Tips to Stay Safe Walking on Ice – Waddle Like a Penguin

During the winter months, it is important to remember key tips to stay safe walking in icy and snowy conditions.

We’ve put together a short checklist of some tips to keep you safe – many of these tips we’ve learned from penguins and the way they waddle across the ice.


  1. Take short, slow, shuffling steps.
  2. Point your feet out to the side.
  3. Spread your feet out so that it increases your center of gravity.
  4. Walk flat footed and wear shoes with tread.
  5. Look ahead and extend your arms out to maintain balance.
  6. Keep your hands out of your pockets.
  7. Walk in designated walkways.
  8. When on steps, always use the hand railings.
  9. Be careful when entering and exiting vehicles and hold on for support when stepping out of the vehicle.
  10. Take your time – allow any extra time that may be needed in icy conditions.

And if you do fall, remember to tuck and roll. If you find that you are slipping, tuck into a ball to make yourself as small as you can and protect your head and face from the fall. Don’t use your hands to catch yourself, try to land on the fleshy parts of your body.

Still have questions? Contact your R-Health doctor for more tips.

R-Health Announces Expanded Collaboration with Aetna for Value-Based Healthcare Delivery

R-Health, a leader in innovative healthcare solutions, today announced the company has expanded its value-based healthcare delivery collaboration with Aetna.

With a recent contract to provide Direct Primary Care services to Aetna members through the New Jersey Direct Primary Care pilot program for members enrolled in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP), R-Health now has four agreements with Aetna, each focused on patient-centered care. The New Jersey program is an enhanced benefit for the SHBP and SEHBP that provides members free access to an R-Health Direct Primary Care physician with no co-pays or deductibles.

R-Health began working with Aetna in 2014, through the company’s accountable care organization, the Advanced Comprehensive Care Organization (ACCO). This started with a Medicare Advantage population and grew to include adult commercial and pediatric commercial populations. These programs deliver care to thousands of patients in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

These innovative collaborations are each focused on improving quality of care and reducing overall costs. This includes encouraging stronger patient engagement, sharing best practices across care teams, implementing evidence-based guidelines, and creating performance-based incentives.

“We are excited to deepen our collaboration with Aetna through the New Jersey Direct Primary Care program,” said Mason Reiner, R-Health’s CEO. “By offering their members who are enrolled in SHBP and SEHBP access to R-Health, members will experience primary care the way it should be. This builds on our existing patient-centered collaborations with Aetna.”

Through the collaborations between R-Health and Aetna, the 195 providers in ACCO have consistently surpassed clinical quality benchmarks in areas such as patient access, control of chronic conditions, preventive cancer screenings, and vaccinations. For example, during the most recent performance year, 86% of ACCO’s diabetic Medicare Advantage patients had HbA1c levels less than 9, and 96% of adolescents had proper immunizations.

R-Health’s Direct Primary Care program in New Jersey is an innovative offering focused on drastically improving the primary care experience by providing unlimited access to a personal physician with no co-pays or deductibles. It offers same-day and next-day appointments, little to no time in the waiting room, evening and weekend hours, phone consultations, and digital access to the patient’s personal doctor.

About R-Health: R-Health delivers more effective care and a better patient experience – all at a lower cost. We partner with employers, unions, insurance companies and TPAs to offer primary care that’s truly collaborative. This is accomplished through the traditional core values of convenient, personal primary care; our innovative data analytics and patient engagement platforms that streamline care, delivering better outcomes, lower costs and a refreshing patient experience; and the proactive management of chronic conditions. R-Health delivers value-based healthcare two ways, through R-Health Accountable Care, our commercial ACO, and R-Health Direct Primary Care, our innovative membership-based primary care model.  For more information, visit

About Aetna:  Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 46.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see and learn about how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world. @AetnaNews

Tips to Boost Your Immune System in Winter

While we may be witnessing more rain than snow currently, we are still in the throes of winter and we could all use some helpful hints to boost our immune system. So keep these tips in mind to stay healthy and avoid illnesses.

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. It’s important to sleep during the nighttime and stay awake during the daylight to balance your hormones for the winter.
  2. Vitamin D. Healthy Vitamin D levels can help boost your immune system. Prepare for winter by getting proper sunshine in the spring, summer, and early fall. This will help to maintain proper Vitamin D levels over the course of the winter.
  3. Fix your gut. Avoid processed foods, fake oils, and inflammatory grains as much as you can.
  4. Stay active during the winter. Be sure to try to get the recommended level of daily exercise.
  5. Control your stress. De-stress as much as you can. You can’t control the world, but you can change how you interact with it.

