Lancaster Area Celiac Support Group Meeting Rescheduled

The Lancaster Area Celiac Support Group meeting has been rescheduled for Monday, February 8th at Calvary Church, 1051 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster, PA 17601 at 6:15 p.m.

Join Giant Food Stores in-store Nutritionist, Sarah Glunz, MS, CNS, LDN to discuss some easy tips for shopping gluten-free plus take home some samples of her favorite products.

Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for shopping and programming starts at 7:00 p.m. For additional information, please click here.

Christopher Shih, MD FACG

Dr. Christopher Shih, M.D. Featured in PracticeLink Magazine

Christopher Shih, MD FACG

Originally published in PracticeLink, Winter 2016 – Volume 26, Number 1.

Christopher Shih, M.D., graduated cum laude from Harvard University and earned his medical degree at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency training at the University of Pennsylvania and his gastroenterology fellowship at Johns Hopkins.

After Shih performed with the National Symphony on the Capitol Lawn, a Washington Post writer declared, “If Shih is as gifted in medicine as he is in music, he as some serious career choices to make.”

But Shih didn’t have to choose between the two. Even as a gastroenterologist at Regional Gi in Pennsylvania, Shih continues to perform in major venues in the U.S. and abroad. He has played in over a dozen countries and on television and radio programs, including NPR’s All Things Considered, Radio France, Canada CBC, Taiwan CTV and more.

Click here to read the full article.

Ben Lazarus, DO

Dr. Ben Lazarus, D.O. Featured on Blue Ridge Cable 11

About 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year.

Regional Gi’s Dr. Ben Lazarus, D.O. was featured on Blue Ridge Cable 11 during March’s Colon Cancer Awareness Month campaign.

“Since we’ve been doing colonoscopies and screening, that number has really fallen in the last twenty years and we have data to show that the death rate is significantly lower,” said Lazarus.

View the full story below:

A Screening or Diagnostic Colonoscopy? What is the difference?

It is important to understand the difference between a screening and diagnostic colonoscopy. It is very important that you talk to your insurance company on your benefits and their criteria, as this can have an effect on your out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles or co-insurance.Most insurance plans will cover screening colonoscopies, while diagnostic will be applied to your deductible or co-insurance.

Screening Colonoscopy Factors:
• No symptoms before the procedure
• No findings during the procedure (polyps, diverticulosis, etc.)
• No personal history of cancer or polyps
• No family history of cancer or polyps (some insurances consider this high risk)

Diagnostic Colonoscopy Factors:
• Symptoms before the procedure such as change in bowel habits,
rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, etc.
• Findings during the procedure (polyps, cancer, diverticulosis, etc)
• Personal history of cancer or polyps
• Family history of cancer or polyps (some insurances consider this high risk

Important Note: Disclaimer – Regional Gi follows appropriate coding guidelines and procedures. A screening procedure may become diagnostic based on the findings during the colonoscopy or symptoms you are experiencing.

The points noted above are to be used for informational purposes only, as insurance and benefits criteria vary by plan.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your insurance company to verify your benefits and “out-of-pocket” costs for screening vs. diagnostic colonoscopies.

Feel free to share the attached PDF.

Christopher Shih, MD FACG

WGAL Features Regional Gi and Dr. Shih

Regional Gi gastroenterologist lancaster pa specialist doctor shihRoughly 3 million people currently suffer from Hepatitis C, a severe viral infection of the liver. If left untreated, sufferers are at risk for Cirrhosis or even cancer. However, new medicinal treatments allow patients to effectively combat this severe liver inflammation.

“Now, we can prescribe a pill a day for twelve weeks with almost no side effects. The cure rates are around 95%,” said Dr. Shih, Regional Gi.

It is important to seek testing and treatment if suffering from Hepatitis C. Please contact Regional Gi for more information. To listen to the rest of Dr. Shih’s interview, please visit WGAL.

David Smith, MD

Dr. Smith in Fall 2014 Issue of Lancaster Physician

Dr. Smith was quoted in the Fall 2014 Issue of Lancaster Physician.

Gluten Free: A Mandate, Not An Option, For Those with Celiac Disease was written by Amy B. Klatt discusses all things Gluten. From what Gluten is to Celiac Disease.

“According to Dr. David M. Smith, M.D., gastroenterologist at Regional Gi, “Typically celiac disease affects Caucasians of northern European descent. Given the fact that many people either do not know their ancestry or have a mixed ancestry makes this more difficult to classify in this regard. It can also affect both males and females, and can be diagnosed at any age.”

Click here to read the entire article


Ketan Kulkarni, MD

Testing for colorectal cancer without the colonoscopy

By: Ketan Kulkarni, MD

A new noninvasive test to detect colon and rectal cancer is offering hope that more people will be willing to be screened, driving down the rates of these cancers. Cologuard is the first stool DNA colorectal cancer screening test to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The test is a potentially exciting advancement that could one day change the way we screen for colorectal cancer—but not yet. Many questions remain about the optimal use of stool-based testing, which detects the presence of red blood cells and DNA mutations that may be indicative of cancer.

In the trial upon which the FDA based its approval,  Cologuard was very sensitive for the detection of cancer, but it found less than half of all advanced adenomas (precancerous polyps) and even a smaller percentage of regular adenomas. People who have a positive result are advised to have a colonoscopy.

Additional limitations of stool-based DNA testing include the fairly high false positive rate, the complexity of the test itself, the lack of well-defined screening intervals, and the greater cost when compared to current stool immunochemical tests.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among cancers that affect men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC estimates that at least 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone age 50 or older had the recommended screenings—fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy.

