Endocrinology

Every time you grow, sleep, or feel hunger pains, you have your endocrine system to thank.

The endocrine system is a group of glands and cells that make hormones, which are released into your blood. These hormones travel to organs and tissues throughout your body. The system regulates growth, sleep, hunger, even the way your body uses food.

When the endocrine system isn’t working properly, you may be diagnosed with an endocrine disorder, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. An endocrinologist is a medical professional who treats disorders of the endocrine system.

At Stormont Vail Health, we treat patients of all ages with many types of endocrine disorders. We also encourage you to keep up with your primary care provider. A primary care provider can perform annual physicals, treat everyday illnesses, and help you keep your entire body healthy and strong.

Conditions We Treat

The main condition we treat is diabetes — a disease where your blood glucose (blood sugar) level is too high. There are several types of diabetes, but the most common ones we see are:

  • Type 1: Your body does not produce any insulin (the hormone needed to bring glucose from your blood to your cells for energy). Diet, exercise, and lifestyle do not cause type 1 diabetes — it is most likely caused by genetic and environmental factors.
  • Type 2: Your body either does not produce enough insulin, or does not use insulin well. Having excess weight is the main risk factor — an estimated 90% of US adults with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
  • Gestational: This form of diabetes starts during pregnancy and goes away after giving birth. However, women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

In addition to diabetes, our endocrine specialists often treat the following conditions:

  • Prediabetes

    Your blood sugar is too high, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. Prediabetes significantly increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but it can often be reversed with lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss.
  • Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid)

    Your thyroid gland produces an excess amount of the hormone thyroxine. This accelerates your metabolism, causing sudden weight loss, sweating, nervousness, irritability and an irregular or rapid heartbeat.
  • Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)

    Your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to keep your body running normally. Symptoms vary, and appear slowly. Many patients notice fatigue, weight gain, high cholesterol, body aches, depression and constipation.
  • Thyroid Cancer

    A tumor grows in your thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer does not usually cause symptoms early on, but can eventually cause changes to your voice (e.g. hoarseness), difficulty swallowing, neck or throat pain and swollen lymph nodes. Fortunately, thyroid cancer is rare, and most cases can be cured.
  • Adrenal Insufficiency

    Your adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormones that help your body respond to stress and regulate blood pressure. The most common symptoms include weight loss, muscle weakness, long-lasting fatigue, abdominal pain and loss of appetite.
  • Pituitary Tumor

    A mass forms on your pituitary gland — the “master control gland” responsible for producing hormones that affect growth and the functions of other glands. Pituitary tumors are often harmless, but some can cause diseases, such as hyperthyroidism.
  • Osteoporosis

    Low bone density — lower than normal levels of minerals in your bones — cause your bones to become thin, weak and fragile. You become more prone to breaks, even from simple actions, such as bending over or coughing. Endocrinologists work with patients who have very abnormal bone density test results.
  • Gender Dysphoria

    You identify as a different gender than the one you were born with. Some patients choose to take male or female hormone supplements so that their bodies develop to match their gender.

Our Treatments and Services

When you come to the Cotton O’Neil Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, our endocrine specialists will make sure that you receive the correct diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.

Some of our common services and treatments include:

  • Laboratory Work

    Laboratory tests, such as blood tests, can check your hormone levels, and help us monitor your condition.
  • Point-of-Care Testing

    We can perform tests, such as blood glucose level checks for patients with diabetes, that give us instant results. This allows us to make decisions regarding your care right at your appointment, without waiting for lab results.
  • Hormone Therapy

    We may prescribe hormone supplements for diseases such as hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency.
    Fracture care: Certain endocrine diseases, such as osteoporosis, can increase your risk of breaking bones. On two days a week, we offer appointments with a fracture specialist.
  • Thyroid Biopsies

    This is a test that uses ultrasound to remove a small bit of tissue from your thyroid gland, to check for abnormalities.

Diabetes Learning Center

The Diabetes Learning Center is located on the first floor of the Cotton O’Neil Diabetes & Endocrinology Center. At the Center, we emphasize that diabetes is a controllable disease. We work to keep you out of the emergency room, prevent extra primary care visits between scheduled appointments, and help you feel in control of your health.

