At Blue Water Ear Nose & Throat, we manage most ear, nose and throat problems including diseases of the head and neck. Our dizziness and fall prevention services are a major focus of the practice. Offered with our partner FYZICAL® Dizziness and Fall Prevention Centers, we want to be a regional center of excellence.
Ear Nose Throat & Allergy
We want to be your one stop shop for all your ear, nose, and throat problems. We can also see you for allergies, headaches, and facial or neck lumps and bumps.
Our audiologist will perform your hearing test which is necessary in the evaluation of your hearing as well as many other ear, nose, and throat complaints.
Unlike most physical therapy operations, our center, through the expertise of our partner FYZICAL®, is focused on balance, dizziness, and fall prevention.
Surgery & Sinuplasty
Depending on the problem, surgery can be performed in our office for lower cost and less time or at the Outer Banks Hospital if necessary or preferred.
Ear Nose & Throat
Technically Ear Nose & Throat doctors are termed otolaryngologists or, more precisely, otorhinolaryngologists. How do you say THAT (watch video below)?!? Ok, if that’s too difficult you can just say Ear Nose & Throat-Head and Neck/Facial Plastic Surgery doctor or Ear Nose & Throat-Head and Neck MD; or, easier yet, Ear Nose & Throat doctor. Well, at Blue Water Ear Nose & Throat, we want to keep it simple—you can just say ENT.
The point of all that is that ENTs are trained in common and not so common problems of the ears, nose, and throat which include problems involving the obvious and not so obvious. We can address many special senses (smell or olfaction, taste or gustation, hearing or, ok, hearing, sensation in the head, neck and face, and even some aspects of the eyes). We can take care of allergies and certain rashes, headaches, and certain neck and jaw problems, and swallowing issues. We are trained in plastic surgery so that we can remove spots on the face and correct the tissue defect. Some ENTs even do cosmetic facial surgery and extensive facial repairs like face transplants, and repair of major facial fractures. We all deal with cancer of the head and neck, often loosely termed throat cancer.
On the Outer Banks, Dr. Lait will take care of most of these problems but some are too involved to deal with entirely on the beach. In those cases, she will evaluate, diagnose, and begin management. She will discuss with you not only the best options for care, but the best doctors and best locations to make sure you are treated optimally. Sometimes that might be just down the street, sometimes in the Hampton Roads area or Greenville, and when absolutely necessary or desired, at centers of excellence at your discretion.
You are not alone if you suffer from allergies, in fact, millions of Americans have them. Allergies can appear at any age and can even disappear in childhood, only to reappear in adults and the elderly. Allergy, also termed atopy, is a condition where the immune system of the affected person inappropriately reacts to something eaten or in the environment. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness and itchy, watery eyes. However, allergies can also contribute to chronic sinus problems, postnasal drip, head congestion, frequent colds, recurring ear infections, hearing loss, dizziness, chronic cough and asthma. Even stomach and intestinal problems, many skin rashes, chronic headaches and fatigue can be symptoms of allergies.
At Blue Water Ear Nose & Throat, allergy testing and treatment complements the other services offered. As a small practice, our allergy program is limited to prick testing and in vitro (blood) testing to identify common regional environmental allergens and common foods that may also contribute to your allergies. Allergy treatment should always include avoidance when possible. Medical treatment including antihistamines, steroids (usually nasal), and some newer drugs are typically the “next step”. However, desensitization is a long-term approach aimed at training your body to tolerate the substances that cause allergic reactions.
As part of our “needle-free” approach, we use sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) rather than allergy shots (SCIT) for treatment. These are two different ways to present the offending allergen to your body but are just different routes to achieve tolerance. Both require a commitment to years of consistent administration of your allergens at increasing doses until a maintenance dose is achieved; in spite of the long term commitment, many notice improvement within weeks. Both routes are affective for desensitization, however, some of the advantages of SLIT over SCIT include self-administration, reduced side-effects and rare serious reactions, significantly fewer visits to the doctors office. Most SLIT patients will save on travel/gas/office time and will likely save you copay expenses.
