Friday July 3 News & Updates

Arthritis Health - Friday 20 Mar 2020 News & Updates

Welcome summer and our latest newsletter which includes four articles: first, a letter from Dr. Howard, then an announcement of a new physician rheumatologist working with our team, third, an article on the use of masks and lastly a list of places you can get tested to determine if you have or are concerned that you have an acute infection of CoVid-19.

We remain committed to continue to provide you with the best and safest care. Appointments can be made for in office interviews or electronically.  If you prefer the later, it is necessary to have video capability such as Face time, Google Duo, Skype or Zoom. Our office will ask what you prefer and can help you in advance if you have challenges with the video component.


Dear Treasured Arthritis Health Clients,

Is change hard? – That depends on a lot of dynamics. 

We certainly have seen our lives change dramatically over the past few months.  We have all gone through some adjustments unimaginable just months ago.

For me personally, as many of you know, my family’s life has also been dramatically changed in the blink of an eye. My oldest son, Cody, sustained and survived a horrific injury in January. After months hospitalized, with time, prayers from family, friends and many of you, great medical care and determination, he is home recovering and improving slowly. Because of this, I have decided to reduce my workload in order to be with him and his family. I ask for your patience and understanding.

Starting July through September, for the next three months, I will be working three days instead of 5 days per week.

Dr. Debra Michels, a proven and reputable rheumatologist, whom I have known for the majority of my career, will be working at Arthritis Health. I had tried to recruit her unsuccessfully in the 90’s to join us at Arthritis Health.  Her arrival at Arthritis Health is a dream come true.  She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and a multitude of arthritic conditions from her own practice of over 20 years in the East Valley of Phoenix.

I ask for your help to permit me to reduce my workload and allow both of us to provide you your arthritis care.  This is a fluid situation and depending on Cody’s progress, I expect to make future decisions in September to continue my work, which I love.

Is change good?  On the front of my favorite T-Shirt, there is a statement:


and on the back is a quote from John F Kennedy

“Change is the law of life. and those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”

Change is good and I look forward to the future with you.

Paul F. Howard MD


Dr. Debra Michel has begun working at Arthritis Health three days a week beginning this June.  She is a board certified Rheumatologist with years of clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of the rheumatic diseases.  After graduating from Medical College of Ohio, she completed an Internal Medicine residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and her rheumatology fellowship at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio.

She created and managed her own successful rheumatology practice here in in the east valley for nearly twenty years. Her professional interests include providing individualized and comprehensive treatment plans for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, autoimmune diseases and osteoporosis.

She is devoted to her family including her grandchildren and enjoys history, hiking, dogs and when we are all able again, travel.  She will be working Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  She will be seeing both new patients and existing patients in our practice.

Arrange an appointment


  • Face masks do work
  • Don’t fool yourself. There are a lot of smart people who are not conspiring but rather are trying to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
  • The most important function of masks is to protect those around the user should the user be infected. Wear a mask.
  • Secondary benefit may be to reduce the dose of Covid-19 exposure by limiting how much the wearer inhales into their respiratory system.
  • Remember, the risk of contracting Covid-19 is DOSE RELATED. It is all about the dose you are exposed to – The dose is affected by;
    • The intensity of exposure – how close you are to the person who has it.
    • The duration of exposure – how long you are exposed to person who has it.

Intensity of exposure and duration of exposure, that is what we need to calculate.

What does the science say?
A systematic review and metanalysis recently published by the collaborative efforts of investigators from the U.S, China and Germany found…


Download report

Masks worn by non-healthcare workers in public settings were associated with lower risk of infection.

In addition to whether or not masks reduced risk, we also want to ask how much of a risk reduction. A visual representation of this from the study is provided below. For non-health care workers, masks were associated with at least a 21% reduced risk. For health care workers, at least 63% reduced risk.

Your responsibility to your community
These recent times through the CoVID-19 pandemic have been difficult for all of us. There are still many unknowns. This pandemic coupled with rising social tensions over recent unfortunate events has made sound public discourse increasingly difficult.

We can have arguments about rights, freedoms and a score of emotional reasons why one does not have to wear a mask.  We live together and we have responsibilities to each other.   We all give up some rights to live together. The best example we can compare is the prohibition of smoking in public. It is your right if you want to hurt yourself by smoking, but from a public health perspective, it is not your right to be able to passively injure someone else from your second hand smoke. Similarly, you do not have the right to passively expose someone else to CoVid-19 virus because you do not wear a mask.

We hear you, wearing a mask is a mild inconvenience and of course moderately unfashionable! But it is the right thing to do for the protection of each other. We are a great and caring community.


Arizona Department of Health Services website with close to 200 testing locations listed:

ADHS Covid-19 Test Sites

Here are some specific locations:

ARCpoint Labs of North Scottsdale

  • 15455 N Greenway Hayden Loop, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • Phone: 480-939-4656

Banner Urgent Care – Multiple Locations

Cigna Medical Group/Urgent Care

CVS/MinuteClinic – Multiple Locations

FastMed Urgent Care – Multiple Locations

Mayo Clinic

  • For existing patients, call 507-293-9525 for nurse triage line

MedPost Urgent Care – Multiple Locations

NextCare Urgent Care – Multiple Locations