We offer education, programming, and counseling for patients of any age and at any stage of the disease — from patients who are newly diagnosed, to those who have had diabetes for years.

Our services and programs include:

  • Gestational diabetes program: We help women diagnosed with gestational diabetes stay healthy during pregnancy and delivery.
  • Preconception care: We work with couples where one or both partners already have diabetes in order to increase the odds of conception.
  • Diabetes self-management education: We offer group classes and private appointments to teach you how you can take control of your diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes support group: You have the opportunity to meet others with type 2 diabetes, and learn from others who have had similar experiences. Call (785) 368-0416 to learn more.
  • Family nutrition class: We teach families about improving food choices and increasing activity levels. This class is especially beneficial for families of children with insulin resistance, weight management issues, or metabolic syndrome — a set of symptoms such as high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels that increase the risk of diabetes.
  • Diabetes equipment training: We offer pump training, as well as personal Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) training.

Our staff consists of certified diabetes educators, registered nurses, registered dietitians, support staff, and a department assistant.

We are open Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Referrals can come from any physician.

Call (785) 368-0416 to learn more about the Diabetes Learning Center or to schedule an appointment.

Pediatric Endocrinology

Pediatric endocrinology is a highly specialized field of medicine. At our Pediatric Endocrinology office, we provide the highest level of comprehensive care in treating children with endocrine disorders. The pediatric endocrinologists partner with parents to support children’s physical and emotional well-being.

Our services include:

  • Diabetes education
  • Insulin pumps education
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Stimulation testing
  • Pediatric research
  • On-call physician 24/7
  • Spanish-speaking provider
  • Laboratory services

Frequently treated diagnoses include:

  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 and 2
  • Short stature/growth failure
  • Delayed or advanced pubertal development
  • Bone strength and density
  • Thyroid abnormalities
  • Abnormal weight gain/insulin resistance 3
  • Adrenal abnormalities
  • Pituitary abnormalities
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Amenorrhea
  • Gynecomastia

We also provide growth hormone stimulation testing to determine whether a growth hormone deficiency is causing slow growth.

Children need a referral from their primary care physician to see a pediatric endocrinologist. Call (785) 368-0460 to schedule your child’s appointment.

Q & A for Community Providers

Why the change?

We have dedicated ourselves to providing health care services throughout the region, ensuring patients and their families receive excellent care close to home. Aligning ourselves with a nationally recognized children’s health system will allow us to advance pediatric services for patients in our communities.

Will there be a change in physicians and providers at Cotton O’Neil Diabetes & Endocrinology?

With the exception of the departures of Drs. Barger and Alba Aponte, the same physicians and providers will remain. Additional physicians and providers are being recruited to join the team at Cotton O’Neil Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Will the same types of services and appointments be available?

Yes, patients will be able to receive the same types of services and the same appointment availability. In addition, Children’s Mercy is looking into providing pediatric endocrinology telehealth services at the clinic.

How will the referral process work?

There will be no change to the referral process. Proceed with referrals as you would with any Stormont Vail Health provider.

If my patient families ask, what should I tell them about any potential change in the cost of their specialty appointment? Will their co-pay change?

There will be no change to the cost of their specialty appointment, neither in co-pays nor in other charges.

Will there be any changes in clinic frequency/times/dates?

Our goal is to ensure no disruption to your patient’s care. With the departure of some physicians, the clinic schedule will be modified. Families will be notified of any changes affecting their child’s appointment.

Will patient medical records be transferred or shared with Children’s Mercy? Is there anything I need to do to make sure that happens?

Yes, Children’s Mercy providers working at Cotton O’Neil will use EPIC, our electronic medical record, so they will have access to each patient’s medical record as do the Cotton O’Neil physicians.

What is the clinic name? Will it change?

The clinic name will remain a Cotton O’Neil clinic, the only change will be that the provider they see will be employed by Children’s Mercy.

How will information be shared between the two hospital’s EMR systems?

The Children’s Mercy providers will utilize EPIC, giving them access to the patient’s records.

