Help Us Help You: CAHPS Survey

Help Us Help You: CAHPS Survey

It’s that time of year when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be sending the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Survey to a random number of eligible Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to measure their well-being as well as their perception of their healthcare physician, services, and plan. If you’re randomly selected, it’s important that you complete the survey. Here’s a brief overview of what precisely the survey is and what it will ask, so you’re familiar if you get selected.

What is CAHPS?

The CAHPS survey seeks to better understand the overall healthcare experience from your perspective. This knowledge provides results to providers so we can make quality changes that enhance your perceptions and drive Better Health.

What Kind of Questions Will I Be Asked?

The CAHPS Survey includes five parts:

  1. The first component is Getting Needed Care. Survey questions will include “Did you get timely care?” This encompasses how easy it was to schedule an appointment as well as needed tests. We perform many tests and diagnostics right within our clinic. If you are required to go outside of our clinic, we work closely with external labs to set up appointments and provide you with access to accurate, reliable, and fast test results.
  2. The second component is Getting Appointments and Care Quickly, and a survey option will include “Were you seen within 15 minutes of your scheduled appointment time?” We don’t want you wasting time in our waiting room; we want to get you into the exam room as quickly as possible. Sometimes things out of our control happen, and when they do, we do our best to inform you of any potential delays. At SaludVIP, we understand that emergencies happen, and when they do, we want you to call us. We are always available 24/7 with an on-call doctor as well as same-day urgent care appointment availability.
  3. The third component is Care Coordination, and it will include “Did your doctor explain things to you in an easy-to-understand manner?” Because our focus is always on quality, not quantity, our providers can take the necessary time to sit and discuss your needs and concerns, so you leave our office with answers, not questions.
  4. The fourth component is for Annual Flu Vaccine. Patients will be asked “if they have had a flu shot” with a simple yes or no response.
  5. The last component is the Rating of their Health Care. Patients will be surveyed to rate their personal doctor on a scale from 0 to 10. You and your provider are a team. They take a personal interest in you and your health.

Putting the Care in Healthcare

Providing you with the best quality of care is always our goal at SaludVIP. We always strive to go above and beyond to meet and exceed your healthcare expectations. We appreciate you for entrusting your care with us, and thank you for partnering with us for Better Health!

The Effects of Stress and Aging

The Effects of Stress and Aging

Stress and aging are two realities in life. While handling stress can be a little easier when we are young, the effects on our bodies actually change as we age.

The good news is there are some easy ways to identify and relieve stress so you can improve your overall health. Before learning how stress affects the older population differently, you first have to ask how does stress affect the body?

Effects of Stress on the Body

Stress can have an impact on every system in your body. The reaction starts when your body senses danger or some other need to fight. Your muscles tense up, your breathing gets heavier, your blood pressure goes up. That’s because your body is releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol so you have the power and energy to address the threat.

That response is good in small doses, like when you bump into something but are able to react quickly and catch it before it falls over. The problem comes in when those feelings happen really often, or sometimes even all the time.

Constantly dealing with a state of stress can cause elevated blood pressure, problems with the immune system, anxiety, depression, heartburn, digestion issues, and more.

Stress and Aging

Now you’re probably asking, “so how do the effects of stress differ for older people compared to younger people?” The answer is two-fold.

Your Body Responds Differently

Physically speaking, our fitness levels drop, lung capacity decreases, and many people just tend to live a more sedentary lifestyle as we age. Because of those changes, the body can’t handle that natural stress response as adequately as it could when you were younger.

To add to the physical toll, many older adults also deal with chronic disease, which makes it harder to bounce back from physical ailments in general. Now an issue that was already pretty hard on your body hits even harder than it used to.

Then there are the mental effects of stress. Those stress hormones that flood the brain start to take a toll on memory and cognition, which can already be an issue for the older population. None of this is related to dementia or age-related memory loss, though.

The difference you’ll notice in the mental toll of stress from your younger days is actually related to sleep. Usually, a good night’s sleep will reset the brain and get your body back to normal. For many older people, getting restful sleep can be easier said than done. Not being able to do that mental reset can just make those cognitive issues related to stress worse over time.

Changes in What Triggers Stress

Think about the things that caused you to feel stressed when you were younger. That might be something like an increased workload at your job or getting behind on household duties. For older adults, those stressors shift to things like losing a loved one, feeling a sense of uselessness, or the loss of some physical abilities. The very nature of those stress triggers shifts how impactful the stress symptoms can be.

