The statistics say it all: Men are 1.4 times as likely as women to die from almost every chronic medical condition, and on average live five years less than women; according to the National Center for Health Statistics. A new program at Hartford HealthCare has been designed to change that: the Tallwood Men’s Health Center in Farmington. Hartford HealthCare urologist Dr. Jared Bieniek has details.
Q: What does the Tallwood Men’s Health Center offer men?
A: Our new center is a beautiful and convenient facility designed to incorporate doctors and décor for men. Under this one roof, we are able to offer care services including urology, preventative cardiology, endocrinology, medical and surgical weight loss, and behavioral health.
Even more important than individual services is the coordination of care with a dedicated nurse coordinator. We’re flipping the script. Rather than focus on specific health complaints, we’re addressing preventative and linked medical conditions to treat a group of underserved health care consumers: men.
Q: How is a man’s care coordinated at the Tallwood Men’s Health Center?
A: The first time a man enters the Men’s Health practice, regardless of the reason, it becomes an opportunity to address preventative health care. That’s why we created age-appropriate men’s health checklists for each man to complete. Some men may not have a family physician or be up to date with screenings. This is a chance to get them caught up.
Central to our coordination of care, of course, is a dedicated nurse coordinator. He or she integrates care between physicians in the center, and works with established primary care physicians to ensure that men are getting the health care they need and deserve.
Q: You specialize in men’s sexual function and men’s sex health. What do you want men to know?
A: I have two important points to convey to men regarding sexual function and health. First, you’re not alone. Whether it is erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low drive, or penile curvature (also known as Peyronie’s disease), many men are struggling with the same problems. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner and your doctor.
Second, remember that there are experts out there who can help you. Find someone who has training and experience helping men like you. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet or hear on TV. It’s important to get the whole you checked out.
Q: Based on what you see with your patients, why do men have such a difficult time committing to going to the doctor? What advice do you have for loved ones to get them to commit?
A: There are many reasons men don’t typically see a doctor. When we’re young, we feel invincible. As we age, we adopt the attitude: if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. My wife likes to remind me that I use the same excuses. Loved ones, we both want to keep the men in your life around, so keep after them to see their doctors and bring up those concerns.
Men, you owe the gift of self-care for the sake of both yourself and your loved ones.