Still have questions? Reach out to your R-Health doctor to learn more about how to keep your immune system in check during the winter months.

Steven Horvitz, DO, Direct Primary Care Physician and R-Health Direct Primary Care Medical Director

R-Health Opens New Direct Primary Care Practice in Ewing, NJ

New Location Part of the New Jersey State Direct Primary Care Program to Provide Free Access to Primary Care for State, Municipal, and School Employees

Yesterday, R-Health hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening of its new location in Ewing, New Jersey. R-Health now has four primary care practices serving state, municipal, and school employees in the New Jersey Direct Primary Care (DPC) program, with additional practices launching throughout 2017.

In 2016, the State of New Jersey passed a resolution to create a Direct Primary Care Medical Home program, offering free DPC membership to more than 550,000 state, municipal, and school employees and their family members participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) or School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP).

Like many states, New Jersey has been struggling with spiraling healthcare costs. DPC offers an innovative solution that is proven to lead to better care and outcomes for workers, while lowering costs for individual employees and the State.

Membership to R-Health Ewing, and other R-Health practices, is a no co-pay, no deductible, primary care option for New Jersey public sector workers and their family members. They can join an R-Health practice for free and receive a full range of services including preventive, urgent, and sick care; health and wellness coaching; chronic disease management; and care coordination.

“We are so excited that New Jersey took notice of the benefits of providing barrier-free access to primary care, recognizing the innovative solution offered by Direct Primary Care,” said Mason Reiner, R-Health CEO. “R-Health is reinventing the way primary care is delivered, offering New Jersey workers personalized, relationship-based care.”

R-Health Direct Primary Care practices offer same-day and next-day appointments, longer appointment times, little to no time in the waiting room, evening and weekend hours, and access to the doctor in the office and out of the office via phone consultations and digital messaging.

R-Health physicians care for a maximum of 1,000 patients, compared to 2,500 to 3,000 in a traditional practice, freeing R-Health doctors to spend more time with each member.

State officials and labor union leaders joined R-Health to celebrate the grand opening including State Senate President Steve Sweeney; Kevin Kelleher, Director – Research and Economic Services, New Jersey Education Association; Hetty Rosenstein, Area Director, CWA New Jersey; and other labor leaders.

Said Randi Protter, MD, FACP, NCMP, the lead physician at R-Health Ewing, “I went into medicine to take care of people, but somewhere along the way, the focus on people has been lost in our healthcare system. This approach puts the patient front and center, allowing me to dedicate 100% of my time on providing care for our members.”

This membership-based approach to primary care turns the typical volume-based, fee-for-service model on its head. with R-Health practices entirely foregoing fee-for-service insurance billing.

R-Health Ewing is now accepting enrollment of new members, with sign up available at

Why I Practice Direct Primary Care

After medical school, I started working as a physician in a two-person practice with multiple sites. I then went into solo practice in Moorestown, NJ in 1998. During that time, I had a traditional fee-for-service practice, driven by incentives to see more and more patients in order to make more money.

As the years progressed, my practice grew, but so did the non-patient related issues that come along with our current healthcare system. By 2006, I was getting annoyed at the distractions and loss of time to truly focus my time on my patients due to the increasing bureaucracy.

If you know me, you know I don’t like being annoyed, so instead I started looking for a solution.

Here’s what I knew. I loved practicing family medicine but did not like the environment that was unfolding. So, I found my solution and in January 2008, I terminated all my insurance contracts and brought my services direct to my patients. And thus my Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice, the Institute for Medical Wellness, was born.

I grew up the son of a solo private practice family physician in Philadelphia. My father served as National Medical Director of Nutri-System Weight Loss Centers way back when it was an early start-up and through its heydays in the 1980s. I saw the hard work and forward thinking that needed to be done to move from a fledgling start-up to a true disruptive force in an industry. I observed this hard work and dedication from my father and took this same approach with my DPC practice.

Yoda from Star Wars once said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” The DPC system is about putting all physicians in a position where they can truly DO their best for their patients. DPC allows doctors the time necessary to really get to know their practice and to succeed in their professional life. In DPC you truly can Do, not just Try.