Stress Symptoms to Look Out For

Sometimes it’s hard to equate certain physical ailments to stress symptoms. If your body is in a stressed state almost constantly, you can kind of just get used to feeling the symptoms and think they’re normal. If you know the changes to look for, it’s a little easier to realize they are stress symptoms and not something else. It may even take a friend or family member to point them out to you.

Here are the stress symptoms to look for:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in mood, such as anxiety, sadness, being more irritable, or overactivity
  • Short-term memory or concentration difficulty
  • Bad judgment that’s out of the norm
  • Socially isolating
  • Not paying attention to personal care
  • Having more headaches or aches and pains in general
  • Being sick frequently
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Excessive fatigue or trouble sleeping

As you can see, many of these symptoms could be easily construed as being caused by some other problem. Many of them are also indicative of depression. But when you get down to the root of the problem, it may just be stress that’s getting out of hand.

Stress Relief Activities

So now that you know the effects of stress and stress symptoms to watch out for, you need to learn some stress relief activities. Fortunately, there are several things you can do at home to help slow your mind down and melt that stress away.

Deep Breathing Exercises

You probably don’t put much, if any thought into breathing, but you should. Breathing is what gets the oxygen flowing through your blood vessels and gets rid of carbon dioxide.

Taking some time every day to sit and really focus on how you are breathing can help you more efficiently get your body supplied with the oxygen it needs. Take deep breaths so your stomach pokes out as you inhale. You’ll feel your lungs stretch downwards and your chest fill up with air. Then slowly exhale. You’ll start feeling the stress levels dropping after the first few breaths.


This method can be combined with your breathing exercises. Meditation has been shown to both relieve stress you’re dealing with now and help prevent you from getting too stressed out in the future.

Practicing meditation can take on many forms, but it usually is done by clearing your mind of any thoughts or focusing on one specific thought. You’ll spend about 5 to 20 minutes clearing your mind of those stressful thoughts and calming down your body and mind.

Brain Exercises

Sometimes a little mental stimulation can help melt away your stress. Things like putting together a puzzle or doing a crossword puzzle can get your mind totally focused on that problem-solving activity you’re doing instead of lingering on stressors.

Exercising your brain is also important for your cognitive health. Keeping your mind in shape by doing brain exercises can help prevent dementia and keep you sharp.

Reducing Triggers

You can probably pinpoint some of the things that stress you out. Once you know what those things are, reducing their impact on your life will help you stay more relaxed. Yes, this is easier said than done, but really addressing the root of the stress can improve your life in many ways.

For example, if one of your main triggers for stress is a feeling of uselessness, you have to try keeping yourself busy. Finding somewhere to volunteer for a good cause or even picking up a part-time job are popular options. Even just setting up a weekly or monthly event where you go to an event with friends or family can work wonders. Getting out and socializing is also another way to exercise your brain.

Take a Deep Breath

Just take a minute to focus on your breathing, relax your shoulders, and remember you can handle this. Enjoying your golden years might take a little work at first. It’s just another one of those things life throws at us. Remember to breathe and enjoy the little things. It can always make those stressors seem a little less important.

If you keep feeling the effects of stress, you can always talk to your doctor about it. Sometimes your body may be having physical effects of stress that you can’t really pinpoint without a professional’s help. Your physician is there to help guide you on your way to Better Health.

What is a Cardiolite Stress Test, and How Can It Benefit You?

What is a Cardiolite Stress Test, and How Can It Benefit You?

A cardiolite stress test, also commonly referred to as a nuclear stress test or a myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) test, is one of the most common, non-invasive diagnostic heart tests performed. It uses a radioactive imaging tracer to measure the blood flow to your heart muscles. It can show if you have any blockages or heart damage affecting blood flow.

Cardiolite stress tests can be highly beneficial and play a vital role in diagnosing and managing cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. So let’s take a closer look at how a nuclear stress test works to diagnose and treat heart problems.

How is a Cardiolite (Nuclear) Stress Test Performed?

Before your stress test begins, a nurse or technician will insert an IV line into your arm. They will then inject the radiotracer solution into your bloodstream. It can take a few minutes for your heart cells to absorb the solution. You will then lie still on a table as a gamma camera takes images of your heart. For a nuclear stress test, two sets of images are taken – one set while your heart is at rest and a second set when it’s under stress (exercise).

Prior to you starting the actual stress test, a nurse or technician will place electrodes (sticky little patches) on your chest. These electrodes help to monitor your heartbeat using an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) machine. Your blood pressure will also be monitored throughout the test.