The gold standard for colorectal cancer screening is still colonoscopy, in which your doctor uses a flexible tube to examine the inside of your colon. It’s been successful at lowering cancer deaths by not only detecting cancer at earlier stages, but by also detecting precancerous polyps. Your doctor can remove these polyps during the colonoscopy and prevent cancer.

Current guidelines call for testing to start at age 50 in those individuals without a family history, but about half of all eligible people haven’t been properly screened with one of the recommended tools.

The approval of Cologuard holds much promise as a screening option that is noninvasive, can produce reliable results and provide a better patient experience. However we’ll need more data to determine how accurate Cologuard will be in the “real world”, outside the context of a clinical trial, before it becomes standard practice.

Regional Gi Voted Favorite Gastroenterology Practice in this Year’s Readers’ Choice

This year’s Lancaster Newspaper Readers’ Choice Winners have been announced  and we’re excited that you have voted Regional Gi as Lancaster’s Favorite Gastroenterology Practice, seven years in a row. Thank you for your support over the years as we work hard to provide you the best in GI Care.

Congratulations to all the other winners


Dale Rosenberg, MD

Dale J. Rosenberg featured in May/June Issue of Lancaster County Woman discussing patient safety

Dale J. Rosenberg, MD, Regional Gi Medical Director of Endoscopy and Valerie T. Geyer,  Regional Gi Director of Clinical Services were featured in the May/June issue of Lancaster County Woman discussing Patient Safety.

See a snippet of the article, Patient Safety is Synonymous with Regional Gi, by Michael C. Upton below.

No one takes the idea of undergoing an endoscopic procedure lightly; it can be a frightening experience. However, the experts at Regional Gi know how to put patients at ease and it all starts with safety.

“We recently received two awards related to quality and safety,” said Valerie T. Geyer, Director of Clinical Services. “We have internal policies and procedures in place to thoroughly assess patients prior to admission. We participate in a national registry so we can benchmark ourselves against other gastroenterology practices. We have patient satisfaction surveys that we utilize to improve our practices.”

Click here to read the entire article. 



UPDATE | Announcement Highmark Delays Change In Anesthesia Policy for Colonoscopies

MAY 30 2014 UPDATE | Announcement Highmark Delays Change In Anesthesia Policy for Colonoscopies

Today, Highmark announced that is has decided to “delay implementation” regarding the manner in which they pay for Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC). Due to concerns expressed by the medical community, legislatures, employers and patients, Highmark has determined that it requires additional time and input before implementing such an impactful change to patient care. As Highmark continues to assess this decision (see the Regional Gi FAQ and analysis below), it becomes very important for patients, and employers who cover their staff with Highmark health insurance plans, to speak out. If you have concerns about this proposed change, please contact your local legislature and Highmark.

Until further notice, Regional Gi will continue to schedule Highmark patients providing the appropriate level of anesthesia, including MAC, as we have prior to the original Highmark announcement.

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at (717) 869-4600. But, you should consider sharing your opinion with Highmark. They can be reached at member services (800) 345-3806.


Highmark has decided that beginning June 30th, 2014 they will no longer cover Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) for endoscopic procedures for average risk patients. This decision, which we feel is a shortsighted approach to preventative care in general, currently impacts those covered by Highmark.

At Regional Gi, patient care is of the utmost importance, so it is necessary that those affected by this change in coverage are informed and any concerns are addressed. Therefore, we have compiled a list of common questions below.

Please contact Highmark for more information or to register a concern or call member services at (800) 345-3806

Who made the decision?
This decision was made solely by Highmark

When will this be effective?
Our understanding is it is effective June 30

What does it mean to me?
Highmark will no longer pay for monitored anesthesia care for average risk patients undergoing colonoscopy and other endoscopic procedures. You are considered to be at average risk if you do not have any significant underlying health conditions, you have never had problems with sedation in the past and your physician does not anticipate that you will be intolerant of moderate sedation. Monitored anesthesia care is the administration of a medication known as Propofol by an anesthetist who is specifically qualified and credentialed to administer this type of sedation which is termed deep sedation. Deep sedation induces a state of sleep and ensures maximal patient comfort. If a patient wants to receive deep sedation with Propofol it will now be an out of pocket expense.

Will I get any sedation?
Yes you will receive moderate sedation. You should not experience severe pain but you may be aware of what is happening and you may experience some degree of discomfort. This type of sedation can be administered by an RN who is supervised by a gastroenterologist. You will be in an altered state of awareness and will be able to respond to general commands. Moderate sedation has been used safely by gastroenterologists for many years and was used extensively by our providers prior to the advent of deep Propofol sedation.

Will there be any additional possible side effects of moderate sedation?
It is very possible that your procedure and recovery time will be longer, and you will feel more “groggy” after the procedure.

Is there anything I can do about this?
Contact Highmark and share your opinion and/ or convey your dissatisfaction with their decision. It is not too late to prevent Highmark from making this change. You could also contact your State Senator and Representative and tell them of your concern with Highmark and their decision.

What is Regional Gi’s position regarding this?
At Regional Gi we will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety and quality of care that we provide to our patients. We believe that this decision by Highmark is not in the best interest of the community and reflects a shortsighted vision of the long term benefits of colon cancer screening and other GI procedures. In our opinion the ongoing use of Propofol anesthesia will allow us to most effectively minimize any discomfort and medication side effects associated with your endoscopic procedure.

Fifth Avenue Place
120 Fifth Avenue • Pittsburgh, PA 15222-3099
(412) 544-7000