, or allergies can cause the Eustachian tube to become swollen or blocked. 
  • Outer ear infection (swimmers’ ear): this is an infection of the ear canal and is caused by too much moisture in the ear canal or by inserting something deep into the ear. These are very common in the warm, summer months but can occur at any time of year.

Other common causes of ear pain or infection are air pressure changes, buildup of earwax, or reactions to tobacco smoke. 

When to seek medical treatment?

Consider talking to a primary or urgent care provider about your symptoms and options for treatment if:

  • Symptoms show no signs of improvement over two to three days
  • Infection is recurring
  • Pain is severe
  • Other symptoms of being unwell, apart from the earache are persistent
  • You have discharge from your ears such as blood or pus

Don’t ignore ear pain

Untreated ear pain may lead to complications. If you need medical assistance, Exemplar Care is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Schedule an urgent care appointment >

Why is Direct Primary Care Important to Employers?

In 2023, the total average employer cost, including premiums, rose to an estimated $15,797 per employee — an increase of 5.2% from the previous year. Faced with rising healthcare expenses, employers and employees alike seek solutions that prioritize quality care without breaking the bank.

Direct Primary Care is just a payment model – nothing else. It is transparent membership-based healthcare and not a replacement for health insurance (although it can be offered as a stand-alone service). At Hy-Vee HealthExemplar Care, we harness the power of DPC to elevate the standard of care while minimizing financial strain for employers and employees. 

Improve Quality of Care:

  • Personalized, unhurried consultations with primary care providers
  • Same or next-day appointments, ensuring timely access to care
  • Specialized treatment for chronic conditions, tailored to individual needs
  • Proactive preventive care, with dedicated navigation, advocacy, and coaching

Reduce Overall Cost of Care:

  • Flat monthly fees, eliminating copays and deductibles for employees
  • Inclusion of in-house labs and imaging services, minimizing additional costs
  • Decreased reliance on unnecessary expensive hospital visits, ER trips, and specialist consultations
  • Thoughtful referrals to specialists focused on delivering value-based care

Businesses poised to benefit from Exemplar Care’s model of care include:

  • Those with self-funded health insurance seeking cost-effective solutions
  • Companies complementing High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) with DPC
  • Organizations grappling with annual increases in insurance premiums
  • Employers prioritizing recruitment, retention, and workplace wellness initiatives
  • Businesses extending healthcare benefits to part-time and contract workers

Empower your workforce with care from Exemplar Care. Contact us today to explore how our innovative approach can transform your healthcare strategy, improve employee healthcare satisfaction by providing more convenient and greater access to care, elevate employee well-being and drive cost savings.

Learn more about our model of care

Other helpful links:

What’s a Healthy Workforce Worth?

Why Employers are Investing in Direct Primary Care

Milliman Study

 

Exemplar Care Appoints Dr. Michael Line as Head of Patient Care

Des Moines, Iowa (September 26,2023)

Exemplar Care announced that Michael Line, MD, MMM, will serve as the organization’s Head of Patient Care effective immediately. In this leadership role for Exemplar Care, Dr. Line will assume oversight for leading the medical staff and care process. Dr. Line’s previous leadership roles include Chief Medical Officer at Unity Point, Grinnell and Greene County, Jefferson and he has served as a pediatrician for over twenty years.

“Dr. Line is a highly regarded physician who has held numerous leadership positions on health-related boards and committees throughout Iowa and we are fortunate to have him join us,” said Jon Van Der Veer, DO, Exemplar Care Founder and CEO.

Dr. Line’s appointment to the Exemplar Care team marks a significant milestone in their journey to solve healthcare challenges. Dr. Line’s clinical and medical management experience will continue to propel Exemplar Care in delivering personalized, accessible, and high-quality healthcare to their valued members.

About Exemplar Care

Exemplar Care offers a wide range of medical services including Direct Primary Care and around-the-clock urgent care. Our primary goal is to address the existing challenges in the healthcare system.

For more information, visit https://www.exemplar.care/.

“Carve Out the Good Times” While Falling into Wellness

As the days grow shorter and the evenings cooler, we find ourselves at that bittersweet point in the year when we must bid farewell to the warmth and leisure of summer. As the leaves change and fall, it’s time to shift our focus towards embracing a season of self-care, ensuring we enter the winter months in the best health possible. Here are some insights on how to “carve out the good times” all while promoting your wellness this fall season. 

Harvest Season Nutrition

Autumn introduces an array of nutrient-rich foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that fortify our immune systems and protect against seasonal illnesses. In-season fruits and vegetables include pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, and leafy greens. Additionally, indulging in warm fall foods like soups and stews that are often rich in seasonal vegetables and spices not only can help regulate appetite but can also provide a sense of warmth and comfort on chilly days, which can have a positive impact on your mental well-being.

Outdoor Activities

As the weather cools off, it can be easy to hibernate if we don’t have things to keep us busy. Whether it’s raking leaves in the yard, apple picking at an orchard, enjoying a pumpkin patch, hiking through trails, or simply strolling through the park to enjoy the fall foliage, engaging in outdoor activities during the fall season is a great way to keep active and connect with nature. 

Immune Support

Embracing the fall season means not only enjoying bonfires and pumpkin spice lattes, but also fortifying your immune system against seasonal illnesses. Here are some other ways to proactively support your immune system this fall season:

  • Wash your hands often: To avoid colds and flu, the most effective prevention method is frequent, thorough hand washing.
  • Get plenty of sleep: With clocks moving back an hour and decreased daylight, it’s common to find it difficult to wake up in the dark, leaving you feeling groggy throughout the day. It’s crucial that you get plenty of sleep this fall as it plays a huge factor in your health.
  • Vitamins: Consider taking vitamin supplements like vitamin C and D to fill any nutritional gaps and enhance immune function to keep you healthy and energized throughout fall and into winter.

