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gastroenterologist

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.

insurance terms to know

9 Health Insurance Terms to Understand

Are terms like “co-pay” and “deductible” throwing you off? Do you dread your 26th birthday because it means you’ll have to shop for your own health insurance?

If you’re like a lot of 20-somethings, you’re not alone. In a recent study of adults between the ages of 19 and 30, researchers found that 48% can’t define “deductible,” and 78% don’t know how to describe “coinsurance.”

In order to help patients improve their understanding of health insurance, our office at St. Thomas Medical Group has put together this convenient glossary of health insurance terms. Have a billing question? Don’t hesitate to ask us next time you’re visiting with us in the office!

Your Quick & Easy Health Insurance Glossary

Let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the most common health insurance terms and what they mean.

  • ACA. Short for the “Affordable Care Act,” the ACA – also referred to as “Obamacare” – began to come into effect in 2014 (after being signed into law in 2010). Under the ACA, health insurance policies are frequently purchased by consumers through the government-run Health Insurance Marketplace (if you do not have health insurance coverage through parents or an employer). If you choose to shop for an alternative provider outside the Marketplace, you will want to confirm that your plan is ACA-compliant before purchasing.
  • Claim. A “claim” describes the process of asking your insurance provider to pay for a medical service. Sometimes the physician’s office will file a claim for you. (If you aren’t sure, it never hurts to ask.)
  • Copay. Many medical services – like a visit to your primary care provider at St. Thomas Medical Group – may have a copay. This is a flat rate that you pay to access the service; your insurance provider covers the remainder.
  • Coinsurance. Once you’ve reached your plan’s deductible (see below), you may pay “coinsurance” – a percentage of a healthcare expense. For example, if you have a 25% coinsurance rate, then you would pay $250 of a $1,000 bill, and your insurance plan would pay $750.
  • Deductible. This is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before your health insurance plan kicks in. Generally, plans with higher deductibles have cheaper monthly fees and plans with lower deductibles are more expensive.
  • In-Network Provider. Health insurance plans often have “in-network providers,” which include physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare professionals with whom the insurance company has already negotiated lower rates.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA). This is a personal savings account that you can deposit pre-tax dollars into. The money can be used to pay for a wide range of eligible medical expenses when you need it.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum. This is the most amount of money you can pay for health costs in a year. This figure includes deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. If you spend this amount of money, your insurer should cover the rest of your expenses.
  • Premium. This is the amount you (or your employer) pays per month for your health insurance policy.

Find a Primary Care Physician in Nashville, TN

For more information, see a primary care doctor in Nashville at St. Thomas Medical Group. Call +1 (615) 297-2700 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Our physicians have offered quality care at the intersection of Green Hills, Sylvan Park and Belle Meade for over 40 years.

asthma what parents should know

Asthma: What Parents Should Know

If you’ve ever witnessed (or experienced for yourself) the wheezing and breathlessness typical of asthma, then you know all too well how scary this common health issue can be. At St. Thomas Medical Group, pulmonary specialists are helping children and adults in Nashville treat their asthma.

Today on the St. Thomas Medical Group blog, let’s take a closer look at this lung disease.

Fast Facts About Asthma

The Centers for Disease Control and Statistics reports…

  • 6.2 million children under the age of 18 in the United States have asthma.
  • 8.4% of children under the age of 18 in the United States have asthma. (For comparison, 7.6% of adults age 18 and older have asthma.)
  • 2 million ER visits are caused by asthma.

Unfortunately, “the number of people with asthma continues to grow,” reports the CDC. Not only is asthma on the rise, but experts believe that many asthma attacks could be prevented with better education. For example, the CDC tells us that, “In 2008 less than half of people with asthma reported being taught how to avoid triggers. Almost half (48%) of adults who were taught how to avoid triggers did not follow most of this advice.”

At St. Thomas Medical Group, we believe that better patient education can lead to better outcomes.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

In children, symptoms may include:

  • Frequent coughing
  • Whistling/wheezing sound with exhalation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, congestion or tightness

In some cases, children with asthma may have trouble sleeping (due to shortness of breath or coughing). Difficulty catching breath may interfere with a child’s ability to play or exercise with peers. Respiratory infections may be more complex with longer illnesses and recovery periods among children with asthma.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Asthma can be difficult to diagnose. At St. Thomas Medical Group, a pulmonologist may inquire about your child’s health, symptoms, and family history. Asthma has a tendency to run in families, though not every family member will have it. Lung function tests, which measure exhalation rates and lung capacity, may also be used to aid in diagnosis. Other conditions may have to be ruled out first.

What treatments are available for asthma?

There is no “cure” for asthma. However, your child’s pulmonologist may be able to provide you with quick relief and long-term control medications that can help reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

  • Quick-relief medications – such as steroids and bronchodilators (“inhalers”) – can often provide symptomatic relief during an attack. In some cases, your child’s doctor may advise using a quick-relief medication prior to exercise or activity.
  • Long-term relief medications, such as corticosteroids or leukotriene modifiers, can also help reduce inflammation in the airways and prevent attacks from occurring. (Please note, these are only a few examples of medications used; only a physician can prescribe appropriate medication for asthma.)

See a Pulmonologist In Nashville, TN

To schedule an appointment with a board-certified pulmonologist in Nashville, contact St. Thomas Medical Group by calling +1 (615) 964-5864 or by making an appointment online.