Family Care is In-Network with United Healthcare!

Family Care is in-network with United Healthcare!

As of February 10, 2016, Family Care is now considered an in-network provider with United Healthcare! For all United Healthcare patients at our office, this means…

  • Visits at our office will now be subject to your in-network benefits on your insurance plan. You will now have full access to the benefits on your plan for services at our office!
  • In-Network co-payments, co-insurances, and deductibles will apply to your visits. No more high out-of-network deductibles!
  • Annual preventive wellness exams (for non-grandfathered plans) are covered 100%! No more denials for preventive care services!

For an average patient that came in every three months as an out-of-network patient, this means out-of-pocket savings of anywhere from $150 (for high-deductible plans) to $400 (for regular co-payment plans)!

Why did we decide to re-join the UHC network? 

If you have recently signed up for health insurance on the individual marketplace, you may have noticed that there are far fewer options available to you than there have been in years past. For the 27713 zip code, and most of the surrounding zip codes, BCBS has limited their available products on the individual marketplace to their Blue Value and Blue Local plans only. Because the Value and Local plans are affiliated with the UNC and Duke healthcare systems (and our office is fully independent), many of our patients were left without an option that would be considered “in-network” at our office.

Now, after signing an in-network contract with UHC, patients who sign up for insurance on the individual marketplace have the option of selecting a United Healthcare plan to receive in-network insurance benefits for visits at our office. We hope this helps our patients save money and get the most out of their healthcare budget.

If you are a new patient to our office, Dr. Elaina Lee and Sarada Schossow, PA-C are currently accepting new United Healthcare patients.

Please contact our office to schedule an appointment today!

Donate to the Durham Rescue Mission!

For the last two years, our office has been selling small items like styluses, sunscreen, and hand warmers at our checkout desk to raise money for the Durham Rescue Mission. We are able to get most of the items online for about $1-$3 each and sell them for $2-$5 each, with 100% of the proceeds from the sale donated to charity. For just $2.05, you can help sponsor a meal for a homeless member of the Durham community, so every item we sell basically provides a free meal for someone in need.

While providing meals for the homeless is obviously important, the Durham Rescue Mission is also in need of toys and games for low income families, who may not have enough money in their budgets to buy presents for the holidays. If you donate your presents before December 18 this year, your gift will help make this year’s holiday special for some little kid who may not have received anything without your donation.

Last year, we used the “12 Days of Christmas” theme to buy presents to donate – you can view the details of our 2014 list at the bottom of the page. It was a lot of fun fitting the toys into the theme of the list and the budget allowed, so I decided to do the same thing again this year. I changed the theme slightly to “Family Board Games” and tried to find games that would be help bring a family together over the game. We hope these games get picked up and enjoyed by the family that receives them for many years.

These games are all a lot of fun, so maybe you can use the list as a gift giving guide for someone you are having trouble shopping for. Each game cost between $5 and $25, so they would make good presents. I have listed the games we were able to donate this year, with a brief description of each game from BGG. Enjoy!

Items Donated in 2015: 

12 Days of Christmas – The holiday-themed 12 Days takes the familiar “Twelve Days of Christmas” song and twists it into a quick-playing card game. Over twelve rounds, players try to re-gift unpopular cards while keeping cards that are strong enough to win the day, while also keeping a careful eye for bonus scoring at the end of the game.

11 Decks of Cards – A million games in one deck of cards.

Phase 10 – A rummy-type card game where players compete to be the first to finish completing all ten phases. Phases include collecting runs of numbers, collecting certain number of a given color cards, etc. The first player to finish completing the 10th phase wins. In case of ties, the player with the fewest number of points wins.

7 Ate 9 – From the box: “Fast and Fun Number Crunch’n! Players add, or subtract, 1, 2, or 3 to the number the top card on the pile to determine if they have a card that can be played next. Sounds simple, but with everyone playing simultaneously, the options are constantly changing.”

Eight Minute Empire: Legends – A quick game that implements the Civilization/Exploration theme using card-driven area control (by placing armies and cities in a small map) and set collection (by getting abilities from the cards). Players spread through the map in order to collect points at the end of the game by having majorities in regions and continents.

Red7 – The rules of Red are simple: Highest Card Wins! But Red is just one of seven games you’ll be playing. If you’re not winning the current game at the end of your turn, you’re out! And the last person standing wins the round.

6 Word Memoirs – In Six-Word Memoirs, teams use SMITH Magazine’s famous storytelling form to guess the names of famous people, places, and pop culture icons. Teams use imagination and quick word-writing wit to create and identify six-word descriptions on more than 1000 different topics. Can you describe George Washington, Lindsay Lohan or the City of San Francisco in exactly six words?

Five Crowns – Five Crowns is rummy with a five-suited deck and a twist. The set collection aspect of rummy is basically the same, with groups of three cards in either runs or denominations making a valid meld. The twist is that in each hand the number of cards required to create a meld increases, from three cards in the first hand to thirteen in the last. The game, therefore, consists of eleven hands.

Connect 4 – Connect 4 is a well known vertical game played with “checkers” (it is more akin to Tic Tac Toe or Go Moku). The board is placed in the stand to hold it vertically and the players drop checkers into one of the 7 slots, each of which holds 6 of the “checker’s” men, until one player succeeds in getting 4 in a row–horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

Tales & Games: Three Little Pigs – As a little pig, your dearest wish is to build a strong and beautiful house in which you can spend your long winter evenings. But you won’t need trowels nor scaffoldings, as only dice will allow you to construct your dream home. Beware the wolf prowling around, whose only thought is to literally blow down your comfy house!