Now hear this! Our audiologist will perform your hearing test which is necessary in the evaluation of your hearing as well as many other ear nose and throat complaints. Much of the diagnostic testing for dizziness and fall prevention is also performed by the audiologist. If it is determined that you have a problem with your hearing, we will help you decide if hearing aids are appropriate and, if so, which are most suitable for all of your circumstances.
Furthermore, if you choose to purchase hearing aids from us you will be able to rely on us for service. We are also able to provide custom ear plugs for both noise protection and water protection. If you have questions about any of our services, please feel free to ask.
- Full audiological evaluations for adults and pediatric patients
- Evaluation of failed newborn hearing screens
- Tinnitus habilitative evaluations
- Hearing aid consultations and fittings for adult and pediatric patients
- Hearing aid service, repairs and reprogramming
- Hearing aid accessories and assistive listening devices
- Custom swim plugs and noise protection
Unlike most physical therapy operations, our center, through the expertise of our partner FYZICAL®, is focused on balance, dizziness, and fall prevention. This is actually a natural partnership for an ENT who sees patients daily for problems with vertigo, imbalance, and falling. Afterall, our inner ear is one of the most important parts of the many systems that help to keep us upright, walking straight, and feeling stable in space when we are not moving. It lets our brain know where we are in space when we are turning quickly, rolling, or on an unsteady surface such as the dock of a boat. When these systems are out of sync, we develop symptoms that range from lightheadedness, “swimmiheadedness”, feeling drunk, and feeling faint (which is different from fainting) to experiencing vertigo (meaning sensing movement that is not occurring) to walking erratically or even falling.
These symptoms are collectively known as vestibular dysfunction. Our vestibular system includes our inner ear, eyes, spinal muscles, sensation in our feet, and reflexes from our central and peripheral nervous systems. Dysfunction of any or all of these can cause dizziness, a general term that can mean different things to different people.
The truth of the matter is that vestibular dysfunction can affect anybody. In fact, according to a 2009 study at Johns Hopkins, 34.5% of individuals older than 40 suffer from some form of it. Furthermore:
- The odds of vestibular dysfunction increase significantly with age
- Patients with diabetes have a higher risk, up to 70% higher
- Those who are symptomatic are 12 times as likely to fall
Why do we care? Someone DIES every 19 minutes from a fall in the United States, based on data from the National Council on Aging. What we want you to know is that “Aging is Inevitable – Falling is Not.”
The long and short answer to the question of why physical therapy, is it fits our goal to be patient centered and complete in our care. So we have a physical therapist trained in contemporary rehabilitation for our clients with vestibular dysfunction. We have state of the art equipment to diagnose and retrain you to use all of your functioning engines. Just like a jet that has lost one engine, we want you to use all of your other engines to allow you to navigate your world safely. We know you didn’t come to the Outer Banks to lie in bed or sit around the house. We want you to Love Your Life!
The following information is provided as our way of treating each of our clients consistently.
What do I need to bring with me?
- Your photo ID and current proof of insurance coverage is required at each visit
- We strongly suggest that you provide a complete list of your medications, prescription and over-the-counter, to be certain that we have the most accurate information. If you provided this on our intake form, you do not need to bring it with you.
What type of insurances do you accept?
We accept most major insurance*:
Blue Cross Blue Shield
United Health Care
*You are ultimately responsible for making sure whether we are in network with your particular health plan. If you have questions, we recommend that you call customer service with your insurer. We only require a referral as needed by your particular health plan.
If you do not see your listed provider, please call to ask about others.
What forms of payment do you accept? Can I just be billed for services?
- Cash, personal checks, and most credit and debit cards (exceptions AmEx, Discover).
- We will issue refunds in a timely manner, when appropriate.
- Payment is due at the time of service. You are responsible for all copayments, deductibles, and co-insurance (often a percentage of the fee after your deductible has been met). If your insurance claims are denied or services not covered, you may still be responsible for services provided.
