June 3, 2020

Economics

My clinic is picking up speed. I brought work home today for the first time since the pandemic shut things down. I actually saw patients, but my rhythm is off. Throwing video visits in between actual physical patients is a strange interlude and a distraction. I couldn’t find my groove.

We are not the only medical organization that saw a drop off in visits with the pandemic. Many practices and hospitals are in a world of financial hurt. The American medical system is not known for its efficiencies or for being economical. Many primary care clinics are struggling now, as are hospitals, especially in rural areas. Many will not survive because their income is based on actually seeing patients. Don’t blame the doctors. It is a ragged and inequitable system. Primary care providers also have the lowest income and often work with a shoestring budget, with little room for obstacles. Nothing like a pandemic to shine a light on the needs for healthcare reform. The system is not sustainable and has so much more potential.

Delay in care is also increasing costs to people’s health because life threatening conditions are being ignored and care is delayed. One thing to know is that right now, anyway, ER’s and clinics are some of the safest places to be, as the number of infections decrease. That will change as numbers increase over the next few weeks, with more opening up and exposures. There will be hot spots which can change county to county, so pay attention to what your local health department is telling you. If you have been ignoring a health issue waiting for the pandemic to clear, now is a window of opportunity, so call you doctor’s office. They will be happy to see you or set up a video visit.

Another disappointing study result came out today regarding hydroxychloroquine. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the randomized trial did not show any difference in symptomatic infections in people exposed to COVID-19 who took hydroxychloroquine or placebo. Not surprising but disappointing to some who had hoped for better results.

And a pediatrician weighs in on children playing together again.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, stay 6 feet apart.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/01/americans-are-delaying-medical-care-its-devastating-health-care-providers/

https://www.jwatch.org/fw116699/2020/06/03/hydroxychloroquine-did-not-prevent-symptomatic-covid-19

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/01/well/family/coronavirus-reopening-children-parents-play-dates.html