Two Rooms and a Boom – A social deduction/hidden role party game for six or more players – there are two teams: the Red Team and the Blue Team. The Blue Team has a President. The Red Team has a Bomber. Players are equally distributed between two rooms (i.e., separate playing areas). The game consists of five timed rounds. At the end of each round, some players will be swapped into opposing rooms. If the Red Team’s Bomber is in the same room as the President at the end of the game, then the Red Team wins; otherwise the Blue Team wins.

Uno – Players race to empty their hands and catch opposing players with cards left in theirs, which score points. In turns, players attempt to play a card by matching its color, number, or word to the topmost card on the discard pile. If unable to play, players draw a card from the draw pile, and if still unable to play, they pass their turn. Wild and special cards spice things up a bit.


These are all really fun games, so I hope you get some good board game gift ideas – you should definitely consider trying them out for your own family!

Happy Holidays from Family Care!

Items Donated in 2014:
12 Decks of Cards
11 Crayon Boxes
10 Stacking Cups
9 Matchbox Cars
a Magic 8 Ball
7 Chess Sets
6 Harmonicas
a Size 5 Soccer Ball
Connect 4
3 Baseball Gloves
2 Chutes and Ladders
and Uno!


What is a Physician Assistant?

What is a Physician’s Assistant?

Since we have added a wonderful Physician Assistant, Sarada Schossow, PA-C, to the practice, I thought it would be beneficial to our patients to outline what exactly a Physician Assistant is and how they are used in family practice. Here is the official definition of a Physician Assistant, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants:

“Physician Assistants (PAs) are health care professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision. They conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. They are often found in primary care practice — family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology — but also work in many specialties, such as cardiology, emergency medicine, oncology, dermatology, gastroenterology, psychiatry, and in surgery and the surgical subspecialties.”

To better relate the concepts to patients, “A Patients Guide To Physician Assistants” created the “Patient’s Definition” of a Physician Assistant. This helps patients understand how care with a Physician Assistant will be seen from their perspective and has three basic categories that a Physician Assistant might fall under:

Physician representativesBasically, a Physician Assistant is like a vice president that acts on behalf of their president (physician). PAs are competent and qualified healthcare providers that serve as representatives for their physician in doing most of the things for you that the doctor would. They are more of an associate than an assistant that helps to improve the efficacy of the physician’s practice. This means that if the doctor’s office that you visit has several Physician Assistants then you should see an overall decrease in wait time and an increase in time with the healthcare provider (PA or physician). It also means that you should be able to get appointments sooner because there are more healthcare providers to choose from.

Generalists. An important aspect to understand is that physician assistants are generalists. They are trained extensively in the same medical model that is used for doctors. Being a generalist allows them to have a wealth of knowledge in many areas of medicine. This means that they are able to approach your medical concerns from a whole-body perspective.

Patient Educators. One of the primary roles of the Physician Assistant is patient education. A patient that understands their illness and what they need to do to fix it will hopefully be able to prevent further illness. In other words, understanding is a key to wellness and prevention. PAs often have more time with the patient in order to educate them about their health.

At Family Care, Sarada Schossow, PA-C will be working directly with Dr. Sabrina Mentock and Dr. Elaina Lee to provide great continuity of care for our patients. Sarada Schossow, PA-C will allow Family Care to maintain the same personal level of care we currently show to each of our patients, while still having the ability to meet the growing demand for high quality medical care in our community.

To accommodate our growing volume of patients, current patients may be offered the chance to see Sarada Schossow, PA-C for certain types of appointments at times that may be more convenient or immediate than their current provider can arrange. These types of visits include:

  • New patient appointments
  • Acute illnesses and conditions
  • Annual preventive wellness exams
  • 5pm-8pm visit requests on Monday and Tuesday

Because this is a rather new concept for patients at our practice, here is another quote from “A Patient’s Guide to Physician Assistants” regarding the types of services a Physician Assistant can provide:

When making a decision about whether to see a NP, PA, or MD most of the time it should not matter. The reason is that the NPs and PAs are also trained to know when something is beyond their ability or understanding. They should know when to refer you to a specialist or a physician. Any of the above practitioners know how to research and consult other practitioners in order to bring you the care you require. Doctors have more formal education and training to draw from, but aside from that there is much more variance in personality and individual dedication to the patient then in the type of provider you chose.

Check our Sarada’s introduction video below!

We are very excited to add Sarada Schossow, PA-C to our team and think she is a great fit with our practice. If you have any questions about the role she will play in providing great care for our patients, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office!

Family Care Office Hours Until 8pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday!

With the addition of our newest provider, Sarada Schossow, PA-C, Family Care is extending our office hours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays until 8:00pm!

With these new changes, here is a breakdown our three providers and their current scheduling availability. We schedule our appointments in 30 minute blocks, so the last appointment time available is 30 minutes  prior to our office’s closing time each night. This is the standard working schedule for each provider, so please check our Google Calendar (subscribe by clicking on a calendar date in the left hand column of this page) for specifics regarding individual vacation dates, weather closings or delays, and holiday schedules.

Family Care Office Hours, as of November 1, 2015


With these extended hours, we want to offer our patients the opportunity to see your regular primary care provider for your acute illnesses at a time that might be more convenient for your working schedule. We understand it is sometimes difficult and problematic to get out of work to come to the doctor, so hopefully our extended hours will give our patients a chance to avoid expensive urgent care and emergency room visits.

As always, we reserve at least three “Same Day” visits for each of our providers every day, including our last appointment of the day. This means we will almost always be able to see you on the same day of your request, but you should make sure to call early in the day to ensure availability. For acute illnesses, our new schedule ensures that you will almost always be able to see a provider within 24 hours. Let us know if you have any questions!