- If we are unable to verify insurance coverage or you do not have insurance, we will require a minimum deposit of $175 ($100 for televisit and $75 if in office follow-up deemed necessary) prior to rendering care. You will be responsible for paying the balance at the end of the appointment. Your provider will try to let you know if a service is not part of the routine examination.
What if I’m late for my appointment?
What if I miss my appointment?
In accordance with the law and in consideration of your rights, we are committed to protecting your health information (PHI). It is our duty, unless expressly permitted by the law or by your authorization, to deidentify or anonymize your health information thereby assuring that it cannot be associated with elements of your identity which include your name, other data that could be used to personally identify you, or financial and insurance information which could be used to associate you with it.
According to HIPAA, the documentation created at Blue Water Ear Nose & Throat with Balance and Therapy by FYZICAL, including your medical and financial records, are our property; however, you have certain rights with regards to their use and disclosure. We will ask you to sign a form stating that you have received this notice, have read it, and were given the opportunity to execute your rights and ask questions about it.
- You may request a copy of this notice.
- You may permit or prohibit disclosure of your PHI by indicating those preferences on the form you must sign. These can be changed at any time by filling out a new form.
- You may indicate how we can contact you about appointments and leave you messages about your care. Please consider who else may receive or hear these messages.
- You may restrict certain uses and disclosures of your PHI to a health plan or health care corporation regarding services or treatment for which you paid directly. This can be accomplished by making a written request. Other requests to restrict use and disclosure will be reviewed.
- You may request a copy of your PHI (medical record) by filling out and signing a form.
- You have the right to request that we change your health information by means of a written request. If this is not granted, you may still request that we keep a copy of your written statement on record.
- We will keep records of our disclosures of your information. With a written request, we will provide these records to you for the previous 12 months at no charge or we will notify you of the charge for older records. These are exclusive of disclosures for treatment, payment, or health care operations.
- You may cancel your authorization to use or disclose PHI that has not already been released by means of a written request.
If you have questions about your rights, please contact our Client Care Supervisor by mail at 4917 South Croatan Hwy Unit 1C, Nags Head, NC 27959 or by phone at (252) 489-4682.
In general, we do not need specific permissions to use your PHI for your care. In fact, there are many misperceptions about when and how we can use or disclose your protected health information. A good, general rule is that we do not require your permission to disclose your health information when it involves your health care or payment for your health care. The following outlines to whom we may release your information without specific permissions.
- For treatment purposes — within our facility or to other providers to help coordinate your care.
- For payment — to health insurers unless you are paying directly.
- For health care operations — including for quality improvement, quality review, audit functions and accounting, legal, or risk management services.
- As required by local, state, or federal law.
- To business associates when they have signed a business agreement to protect any information that is shared.
Furthermore, there are many situations in which disclosure will occur when that disclosure is appropriate, including but not limited to times necessary facilitate public health and safety, research, coroners, organ procurement organizations, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), correctional institutions, law enforcement, disaster relief, national security, the Veterans Administration (VA), military or Department of State, or to facilitate workplace injury or illness cases, and government health and oversight activities. Whenever feasible, your identifying information will be removed. We are happy to share how we decide with you on our long form.
On the other hand, we will only disclose information to those who are not vital in your care with your written permission or after it has been anonymized. For that reason, we ask that you let us know of any family, friends, or other associates to whom you explicitly give us permission or withhold permission from informing or disclosing your information. We also reserve the right to leave messages at any phone number you have given us that will identify that you are or will be receiving care at Blue Water Ear Nose & Throat and Balance by FYZICAL unless you have otherwise informed us in writing.
Lastly, we may change this policy by making updates. All updates will be posted on our website or may be obtained at our office. We will ask you to sign a form that you have seen or been given our most current notice of your rights on a yearly basis if you continue to be seen in our office.
If you have any questions or concerns, or wish to report a problem please contact our Client Care Supervisor. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated you may discuss this with any member of our staff, send a written complaint, or report your concern to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
April 14, 2017