After nearly eight weeks, medical practices and clinics are finally starting to see restrictions being lifted on preventive care visits, chronic disease management and elective surgeries.
Amidst all the news about COVID-19 wreaking havoc on healthcare providers nationwide, I’ve been gratified to see good news in communities nationwide about alternative solutions to help medical providers and workers in this pandemic: Starbucks providing free coffee to healthcare workers and responders. The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., donating 5,000 respirator masks, held in storage following a previous health scare over 10 years ago, to local hospitals. Whisky and beer producers, automakers and mass clothing producers re-vamping their operations to make needed supplies such as hand sanitizers, medical ventilators and surgical garments.
I have been really impressed with the leadership I'm seeing from health centers, health center controlled networks (HCCNs), Primary Care Organizations, and their partners throughout the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I've been on a lot of phone calls over the past two weeks and you can hear the concern they have for their patients, staff, and physicians. The discussions have been solution orientated and decisions are being made in a thoughtful, methodical, yet expeditious way. Kudos to the leaders at these organizations as well as all of those who work on the front lines providing healthcare. With that said, here is just a small sampling of COVID-19 health center resources made available from some of the many organizations providing resources during this pandemic:
A novel coronavirus causing respiratory illness that first showed up in Wuhan, China in December of 2019 has now spread in 114 countries worldwide affecting 198,000 people so far and causing 7,900 deaths. In US all 50 states have now reported affected cases with large cluster of cases reported in Washington, California and New York states. More than 6,000 cases have now been reported from different states and more than 100 people of have already died.
The AMA created a quick guide to Telemedicine in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. Please click here to read more.
Today, President Trump expanded Telehealth benefits. It appears that visits that can be conducted via Telehealth regardless of diagnosis and will be paid by CMS under the "Physician Fee Schedule" at the same amount as in-person services. Specifically, it says,