Data from the free student-run podiatric medical clinic at Clínica Tepati at the University of California, Davis, were used to analyze medical and economic impacts on health-care delivery and to extrapolate the economic impact to the national level. Clínica Tepati also provides an excellent teaching environment and services to the uninsured Hispanic population in the Greater Sacramento area.
In this analysis, we retrospectively reviewed patient medical records for podiatric medical encounters during 15 clinic days between November 2010 and February 2012. The economic impact was evaluated by matching diagnoses and treatments with Medicare reimbursement rates using International Classification of Diseases codes, Current Procedural Terminology codes, and the prevailing Medicare reimbursement rates.
Sixty-three podiatric medical patients made 101 visits during this period. Twenty patients returned to the clinic for at least one follow-up visit or for a new medical concern. Thirty-nine different diagnoses were identified, and treatments were provided for all 101 patient encounters/visits. Treatments were limited to those within the clinic's resources. This analysis estimates that $17,332.13 worth of services were rendered during this period.
These results suggest that the free student-run podiatric medical clinic at Clínica Tepati had a significant medical and economic impact on the delivery of health care at the regional level, and when extrapolated, nationally as well. These student-run clinics also play an important role in medical education settings.
Osteomyelitis is one of the most feared sequelae of diabetic foot ulceration, which often leads to lower-extremity amputation and disability. Early diagnosis of osteomyelitis increases the likelihood of successful treatment and may limit the amount of bone resected, preserving ambulatory function. Although a variety of techniques exist for imaging the diabetic foot, standard radiography is still the only in-office imaging modality used today. However, radiographs lack sensitivity and specificity, making it difficult to diagnose bone infection at its early stages. In this report, we describe our initial experience with a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)–based device, which may serve as an accurate and readily available tool for early diagnosis of osteomyelitis in a patient with diabetes. Two patients with infected diabetic foot ulcers were evaluated for osteomyelitis using radiography and CBCT. Positive imaging findings were confirmed by bone biopsy. In both patients, CBCT captured early osteolytic changes that were not apparent on radiographs, leading to early surgical intervention and successful treatment. The CBCT was helpful in facilitating detection and early clinical intervention for osteomyelitis in two diabetic patients with foot ulcers. These results are encouraging and warrant future evaluation.
Background: Ingrown toenails are a common condition requiring outpatient procedures in podiatric medical clinics. To prevent recurrence, chemical matrixectomy is often recommended. Postprocedural pain management is largely based on preferences rather than on a formal guideline. This study aims to explore the postprocedural prescribing behavior among practicing podiatric physicians to foster future guideline and policy development.
Methods: We administered an open, voluntary, anonymous questionnaire via an online survey platform that included a common nail procedure scenario (chemical matrixectomy) and a prescribed demographics section. Podiatric physicians were asked what they would prescribe to manage postprocedural pain. Opioid and nonopioid options were provided. We developed two multiple logistic regression models to identify associations between prescriber characteristics and prescribing opioids after “standard” chemical matrixectomy.
Results: Of the 860 podiatrists who completed the survey, 8.7% opted to prescribe an opioid. Hydrocodone was most commonly chosen. A median of 18 opioid pills were prescribed. No prescriber characteristics were associated with prescribing opioids after chemical matrixectomy scenario. There is a large discrepancy and knowledge gap in the literature on the optimal postprocedural pain management for outpatient procedures, including procedures in specialties such as dentistry and dermatology. The median number of opioids prescribed by podiatrists is higher than that by dentists for management of third molar extraction. In contrast, opioid-prescribing behavior among the 8.7% of respondents is similar to dermatologic management of postprocedural pain in Mohs surgery.
Conclusions: Podiatric physicians cannot assume that their prescribing of opioids does not affect the opioid abuse problem in the United States. The presented study serves to be an initiation for procedure-specific opioid prescription benchmarking to foster future guideline and policy development. After nail procedures, opioids should not be routinely prescribed.
Background: Despite national and international guidelines supporting podiatric services as a means of prevention for lower-extremity complications, especially in at-risk individuals, current coverage for these services under the US Medicaid program is not universal. The vast differences between state Medicaid programs regarding reimbursable foot care services is confusing and potentially serves as a barrier for the most vulnerable populations to receive preventative services. This article provides a brief discussion of “routine” podiatric services from a clinical perspective and provides a review of state Medicaid programs including optional services (eg, podiatric coverage).
Methods: Using data from a national survey of state Medicaid programs, we present and discuss common Medicaid coverage schemes for routine foot care provided by podiatric physicians.
Results: Analysis demonstrated that states vary dramatically in basic descriptions of preventive foot care, levels of coverage, eligibility, and methods of documenting coverage details.
Conclusions: The authors recommend bringing Medicaid in line with other federal health programs and including podiatric physicians in the definition of “physician” for coverage purposes. States should move away from describing preventative services as “routine” and choose language that more accurately reflects the true nature and purpose of the care.