As DPC physicians, it is our job to create a practice environment where our patients feel a part of the practice. We want to reduce their fears that we will not be available when they need us. Patients want to know we are listening to them, and that we are there to help them when needed, whether in office, by phone, email, text, video, or even carrier pigeon. If we convince them by our actions, the trust we have then built up is immeasurable, which should make patient outcomes terrific as well.

And now that I am part of the R-Health network, I have the ability to bring Direct Primary Care to even more patients. Now that’s a win-win. Let’s do, not just try.

Steven Horvitz, DO, Direct Primary Care Physician and R-Health Direct Primary Care Medical Director

Fitness Goals, Not Fads

It’s no mystery that about half of all Americans 18 and over, do not get the recommended physical activity. And it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that with the New Year, many people have set resolutions to get more fit, more active, or to start a new trendy diet.
While it is always great to start the New Year off on the right foot, be careful not to fall into the trap of fads or trends, or to jump head first into a new diet or exercise regimen and not be able to sustain it.

Instead, take things slowly and carve out short periods of time, multiples times a week, for physical activity.

According to America’s Family Physicians, there are many benefits to regular exercise, including:

  • Reduces your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity
  • Keeps joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible, which makes it easier to move around
  • Reduces some effects of aging, especially the discomfort of osteoarthritis
  • Contributes to mental well-being
  • Helps relieve depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Increases your energy and endurance
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Helps you maintain a normal weight by increasing your metabolism (the rate you burn calories)

Are you ready to set the right fitness goals this New Year? Your R-Health doctor can help you develop an individualized plan.

Dr. Steve Horvitz is R-Health’s Medical Director and one of the physician’s taking part in the NJ SHBP / SEHBP program

Caring for the Caregiver

When constantly putting others first, it’s easy to forget or simply lack the energy to care for ourselves. As November and National Family Caregivers Month wrap up, we wanted to recognize that caregiving is selfless work that can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. Ironically enough, the effects of caregiving on health and well being is associated with health problems and even premature death. That’s why it is so critical for those in a caregiving roll to allocate adequate time to take care of themselves as well.

  1. Make YOU a Priority

It’s the cardinal rule of helping and caregiving: only when we first help ourselves, can we effectively help others. However, this is often much easier said than done. So begin by simply figuring out what areas of your personal life are lacking (i.e. time with family/friends, relaxation, hobbies, exercise). “If I had more time for __________ I would feel happier/less stressed.”

  1. Identify barriers

After identifying what you wish you had more time for or what would make you happier, start to think about what prevents you from these activities. What is getting in the way and keeping you from caring for yourself? Do you think you are being selfish if you put your needs first? Do you have trouble asking for help? Not enough time? Once you’ve started to identify what prevents you from self-care, you can slowly begin to break down these barriers and change your behavior.

  1. Lean how to ask for help

Many caregivers struggle with asking for help because they believe “I can do it myself,” “no one else can do it as well as I can.” Other times it’s that they don’t want to “burden” others or admit that they can’t handle everything on their own. This can-do attitude, albeit admirable, can be crippling for caregivers, leaving them with no time for themselves and lots of stress. Imagine how you would feel if you enlisted a friend or family member to watch the person you care for while you take a 15-minute walk. Or if your neighbor could grab a few items at the grocery store for you this week. Just like you, most people want to help. All you need to do is ask and maybe show them how. Remember that reaching out when you need support is a sign of strength.

  1. Talk with your doctor

Time is precious, especially as a caregiver. You may dread taking the person you care for, or yourself to the doctor because it takes two weeks to get an appointment and then you sit in the waiting room for an hour before seeing a doctor with whom you have no relationship.  Direct Primary Care will save you time, money and allow you to develop a relationship with your personal doctor who will listen and help you work through your stress and the burdens of caregiving in a healthful way.

Dr. Steve Horvitz is R-Health’s Medical Director and one of the physician’s part of the NJ SHBP / SEHBP program

How You Can Foster Gratitude This Holiday Season

As we enter into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in materialism and lose sight of what this time of year is really about. Research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, tend to be more successful, sleep better and have stronger immune systems. Sounds great, right? But starting any new practice can be difficult, especially during the holidays, so here are a few tips that may help start and maintain a gratitude practice as we enter into the season of gratitude and giving.