For the test, you will walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. Your speed and incline will incline to get your heart rate up. You’ll continue to exercise and exert yourself until you reach a predetermined target set by your physician.

Once you reach your targeted heart rate, you’ll receive another injection of the radiotracer, and the second set of images will be taken of your heart. These images provide your physician with a detailed look at your heart when it’s forced to pump more blood than normal.

What If I’m Unable to Exercise During My Stress Test?

If for any reason you’re unable to engage in physical activity, such as on the treadmill or the stationary bike, your doctor will inject a medication into your IV line that increases blood flow to your heart. This will safely mimic the effect exercise has on your heart. You may even experience side effects similar to those caused by exercise, such as flushing or shortness of breath.

Benefits of a Cardiolite Stress Test

Individuals with known cardiac issues and those with no known diagnosed heart conditions can benefit from a nuclear stress test. The stress test provides doctors with important information, including:

  • The size of the heart chambers
  • How efficient the heart is pumping blood
  • If there are any blockages or narrowing of the arteries
  • Whether there is any heart damage

If you haven’t already been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, the stress test will help your doctor determine your risk of potentially suffering from a heart condition in the future. It provides accurate results of the condition of your heart. It shows if you have signs of damage from an undiagnosed or undetected heart attack or other heart-related episode. This data allows your doctor to prescribe any preventative measures necessary to keep your heart healthy and pumping.

If you’ve been previously diagnosed with heart disease, the data obtained from a nuclear stress test can show the severity of your condition. If you’re currently on a course of treatment, the stress test will gauge its effectiveness. It will show whether your treatment is working, and to what degree. Your physician can then use the data gathered to alter that course of treatment or create a new maintenance treatment plan that is right for you.

Don’t Delay – Get Your Heart Checked Today

No matter how mild your symptoms might be, contact your healthcare provider today if you’re experiencing any signs of heart disease. Heartburn, heavy breathing, chest tightness, dizziness… They can all be warning signs that something serious is going on. Nearly half of all American adults have some sort of cardiovascular disease. It’s not worth taking a chance. A cardiolite stress test can set a benchmark and help monitor your heart disease risk. In addition, it could possibly help to prevent serious damage from occurring.

Get the answers, care, and treatment you deserve and ensure your heart is as healthy as it can be by scheduling an appointment with a SaludVIP primary care provider today!

Boost Your Health with a Cool Treat: Nutrient-Rich Blueberry Popsicles

Boost Your Health with a Cool Treat: Nutrient-Rich Blueberry Popsicles

Healthy Blueberry Popsicles

If there’s one superfood you need to fit into your diet, it’s blueberries. These little blue gems are packed with antioxidants, which can help protect your body against all sorts of diseases and illnesses. They have been found to maintain healthy bones, reduce blood pressure, manage diabetes, and ward off heart disease.


  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk or 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey (to taste)
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
  2. Pour blueberry mixture into molds (you can use ice trays if you don’t have popsicle molds).
  3. Place a popsicle stick into each mold.
  4. Freeze for 4 to 8 hours, or until fully set.
  5. When ready to eat, dip the mold in warm water or let it thaw slightly to loosen the popsicle.
Heart Disease Awareness: Take Charge of Your Heart Health!

Heart Disease Awareness: Take Charge of Your Heart Health!

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death globally? This February, let’s unite to spread awareness and take proactive steps towards a healthier heart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for all genders, races, and ethnicities in the United States. According to the CDC, it claims a life every 34 seconds. That makes it so that roughly one out of every five deaths is a direct result of heart disease. That’s a statistic that’s hard to swallow. Are you at risk?

With the advancement of modern-day medicine, doctors can look at various known risk factors and determine with some degree of accuracy what your odds of developing heart disease will be. Heart attacks and strokes can be catastrophic, but 80 percent of premature heart disease is preventable. That’s why it’s important to know and understand your risk.

Do you have a family history of heart disease? Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? Are your eating habits not as great as they should be? There are a variety of factors that can increase your risk of suffering from heart disease, with certain risk factors worse than others. So let’s take a closer look at risk factors you should watch out for.

Age and Other Uncontrollable Factors

Although many of us would love to turn back time, age is one heart disease risk factor we can’t control. Age alone doesn’t cause heart disease, but the older you get, the greater your overall risk becomes.

