Welcome!

Pediatric Physicians, PC is a friendly and welcoming medical practice for your children. Our two offices in Alpharetta and Roswell are staffed by devoted, board-certified pediatricians, practicing the best state-of-the-art pediatric care from newborns to teens, including a 100% commitment to keep your children up to date on vaccines.

We’re easy to reach by telephone–no annoying phone tree!–and there’s plenty of free parking right at the doors of both offices. Same-day sick appointments are always available.

We’re here when you need us, and we’re here to help.

New! Established patients can schedule a sick appointment online by using our Patient Portal!

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Thanks for choosing us as “mom-approved pediatricians” in Atlanta Parent magazine!

See the article here!

Benaroch, Roy, MD
“Dr. Roy is just fantastic! He has a gentle and very friendly approach. He walks into the room always smiling, immediately noticing my sons and asking them how they are. His advice is always on point.” -T. L., Roswell

Bien, Elizabeth, MD
“She always takes the time to address all your questions and concerns.” -Stacey K., Roswell

Biggs, Jennie, MD
“She has been seeing my children since they were babies and they are now teenage boys. She is so caring and listens to them and understands our concerns! She is the best!” -Carrie B., Roswell

Green, Lindsay, MD
“Punctual, kind and caring, great bedside manner, takes the time to answer all of your questions every time.” -Ashley T., Roswell

Stebbins, Stanton, MD
“Dr. Stan is so knowledgeable about kid’s illnesses. He stays up to date on current research and he is so great with kids!” -Ashley S., Roswell

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Your children deserve better than telephone medicine

Someday we may miss the quaint idea of our children having their own doctors – doctors who actually get to know their patients and families. We keep all of your records, we know how many ear infections your child has had, we make sure they’re protected with vaccines and we monitor their growth and development – you know, the important, big picture things. The things you just can’t get with a quick phone call to an anonymous telephone doc. Can a phone call substitute for an in-person visit with a doctor who knows your child?

Apparently at least one huge insurance company thinks so. My own family’s health insurance comes from Aetna Healthcare (the letters of which can be rearranged to spell “At Heartache Lane”.) They’re really pushing me to try out “Teladoc” (which, ironically, can be rearranged to spell “late doc” or “eat clod” or “del taco.”) One of the many promo brochures they sent shows a sad-looking child in the background, with an app open on mom’s phone in the front. “How would you like to talk to the doctor?”, it says, in big friendly letters. Holly, presumably the child’s mom, is quoted “One night my child was running a high fever. I called Teladoc & the doctor prescribed a medication & plenty of fluids. Glad I avoided the time and expense of the ER.”

What Holly’s mom should have done was called her own child’s doc. Depending on the kid’s age, health history, and symptoms, it would have been appropriate to either: (1) stay home and give a fever medicine, then come in for an exam in the next few days if still feeling poor; or (2) if there was chance of a genuinely serious medical issue, to go get evaluated right away. The child could have had meningitis, pneumonia, or a viral infection, or one of a thousand other things. But there could have been no way to know a diagnosis over the phone. What was needed was a risk assessment, not a prescription. Holly’s story, to a pediatrician, makes no sense. It doesn’t represent anything close to good or even reasonable medical care. A high fever does not mean someone should “call in a prescription”? That’s completely, utterly, and despicably wrong.

Why is Aetna pushing Teladoc? It’s cheap. Aetna’s payout to the telemedicine company is far less than what they’d pay for an urgent care or emergency room visit. Insurance companies aren’t eager to spend money for people to see doctors. Cheap is good for insurance companies, but is it good for your children?

I couldn’t find any studies in pediatric patients looking at the accuracy of this kind of service for making a diagnosis or the outcomes of prescribing medicine for acute problems over the phone. I emailed the Teladoc people, introducing myself as a physician whose patients might use their services. Do they track their accuracy or outcomes? Do they have any data showing that what they’re doing is even close to good care? I got no response.

Though there are zero pediatric studies, I found one good study in adults,  reviewed here. Researchers contacted 16 different telemedicine companies specifically about rashes. They uploaded photos and basically “posed” as patients. The results were abysmal – there were all sorts of crazy misdiagnoses, and many of the telephone clinicians failed to ask even basic questions to help determine what was going on. Two sites linked to unlicensed overseas docs, and very few of the services even asked for contact info for a patients’ primary care doc to send a copy of the record.

I think I know why telemed companies don’t bother to send records to primary care docs. I have gotten just a handful of telemedine records in the last few years, and they’re frankly embarrassing. One was about an 8 year old with a sore throat (who wasn’t even asked about fever). It says the mom “looked at the throat and saw it was pink without exudate.” (Let me mention here that throats are always pink. That’s the normal color of a throat.) Amoxicillin, in an incorrect dose, was called in for “possible strep throat.” This is terrible medicine that contradicts every published guideline for evaluating sore throats in children. I’ve also got records from kids treated with three days of antibiotics for a sinus infection, and urinary tract infections being treated without any testing of the urine (again, these examples completely contradict evidence-based care guidelines) If this is the kind of Krappy Kare we’ve decided we want for our children, we ought to just make antibiotics over-the-counter and skip the pretending over the phone.

There can be a role for telemedicine. I see it as a useful tool for follow-ups, especially for psychiatric or behavioral care where a detailed physical exam isn’t needed. Telemedicine can also be a great way for physicians in isolated or rural areas to get help from a specialist for complex cases. And telemedicine technology is already being used successfully to allow expert-level interpretation of objective tests, like pediatric EKGs and echocardiograms.