Background: Debridement of toenails is a common procedure that leads to the production of nail dust aerosols in the work environment. Previous studies indicate that inhaled nail dust can cause respiratory distress and eye irritation. This comprehensive review aimed to assess the available literature on the effect of nail dust exposure and to evaluate nail dust as a potential occupational hazard for podiatric physicians.
Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted via PubMed, Google Scholar, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Risks of bias of the collected studies were evaluated using various assessment tools to match the type of study design. A qualitative analysis of the included studies was performed, from which primary and secondary outcome measures were extracted: prevalence of symptoms and specific microorganisms in nail dust.
Results: Of 403 articles screened, eight met the inclusion criteria. The primary outcome measure resulted in a pooled prevalence of eye-related symptoms being the most consistent symptom reported (41%–48%). The secondary outcome measure resulted in a pooled prevalence of Trichophyton rubrum (9.52%–38%) and Aspergillus (11.11%–35.48%) as the most common microorganisms present in nail dust.
Conclusions: From the included eight articles, we found that nail dust is a potential occupational hazard, especially for those exposed more often. Aspergillus and T rubrum are most commonly associated with nail dust leading to development of respiratory illness. It is important to take preventive measures in podiatric medical clinics by using improved and efficient personal protective equipment for workers exposed to nail dust. Detailed health safety guidelines can be developed to decrease respiratory symptoms and diseases from nail dust exposure.
Background: Given that excess opioid prescriptions contribute to the US opioid epidemic and there are few national opioid-prescribing guidelines for the management of acute pain, it is pertinent to determine whether prescribers can sufficiently assess their own prescribing practice. We investigated podiatric surgeons’ ability to evaluate whether their own opioid-prescribing practice is less than, near, or above that of an “average” prescriber.
Methods: We administered a scenario-based, voluntary, anonymous, online questionnaire consisting of five surgery-based scenarios commonly performed by podiatric surgeons. Respondents were asked the quantity of opioids they would prescribe at the time of surgery. Respondents were also asked to rate their prescribing practice compared with the average (median) podiatric surgeon. We compared self-reported behavior to self-reported perception (“I prescribe less than average,” “I prescribed about average,” and “I prescribe more than average”). Analysis of variance was used for univariate analysis among the three groups. We used linear regression to adjust for confounders. Data restriction was used to account for restrictive state laws.
Results: One hundred fifteen podiatric surgeons completed the survey in April 2020. Less than half of the time, respondents accurately identified their own category. Consequently, there were no statistically significant differences among podiatric surgeons who reported that they “prescribe less,” “prescribe about average,” and “prescribe more.” Paradoxically, there was a flip in scenario 5: respondents who reported they “prescribe more” actually prescribed the least and respondents who believed they “prescribe less” actually prescribed the most.
Conclusions: Cognitive bias, in the form of a novel effect, occurs in postoperative opioid-prescribing practice; in the absence of procedure-specific guidelines or an objective standard, podiatric surgeons, more often than not, were unaware of how their own opioid-prescribing practice measured up to that of other podiatric surgeons.
Background: More than 86,000 Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) undergo nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations annually. The opioid-prescribing practice of podiatric surgeons remains understudied. We hypothesized that patients with T2DM who undergo any forefoot amputation while using antidepressant medication will have reduced odds of using opioids beyond 7 days.
Methods: We completed a retrospective cohort study examining patients with T2DM who underwent forefoot amputation (toe, ray, transmetatarsal). Data were restricted to patients with a hemoglobin A1c level less than 8.0% and an ankle-brachial index greater than 0.8. The outcome was use of postoperative opioids beyond 7 days. Patients received an initial opioid prescription of 7 days or less. We developed simple logistic regression models to identify the odds of a patient using opioids beyond 7 days by patient variables: age, race, sex, amputation level, body mass index, antidepressant medication use, and marital status. Variables with P < .1 in the univariate analysis were included in the multiple logistic regression model.
Results: Fifty patients met the inclusion criteria. Antidepressant use and marital status were the only statistically significant variables. Adjusting for marital status, patients with antidepressant use had decreased odds (odds ratio, 0.018; 95% confidence interval, 0.001–0.229; P = .002) of using opioids beyond 7 days after a diabetic forefoot amputation.
Conclusions: Patients with T2DM who used antidepressants had significantly reduced odds of using opioids beyond 1 week after forefoot amputations compared with those without antidepressant use. We proposed an underlying diabetic foot–pain–depression cycle. To break the cycle, podiatric surgeons should screen this population for depression preoperatively and postoperatively and not hesitate to make a mental health referral if warranted. Nontraumatic amputations can be a traumatic experience for patients; psychiatrists and other mental health providers should be members of limb preservation teams.