  1. Write it down

Putting pen to paper and actually writing out what you are grateful for is one of the best ways to reap the benefits of gratitude. When we acknowledge small fortunes each day we slowly change the way we perceive situations. For example, you may have had a great accomplishment like, “today my boss told me I was doing a good job,” something small such as “a stranger held the door for me when my hands were full,” or something like, “I am grateful to have found a doctor that takes the time to listen to me, to get to know me, and to help me become a healthier person.”  Sometimes it can be challenging to dive into the blessings beyond those that are right in front of you such as family, friends and basic needs, but once you open your eyes to the “small mercies” in your daily life you will notice a shift in your practice and general attitude.

  1. Commit to it

Making a conscious effort to write down your daily blessings and affirmations will enable you to grow and obtain the physical and mental health benefits of gratitude fostering. Writing small notes each day makes us happier, thankful and more optimistic. These positive feelings are encouraging and help us to maintain our practice, especially on those tougher days. I highly recommend using a journal of some kind to keep log of your practice. A regular ruled journal is great or you may choose a journal specific to gratitude fostering. As your practice grows you will be able to flip through pages of full of daily affirmations and positive events. It is also helpful to choose a set time of day to journal. Will you write in the morning to set intentions for the day ahead, in the evening to reflect on the day, or both?

  1. Verbalize and embody it

One of the many rewards of channeling appreciation for life’s small gifts is that you are more likely to be oriented towards being compassionate, sharing and helping. Fostering gratitude and love for your life is very important but radiating that positivity outward is equally rewarding and crucial to your practice coming full circle. Write a letter to someone who you are grateful for, share your gratitude at the dinner table every night, show someone your appreciation through a thoughtful gesture, volunteer or donate.

Manifesting your practice into your daily life will not only make you feel good for extending extra compassion into the world, but it will make others feel a little more appreciated as well. And that, is the beautiful cycle of gratitude, which can lead to a beautiful cycle of health.

Dr. Steve Horvitz is R-Health’s Medical Director and one of the physician’s part of the NJ SHBP / SEHBP program

What you Get with Your Very Own Personal Doctor

When you join a Direct Primary Care practice, you get your own personal doctor. Not an office that has 12 doctors and it’s a flip of the coin who you will see when you make an appointment. One. Personal. Doctor. This empowers you to build a trusted and enduring relationship with your doctor?

Why does this matter?

When your doctor gets to know you and vice versa all kinds of wonderful things can happen. The sky’s the limit.

  • Your doctor really gets to know you and your health.
  • Your doctor knows your history – not just your medical history, but your family, your relationships, your job, and any issues you may be facing.
  • Your doctor is aware of any chronic conditions and how this impacts you.
  • Your doctor can coordinate your care. This doesn’t mean just writing a referral, but truly serving as the quarterback for your care.
  • You trust your doctor and will become more and more comfortable sharing information with him / her.
  • You can become an active participant in your own care – this is what happens when you develop a relationship with your doctor.
  • Your doctor can help you on the go. When you have an actual relationship and can call your doctor, he or she may be able to help you without having to come in for an appointment every time.

Does this kind of care sound great to you? If so, Direct Primary Care may be a good fit for you. If you are a member of the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) you may be eligible to sign up for an R-Health practice at no extra cost to you.


3 Reasons to Join a Direct Primary Care Practice

There are many, many reasons to join a Direct Primary Care practice, but let me boil down the top three that I believe are the most impactful.

  1. It’s amazingly convenient. From my perspective as a busy working mother, I love that there are same-day and next-day appointments, evening and weekend hours, and truly little to no time in the waiting room. In fact, we have non-waiting rooms! I also love that there is the ability to text, e-mail, and call the doctor, so you don’t always to see the doctor via an in person appointment.
  1. It’s personal. Every single members gets their very own personal physician. You get their personal phone number. You get their e-mail. You get to see the same doctor every time. You get a doctor who actually gets to know you. You get to build a relationship with your doctor. These things matter.
  1. It’s full service. Primary care doctors can actually take care of about 80 to 90% of your healthcare needs. Most just aren’t set up to do that right now. You’ll get your personal doctor, access to health coaching, care coordination, and much more.

Interested in this approach? If you have a NJ SHBP or SEHBP health plan, you may qualify for R-Health at no co-pays or extra costs.