Different Takes: Protect Primary Care Practices; Hospitals Suffer Financially During Pandemic; Lessons About Avoiding Misinformation
Editorial pages focus on these pandemic issues and others.
Primary Care Must Be Saved From Being Devastated By Covid-19
As the U.S. nears 60,000 deaths due to Covid-19, primary care could be among its next casualties. Half of the primary care practices in America are small businesses, which means they are battling the virus on the frontlines even as they are on the verge of going out of business. The reason for this dynamic is that most of these practices, and much of our health care system, rely on an outdated payment model: Each in-person visit with a patient generates a payment. Without in-person visits, there is little to no revenue. (Daniel Horn, Wayne Altman and Zirui Song, 4/29)
Mandating Advanced Payments Would Hurt Insurers' Ability To Deliver For Patients
The near disappearance of routine care and elective surgeries as well as sharply higher supply and labor costs to prepare for a potential influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients have delivered a major blow to hospitals and other care providers. That's why health insurance providers supported massive federal financial support for hospitals, and many are working locally to speed reimbursement and deliver other assistance to providers. (Matt Eyles, 4/28)
The Washington Post:
Beware Of Studies Claiming Covid-19 Death Rates Are Smaller Than Expected
The covid-19 pandemic is sowing death, suffering and economic devastation across the world. Containing its deadly march will require answers to many questions, most of which we are only beginning to chip away at. Among the most critical: How many people have been infected, and how many are going to die? Does the virus kill in 1 in 20 or 1 in a 1,000? Two recent studies from California, using antibody tests designed to look for immune markers of previous infections, seem to suggest that the virus is much less deadly than many previously thought. But beware of these findings: They have not been vetted and should be recognized as such. (George Q. Daley, Stephen Elledge, Galit Alter and Michael Springer, 4/28)
People With Disabilities Are At A Disadvantage With Covid-19
I have nightmares, whether I’m asleep or awake, as do many of us as we endure the trials of the Covid-19 pandemic. Will it strike us, our families, our friends? Social isolation weighs on, but not as much as the fear of being isolated from those we love in illness and in death. Mothers like me of children with significant mental or cognitive disabilities have yet another fear: If my child gets ill and needs hospitalization, especially when resources are scarce, the outcome is almost certain to be tragic, and I won’t be able to be there. (Eva Feder Kittay, 4/29)
COVID-19 Going Forward — A US Perspective
COVID-19 is a grave pandemic, the worst we have seen since the 1918 flu pandemic. Its virus is not only harming and killing hundreds of thousands of us, but it is also creating despair and poverty. Its economic and mental health harms are incalculable... I have chosen not to summarize the harms but to ask what we can do to vanquish this invisible scourge over the next year. (Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, 4/28)
The New York Times:
Why Zoom Is Terrible
Last month, global downloads of the apps Zoom, Houseparty and Skype increased more than 100 percent as video conferencing and chats replaced the face-to-face encounters we are all so sorely missing. Their faces arranged in a grid reminiscent of the game show “Hollywood Squares,” people are attending virtual happy hours and birthday parties, holding virtual business meetings, learning in virtual classrooms and having virtual psychotherapy. But there are reasons to be wary of the technology, beyond the widely reported security and privacy concerns. Psychologists, computer scientists and neuroscientists say the distortions and delays inherent in video communication can end up making you feel isolated, anxious and disconnected (or more than you were already). You might be better off just talking on the phone. (Kate Murphy, 4/29)
Health Care Workers Shouldn’t Have To Decide Between Their Own Health And That Of Patients. Period.
From organizations like the Houston Food Bank stocking families’ pantries, to alcohol producers like Gulf Coast Distillers donating hand sanitizer, to a personal protective equipment (PPE) drive at Minute Maid Park — these stories are a reliable source of comfort amid so much uncertainty. As Texans work together to flatten the curve and support one another, I’m continuing the fight in Congress to get the resources our health care workers and local leaders need. (John Cornyn, 4/28)
Detroit Free Press:
When It Comes To Emergency Food, Many People Can't Afford To 'Stay Home, Stay Safe'
The governor has urged Michiganders to “stay home, stay safe,” yet in this age of extreme social distancing, acquiring adequate food and supplies for vulnerable households becomes a challenge. For low-income individuals, the public health recommendations to stay home, limit food trips, and buy in bulk are nearly impossible. The current emergency food system is fragmented by rules, eligibility and limits on the quantity of food given, requiring families to navigate a complex system with varying days, times, and locations, often changing schedules from day to day. (Jennifer F. Lucarelli, 4/28)