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One Year After Covid, An Interview with Dr. Richard Gaines

One Year After Covid, An Interview with Dr. Richard Gaines

Lifegaines

Today we are going to be doing a virtual interview with Dr. Richard Gaines, President and CEO of LifeGaines Medical & Aesthetics. We will be discussing the economic obstacles and safety precautions he has taken to fight the spread of COVID-19. It's been over a year since the first confirmed COVID-19 case has appeared in the United States, and it’s still a widespread problem that we are fighting to this day.

Dr. Richard Gaines

As a highly respected doctor in South Florida and throughout the United States, Dr. Gaines, could you tell us about yourself, your business, what Life Gaines Medical offers, and what are the benefits of being a patient at your office?

Dr. Gaines:

Thanks for having me Johnny, my business is a wellness medical center. It’s an evidence-based practice of alternative therapies for patients who want to maintain their health and longevity. The practice is called age management medicine.

As we age, we lose some abilities and physiological functions. At LifeGaines we try to bring back these functions and maintain them so we can live a productive and healthy life, as we once were in our 30’s and 40’s. At LifeGaines, a specific service we offer is monitoring hormone levels, which tend to drop as we age. Maintaining these allows us to decrease the risk of diseases and disorders of aging such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease. All these things can be maintained if you monitor your hormones properly. We have a great time with our patients and we really love what we do for our patients here at LifeGaines.

Jonathan Yeary:

How has Covid-19 impacted your business?

Dr. Gaines:

Well, Covid is an international crisis that we all faced over the last year, and it's still here today. To me it’s a natural plague that happens over time. Early on we had isolation, quarantine, and shutdowns, so of course it affected everyone’s business - ATI’s and mine included.

Business did decline and much fewer people were coming in the door due to the pandemic. But overtime, we implemented social distancing, extra cleaning, facemasks, and even gloves in some cases.

It seems as if we’re almost back to normal today, with almost all of our patients returning physically for treatments now that the vaccine is out, and cases are dropping.

Jonathan Yeary:

What did you have to do to overcome the difficulties that the pandemic has brought forth?

Dr. Gaines:

With this widespread pandemic, people are more knowledgeable about what is going on, and how their immune system is of paramount importance. So, one of the biggest things in my practice is to educate my patients so they know what I’m planning for them, and they know the reasons why we’re doing the things we do here. 

Jonathan Yeary:

Has Covid-19 changed your priorities as a physician?

Dr. Gaines:

It has changed my practice a little. People are concerned about their immune system health and their ability to fight Covid. So, a lot of our therapies help your immune system, and now there’s evidence that some of my therapies are used to prevent covid.

As we age, we accumulate old cells in our bodies that sometimes don't want to die, so our immune system lets them live, and these cells send out bad signals to other cells in the body. They’re called senescent cells. As you age, your senescent load will increase, which decreases your functions of your organs. If you rid the body of these cells, your organ and brain function will improve as well as your immune system.

This is called senolytic therapy and it has been proven to decrease the severity or even the instance of Covid. I’ve been offering it for a couple years now, and it’s even more popular today because of this pandemic.

Jonathan Yeary:

Are you taking precautions to better manage the health and safety of your employees in the workplace?

Dr. Gaines:

Yes absolutely, we implemented social distancing and started wearing facemasks and even gloves in some cases. Even before Covid, we’ve always cleaned our hands frequently and wiped down all the equipment after use.

Jonathan Yeary:

Are there any additional safety tactics you implemented to keep your employees and patients safe?

Dr. Gaines:

Yes, back in December of last year, I started using a H2O2 generator which has a HEPA Filter - (high efficiency particulate air).

It basically circulates the air in the room through a filter and uses ultraviolet light to clean the air while dispensing H2O2 on top of surfaces. We’re hoping that this will make an impact to keep our customers and employees even more safe.

Jonathan Yeary:

Were your patients open to these changes?

Dr. Gaines:

Some of the patients are very relaxed, and others are still extremely concerned about the virus today.

Jonathan Yeary:

Did you notice a difference in morale among your patients or your employees during the height of this pandemic?

Dr. Gaines:

There is a good percentage of people who are very concerned about the exposure of Covid - so with them I stress that their immune system health is of utmost importance and we try to address that.

There are basic steps that I follow for general wellness. The most important thing to me is lifestyle and getting people’s hormones back where they need to be because this affects your immune system a lot.

Some patients are more motivated now to improve their health so they can have the ability to fight Covid if they happen to be exposed to this virus.

Jonathan Yeary:

Have you developed any over-the-phone or virtual appointments for your patients because of Covid-19?

Dr Gaines:

With my business I do a lot of telephone work and audio-visuals. I use platforms like Zoom and Skype. I’ve been using Skype for over 15 years to discuss therapies with patients and make sure they're doing the right thing through audio-visual contact and it's extremely useful.

Jonathan Yeary:

Have you ever implemented any sort of remote or “work from home” strategies as a result of the pandemic?

Dr. Gaines:

Yes, I have when we had a shutdown. I communicated with my patients virtually just as we are doing now. Of course, there are some challenges we face from this; but overall, it seemed to work well. As of now, we’re all back in the office. However, I work with patients all over the country, so I still do a lot of audio-visual Skype and Zoom meetings.

A lot of my patients moved from all over the country to Florida now as an outcome of this pandemic, because they can work from home here in Florida! I’m not sure what will happen with commercial real estate, but we know that a lot of people can work from anywhere now.

Jonathan Yeary:

Do you offer COVID testing at your facility?

Dr. Gaines:

Yes, we’ve actually had it very early on. We started with the rapid test - the finger stick - which is the antibody test. The problem with the antibody test is that it takes weeks to start developing antibodies after an illness. It’s not the primary test that should be used because of that.

We now offer the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test - a test that tests for antigen - which tests if you have the virus in your body from saliva or a throat or nasal swab. This is the primary test that should be used.

Jonathan Yeary:

How long does it take to receive results?

Dr. Gaines:

The PCR test used to take 5 days to get the results and now it's 1 day or even 12 hours, while the rapid test takes about 15 minutes.

Jonathan Yeary:

How accurate are the tests?

Dr. Gaines:

There’s a lot of controversy with the rapid tests. When they were first introduced, a lot were counterfeit. The PCR test is more accurate than the rapid test but they’re not fool proof either.

I’m a very positive guy so overall I’d say the fingerstick is around 80% and the PCR test is around 90% accurate.

Jonathan Yeary:

Will you be administering COVID-19 vaccinations when they are widely available to the public?

Dr. Gaines:

I am planning to become a distribution center for the vaccine for my patients who haven’t had the opportunity to get the vaccine, however I am going to choose not to get the vaccine because I believe in building and maintaining a strong immune system to be able to fight off viruses like Covid-19.

Jonathan Yeary:

Has this pandemic changed how you will do things in the future permanently?

Dr Gaines:

I think there will be a new normal. I hope face masks will not be around more than 6 more months, but there will be people who still wear them. Is it going to be required? I don’t think so after many vaccinations.

We do procedures here, so we completely clean all the surfaces in the room after each patient. It does take extra time, but it’s a good practice either way. So, I believe there will be a new normal - but hopefully it’s a positive new normal.

Jonathan Yeary:

Well Dr. Gaines, thank you for your time today. It's been nice talking with you.

Dr. Gaines:

Thanks Johnny, you take care.

 

 

 

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