Adults aged 65 and older are more likely than younger people to suffer from cardiovascular disease. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease. In 2020, eight out of 10 deaths from coronary heart disease happened in adults 65 and older. Sadly, the longer you live, the more you’re exposed to possible heart disease risk factors, which means damage continues to add up.

Family history is another risk factor out of your control. For example, if your father or brother was diagnosed with cardiovascular disease before age 55, you’re more likely to suffer from it. The same goes for if your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65. People with a strong family history of heart disease typically have one or more risk factors.

Blood Pressure

Nearly one in two adults suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps. Having high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease because it increases how hard the heart has to work, which makes the heart muscle thicken and become stiffer.

There are several causes for having blood pressure, including genetics, diet, stress, and lack of physical activity. Other than genetics, you have control over your blood pressure. You should eat a diet low in salt and limit your alcohol consumption. You should also engage in regular physical activity, which will help not only strengthen your heart and keep you in shape but will also help to decrease stress.

Cholesterol Levels

According to the CDC, almost 2 in 5 adults in the United States have high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance made in the liver and found in the blood. Not all cholesterol is bad. HDL cholesterol is needed for making cell walls, tissues, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acid. However, when you have low HDL cholesterol and too much LDL cholesterol, you become at risk for heart disease.

High cholesterol occurs when bad cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries and limits blood flow. This can then lead to a heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol, like high blood pressure, can be hereditary, but most causes can be controlled with healthy lifestyle changes and modifications, such as eating healthy and exercising. There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so it’s important that you have routine blood screenings to detect it.


Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels by causing an increase in plaque buildup. Having diabetes puts you twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke. Plaque buildup causes the arteries to harden and narrow, resulting in blood flow blockage. An increase in plaque also puts you at risk of developing a blood clot, which occurs when bits of plaque break loose.

Diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise in addition to medication. If you are prediabetic or have diabetes, you should work with your provider to develop a diabetes management plan to bring and keep your blood glucose to a healthier level.

Smoking, Weight, and Other Lifestyle Controllable Factors

One of the biggest causes of coronary heart disease is smoking. It is also one of the most preventable causes of premature death. It doesn’t matter how long you have been a smoker; if you stop today, you can reap the benefits. Smoking decreases your oxygen levels as well as increases the formation of plaque.

Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of heart disease all on its own. Carrying excess weight causes your heart to work harder, which can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s important to stay active and eat a healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich foods, whole grains, and lean meats.

Yes, heart disease is prevalent, but you have the power to reduce and control your risk factor. Preventative health check-ups are advised to help you stay on top of your heart health. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to heart disease. Take action now and get on the road to Better Health and a healthier heart.

Delicious, Heart Healthy Chicken Marsala

Delicious, Heart Healthy Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is an Italian-American dish full of flavor and elegance. You are for sure to wow your dining companions with this recipe. This dish encompasses succulent, juicy chicken simmered in a marsala and mushroom sauce.

There are several variations of this Italian classic, with some not being the healthiest for you. However, the key and star ingredient in all of them is the marsala wine mushroom sauce. Marsala is a popular fortified dessert wine with hints of vanilla, brown sugar, apricot, and tamarind. Some recipe variations make this sauce thick and creamy. However, this version of the marsala wine sauce keeps it pretty simple and waist-friendly.

Believe it or not, the marsala wine not only gives this dish its savory flavor but also provides much of its health properties. The wine and mushrooms provide antioxidants that help to fight off cellular damage. Cellular damage leads to premature aging, disease, and cancer. There’s also research that suggests mushrooms may help prevent or slow down age-related cognitive decline.

This heart healthy chicken marsala is incredibly quick and easy to make, making it the perfect weeknight meal.

Heart Healthy Chicken Marsala

Few ingredients, but plenty of flavor, make this an easy and elegant recipe.


  • ⅛ Cucharadita de pimienta negra molida
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ C flour
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 oz each)
  • ½ C Marsala wine
  • Fresh lemon juice, from ½ lemon
  • ½ C chicken stock (skim fat from top)
  • ½ C sliced mushrooms1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


Mix black pepper, salt, and flour. Coat chicken breasts with seasoned flour.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Place chicken breasts in the skillet and brown on both sides. Then remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

To the skillet, add wine and stir until the wine is heated. Add lemon juice, chicken stock, and mushrooms. Stir to toss, reduce heat, and cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce is partially reduced.

Return the browned chicken breasts to the skillet. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then cover and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Recipe courtesy of National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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