While it would be great if diabetics could see one doctor for all their care, many end up seeing multiple physicians. Complications from diabetes affect the entire body – ears, eyes, feet, heart, nerves, kidneys, skin, brain and more. Juggling doctor appointments can be confusing and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Key-Whitman Eye Center in Plano has joined forces with two local Accountable Care Organizations (ACO)* to optimize patient care.
Leading the charge for Key-Whitman is Plano eye doctor Anita Jacob. She is now an official provider of general ocular care for Premier Patient Healthcare (PPHC) and Premier Care Community (PCC), two Medicare Shared Savings ACOs that are committed to improving healthcare and providing better-coordinated care for patients.
Getting and staying healthy is easier for diabetics when doctors collaborate
As an ophthalmologist, Dr. Jacob regularly communicates with her patients’ primary care physicians (PCP) because eye doctors are often the first line of defense when it comes to managing diabetes.
As Dr. Jacob explains, “The eye is one of the few places in the entire body that we can visualize blood vessels without actually making an incision anywhere in the body. This is especially important to our diabetic patients because by evaluating the health of their eye, specifically their retina, we get a good idea on what’s going on in their entire body.”
During an eye exam, the eye doctor can monitor the back of the eye where the retina is located. They look for any bleeding or swelling of the blood vessels, two red flags that the patient’s blood sugar levels are high or fluctuating and diabetes is poorly controlled. When diabetes is left unchecked, patients risk vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy, early cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, as well as a host of other health conditions.
For Dr. Jacob, PPHC and PPC make it faster and easier to communicate such insights to the PCP and other specialists. This is not only convenient for the patient, but also helps expedite changes to patient treatment, reduce diabetes complications and improve the patient’s quality of life.
“What’s terrific about working with PPHC and PPC is that we have a direct line to the patient’s other physicians. The shared technology we use through the program allows us to communicate easily with all of the patient’s physicians and specialists, as well as the ACO’s team of expertly trained counselors who help coordinate patient care,” Dr. Jacob says.
Location, location, location – Plano patients don’t need to travel far
Traveling to multiple doctors for appointments can be a big challenge for Medicare patients and their caregivers – especially when specialists are located several miles from home.
Fortunately, PPHC and PPC have assembled a vast team of primary care physicians and specialists in Plano and other cities. Along with eye doctors like Dr. Jacob, patients have access to family practitioners, internal medicine practitioners, endocrinologists, neurologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, ENTs, nephrologists and other specialists.
With the help of patient coordinators at the ACO, patients can find care nearby. Says Dr. Jacob, “Our Plano eye doctor’s office is located at 4100 W. 15th St. in a building with other medical professionals. Many of my patients’ other doctors are located here or a few miles away, which can help save patients a lot of time.”
Working together to improve quality of care and control healthcare costs
According to Key-Whitman Regional Administrator Jared Fulton, COT OCS, the collaboration with PPHC and PPC will allow Key-Whitman to help further advance the collaborative model in improving health care and lowering healthcare costs.
As he explains, “Key-Whitman Eye Center will aid this effort by continuing to deliver exceptional eye care and management of co-morbidities, like diabetes, while working directly with PPHC and PPC practitioners to reduce patient health risks and catch early onset systemic diseases before they become severely problematic. Through identifying, monitoring and treating these high-cost health risks early, we will continue to lower long-term financial costs of healthcare while continuing to deliver the highest quality of care.”
Dr. Jacob welcomes all Plano residents in need of eye care
While the ACO is only available to Medicare patients, Dr. Jacob’s practice is open to other local residents looking for an eye doctor in or near Plano.
“Most people know Key-Whitman as a leader in cataract surgery and LASIK. In the big picture, our goal is to promote the overall health of patients’ eyes in the DFW area. This includes diabetic patients, who need special care. From eyeglasses and contact lenses to the treatment of conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration, Key-Whitman is committed to provide excellence in the full range of vision care for all our patients,” explains Dr. Jacob.
If you are a Medicare patient of PPHC or PPC and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jacob, please call us at (972) 769-2020. Other Plano residents are welcome to call (214) 225-2577 to speak with a patient care representative at Key-Whitman or set up an appointment online. Our eye doctors also serve patients in Dallas, Arlington, North Arlington, Plano, Mesquite and McKinney. Call the number above to schedule an appointment.
* An ACO is an organization of health care providers that agrees to be accountable for the quality, cost and overall care of Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in the traditional fee-for-service program who are assigned to it.
ABOUT DR. JACOB
Dr. Anita Jacob is a therapeutic optometrist who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and a Minor in Health Care Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. She earned her Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Houston College of Optometry. Dr. Jacob is certified in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease by the International Association of the Board of Examiners in Optometry. She is also certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. Outside of work, Dr. Jacob enjoys spending time with her fiancé and friends, as well as hiking, volleyball and dancing.