Preparing for Winter Wellness

Fall is the perfect time to prepare your body for the winter ahead to combat seasonal challenges like colds or influenza. According to the CDC, anyone 6 months or older should consider getting a flu shot each fall by October. This proactive approach to winter wellness not only safeguards your own health but also contributes to community immunity to promote a healthier and more resilient population during the winter months. Remember, fall is a season of change and preparation. Make the most of it while nurturing your health and well-being. 

Achieve Fall Wellness with Exemplar Care

Our team of healthcare professionals is here to partner with you to achieve optimal health throughout the year, including fall. 

Exemplar Care emphasizes a personalized, patient-centered approach, allowing individuals comprehensive wellness check-ups tailored to your seasonal health considerations, including flu vaccinations. Additionally, we understand that leaving the cozy atmosphere of your home coupled with the desire to avoid potential exposure to seasonal illnesses can be difficult. Luckily, we offer in-person, or virtual visits to provide you with a seamless way to integrate healthcare into your day. This proactive engagement is what sets Exemplar Care apart from other primary care providers and supports individuals in managing their wellness, promoting a healthy transition into the autumn months.

Fall into wellness with Exemplar Care by your side!

Contact us to learn more about membership at Exemplar Care.

Why Employers are Investing in Direct Primary Care

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a step that many progressive companies are taking to save money on healthcare costs while improving benefits.

As “open enrollment” approaches, employers and employees will have the opportunity to switch health plans and consider switching their primary care provider. As healthcare costs continue to rise, DPC is becoming more popular and many employers are evaluating if it is suitable for their business. Many employers continue to absorb annual increases or pass them on to employees in the form of higher premiums or out-of-pocket expenses – both of which are unsustainable.

DPC offers employers and employees the following benefits:

Lower healthcare costs

DPC provides employees with direct access to their primary care providers reducing time away from work, more access to preventative wellness, and chronic disease management. Savings can be made through primary care compliance, reduced specialist, and ER visits, and more. DPC can also prevent health insurance increases by reducing claim spend and higher downstream costs. Also, less employee absenteeism yields cost savings for the company. 

Increased engagement with a primary care provider 

Employees are encouraged to visit their provider as often as needed via email, phone, text, telemedicine or in person. By addressing healthcare issues early, employees can remain productive. DPC is focussed, on preventative care allowing longer time with a provider when needed and immediate treatment of acute health issues, helping employees stay focused at work and worry less about their health. 

Recruiting and retention

DPC offers employees unlimited access to their primary care provider. It is a little like having a doctor on demand. Longer appointment times with their provider and multiple ways to connect, provide a deeper more engaging provider / patient relationship than through traditional healthcare. Recent studies by both Hint Health and Milliman for the Society of Actuaries confirm that DPC has been shown to improve employee satisfaction, retention, and health while lowering overall costs

Discover the transformative potential of Direct Primary Care at Hy-Vee Health Exemplar Care. Elevate your employee benefits package with personalized care that prioritizes well-being, enhances engagement, and drives cost savings. Join us in reshaping healthcare—one empowered employee at a time.

Bike Safety

We applaud everyone who is embarking on RAGBRAI this year! Even if you are not up for the full event, riding a bicycle is a great form of exercise with many health benefits.

Here are 6 tips for safe and responsible biking:

Bicycle Safety Equipment

Use the following safety equipment on your bicycle and yourself to stay safe while riding your bike:

  • Bicycle helmet
  • High visibility clothing
  • White front reflector
  • White front light
  • Red rear reflector
  • Red rear light
  • Side reflectors on the wheels and pedals (white or yellow)

In addition to bike safety, check out our tips for healthy outdoor summer activities.

Exemplar Care Announces Carl Behne, President and Chief Strategy Officer Onsite Full-time

Des Moines, Iowa (June 19, 2023)

Exemplar Care’s President and Chief Strategy Officer Carl Behne, FACHE, will no longer be balancing multiple organizations, rather he will focus solely on solving healthcare challenges with the rest of the Exemplar Care team.

“We are thrilled to now have Carl full-time at Exemplar Care” said Jon Van Der Veer DO, Exemplar Care Founder and CEO. “His strategic insights and extensive expertise in the healthcare industry will be critical as we continue to increase locations and services to bring innovative healthcare solutions to employers and their employees across central Iowa and beyond.” 

Behne comes to Exemplar Care with significant executive healthcare experience. He recently served as CEO for Burgess Health Center, Monona County, Iowa where he led the hospital and area communities through the Covid-19 pandemic. While there he steered the $18.1 million expansion and renovation of the health center and clinics.  Prior to that, he was CEO at Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, Iowa where Behne and Van Der Veer first began working together over 9 years ago and began their dream of doing healthcare differently. 

Behne was named 2013 Iowa Hospital Association Young Executive of the Year, steered culture improvement which led to being named one of Iowa’s Best 150 Places to Work multiple successive years, oversaw the construction of a $22.5 million expansion and renovation project that improved access to emergency care, developed and led the philanthropic achievement of a $4 million capital campaign goal, and most recently was awarded 2022 IHA Grassroots Advocacy Award, to name a few other accomplishments.

“I’ve been supporting Exemplar Care since its inception and I’m excited to bring convenient, personalized healthcare to patients, and cost savings to patients and employers. Far too long I have seen the opportunities to remove barriers for patients go unmet and I look forward to helping to drive disruptive and systemic change.”

About Exemplar Care

Exemplar Care offers a wide range of medical services including Direct Primary Care and around-the-clock urgent care. Our primary goal is to address the existing challenges in the healthcare system.

For more information, visit https://www.exemplar.care/.