Whom should I contact if I have questions about this change?

Please reach out to Deb Yocum, vice president, clinic operations, at (785) 354-6000 ext. 21205 with any questions you might have.

 

Q&A for Patient families

Why the change?

We have dedicated ourselves to providing health care services throughout the region, ensuring you and your family receive excellent care close to home. Aligning ourselves with a nationally recognized children’s health system will allow us to advance pediatric services and care for your children.

Will the same types of services and appointments be available?

Yes, your child will have access to the same types of services that they currently receive. In addition, Children’s Mercy is looking into providing pediatric endocrinology telehealth services at the clinic.

Will the cost of my child’s visit be the same? What about my co-pay?

Yes, all costs associated with your child’s visit will remain the same.

Will I receive a bill from Children’s Mercy or from Stormont Vail?

The bill you receive will be from Stormont Vail Health, you will not receive a bill from Children’s Mercy for the care that you receive at Stormont Vail Health, including Cotton O’Neil clinics.

Will anything change with my insurance or billing?

There will be no changes with how your insurance or billing. All of that will remain as it has been with your Cotton O’Neil provider.

Will my child have the same health care provider?

With the exception of the departures of Drs. Barger and Alba Aponte, the same physicians and providers will remain. Additional physicians and providers are being recruited to join the team at Cotton O’Neil Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Will there be any changes in clinic frequency/times/dates?

Our goal is to ensure no disruption to your patient’s care. With the departure of some physicians, the clinic schedule will be modified. Families will be notified of any changes affecting their child’s appointment.

Will my child’s medical records be transferred to or shared with Children’s Mercy?

The Children’s Mercy providers will have access to the same electronic medical record system that we utilize, ensuring a seamless transition of your child’s medical history.

Will I still schedule appointments the same way?

Yes, you can still schedule your appointments by calling your provider’s office or through MyChart.

Whom should I contact if I have questions about this change?

We understand that any change in the care you or your child receives, no matter how small, can leave you with unanswered questions. If you have questions that have not been addressed, please call Elizabeth Gerhardt, director, patient care services, at (785) 354-1784.

 

Meet Our Endocrinologists and Providers

Su Ah Bae
M.D.

Endocrinology

Katie J. Barger
M.D.

Pediatric Endocrinology

Leslee J. Bartell
APRN

Endocrinology

Kelli L. Bradbury
APRN

Endocrinology

Susan R. Brian
M.D.

Endocrinology

Melissa A. Drobek
APRN

Endocrinology

Katarina Gambosova
M.D.

Pediatric Endocrinology

Gary G. Graf
APRN

Endocrinology

Kathryn M. Hicks
APRN

Endocrinology

Brandy Hopkins
APRN

Endocrinology

Renee D. Johnson
APRN

Endocrinology

Christina A. Palmer
APRN

Pediatric Endocrinology

Anne A. Perkins
APRN

Endocrinology

Lisa Quilling
APRN

Endocrinology

Naziya Tahseen
M.D.

Pediatric Endocrinology

Steven C. Watkins
M.D.

Endocrinology

Alan G. Wynne
M.D.

Endocrinology

Next Steps For Patients

Make an Appointment

  • Call (785) 368-0445 to make an appointment with an endocrinologist
  • Call (785) 368-0460 to make your child’s endocrinology appointment
  • Call (785) 368-0416 to make an appointment at the Diabetes Learning Center

See a Primary Care Provider

  • Call (785) 270-4440 to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.
  • Not a Stormont Vail patient? Call (785) 270-4440 to set up your first appointment with one of our primary care providers.

Check With Your Insurance

Before your appointment, check with your insurance company to learn about coverage. Click here for a list of Kansas Insurance Company phone numbers and websites.

MyChart

You can stay connected to Stormont Vail through our online portal, MyChart. The portal lets you schedule an E-Visit or appointment, renew prescriptions, view your medical records and test results, and contact your care team.

MyChart Login Learn More About MyChart

Next Steps For Referring Providers

  • If you are a Stormont Vail provider, refer your patient via the Epic work queue.
  • If you are an outside provider, call (785) 368-0445 to refer your patient.