But current available technology (like this Teladoc service) doesn’t allow a clinician to really examine a patient, look in their ears, or even assess whether their vital signs are normal. They cannot help decide whether a child is genuinely ill or just a little sick – and that, really, is what parents need to know in the middle of the night. Calling in unnecessary antibiotics is cheap and easy – and that’s why this kind of care is being pushed by insurance companies. But it’s no substitute for genuine medical care from your own child’s doctor. Your children deserve better care than pretend medicine over the phone.

From:

The Pediatric Insider

© 2018 Roy Benaroch, MD

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An interview with Dr. Jean Muench, retiring soon

Our most experienced pediatrician, Dr. Jean Muench, will be retiring this month. She’s been with our practice for 20 years, and we’re going to miss her wisdom, intelligence, and common sense. We talked about her career and the many ways medicine and pediatrics have changed.

Jean, why did you choose pediatrics?

I was deciding between pediatrics and surgery. I especially liked infectious diseases, studying growth and development, and teaching — teaching and working with parents.

Did you make the right choice?

Oh, yes.

How has pediatrics changed during your career?

In a way, we’re working our way out of our own jobs, with more and better vaccines. I would have loved to stay a little longer, to see successful vaccines to prevent RSV and strep, for instance.

You’re a pediatrician, of course, but you’ve also raised your own children. How has being a parent changed?

Parents now have to cope with the impact of the media and the internet on themselves and their children — for better or worse!

What are your plans now?

This summer I plan to spend more time swimming and spending time with my three grandchildren.

Do you have a last pearl for parents, one little bit of advice you’d like to share?

Take a deep breath, and count to five.

Thanks, that works for almost any occasion! We’ll miss you, Jean. All of the doctors and staff at Pediatric Physicians wish you the best!

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Welcome back, Dr. Rhona!

We’ve got some exciting news! Dr. Rhona Tiongson Federer will be re-joining Pediatric Physicians, PC this month! Those of you who’ve been with our practice a long time will remember Dr. Rhona, who was one of our founding pediatricians. Several years ago, she retired from daily practice to spend more time with her children, though she’s continued to work occasionally at our practice and at Kids Time Pediatrics. Now, Dr. Rhona is back for good, working mostly out of our Windward office. You can call to make a well or sick appointment with Dr. Rhona, who’ll be happy to see new patients and happy to see how some of her “old” patients have grown up!

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Spring allergies are here! How to treat them best

Adapted from Dr. Roy’s blog post

Ah, spring. Birds are tweeting, the flowers are blooming, there’s a layer of yellow dust all over my car, and just about everyone is sneezing and stuffy. Fortunately, there are some great medicines out there to help reduce the symptoms of spring allergies, and most of them are inexpensive and over-the-counter. Here’s an updated guide to help you pick the medicines that are best to relieve your family’s suffering.

But first: before medications, remember non-medical approaches. People with allergies should shower and wash hair after being outside (though it’s not practical or good to just stay inside all spring!) You can also use nasal saline washes to help reduce pollen exposures.

Antihistamines are very effective for sneezing, drippy noses, and itchy noses and eyes. The old standard is Benadryl (diphenhydramine), which works well—but it’s sedating and only lasts six hours. It’s better to use a more-modern, less-sedating antihistamine like Zyrtec (cetirizine), Claritin (loratidine), or Allergra (fexofenidine.) All of these are OTC and have cheap generics. They work taken as-needed, or can be taken every day. Antihistamines don’t relieve congested or stuffy noses—for those symptoms, a nasal steroid spray (see below) is far superior.

There are a just a few differences between the modern OTC antihistamines. All are FDA approved down to age 2, though we sometimes use them in younger children. They all come in syrups, pills, or melty-tabs. Zyrtec is the most sedating of the three (though far less than Benadryl). Zyrtec and Claritin are once a day, while Allegra, for children, has to be taken twice a day. A 2017 study showed that Zyrtec is marginally more effective than Claritin, so I’ve been recommending that one first.

Decongestants work, too, but only for a few days—they will lose their punch quickly if taken regularly. Still, for use here and there on the worst days, they can help. The best of the bunch is old-fashioned pseudoephedrine (often sold as generics or brand-name Sudafed), available OTC but hidden behind the counter. Don’t buy the OTC stuff on the shelf (phenylephrine), which isn’t absorbed well. Ask the pharmacist to give you the good stuff hidden in back.

Nasal Steroid Sprays include a huge and dizzying array of choices now. OTC Nasacort, Flonase, Rhinocort, Clarispray, Sensimist, and many generics are available. Many of the brands contain the identical ingredient, sold under different names for marketing purposes. All of these products are essentially the same. They all work really well, especially for congestion or stuffiness (which antihistamines do not treat.) They can be used as needed, but work even better if used regularly every single day for allergy season.

Some minor distinctions: Nasacort is approved down to age 2, Flonase to 4, and Rhinocort to 6, though there’s no reason to think any are more or less safe for children. Flonase is scented (kind of an odd, flowery scent, which seems weird in an allergy medicine), and seems to be a little more burny to some people than the others. My personal favorite is Nasacort.

Nasal oxymetazolone (brands like Afrin) are best avoided. Sure, they work—they actually work great—but after just a few days your nose will become addicted, and you’ll need more frequent squirts to get through the day. Just say no. Steroid nasal sprays are much safer than OTC Afrin.

Eye allergy medications include the oral antihistamines, above; and the topical nasal spray steroids can help with eye symptoms, too. But if you really want to help allergic eyes, go with an eye drop. The best of the OTCs is Zaditor.

Bottom line: for mild eye or nose symptoms, a simple oral antihistamine is probably the best first line. For more severe symptoms OR symptoms dominated by clogging and stuffiness, use a steroid nasal spray. You can also use both, in combination, an antihistamine PLUS a steroid spray, for really problematic symptoms. Please come see us if you have any other questions, or if these tips aren’t helping.

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