The Pulse: March 2020 Edition
Keep your finger on The Pulse of what's happening in health care. We deliver monthly highlights of the developments shaping our exciting field. From the war on health to reasons for hope amid the coronavirus pandemic, here is the latest from March.
The War on Health
The world is at war against the novel coronavirus, and now America, with the most reported cases at over 140,000, is at the forefront. The soldiers in this fight do not have guns to defend themselves against the enemy. Many do not even have the basic protective gear they need. And yet they fight. They fight for the health and safety of our communities and country at large.
We are profoundly grateful for the personal sacrifice you make to serve our people—not just during a pandemic but every day you show up to work to help those in need. Our team at ICON is proud to serve you.
As political scientist Mark Schrad said, we can only hope that you receive the recognition and praise you deserve when this war is over.
America has long equated patriotism with the armed forces. But you can’t shoot a virus. Those on the frontlines against coronavirus aren’t conscripts, mercenaries or enlisted men; they are our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, caregivers, store clerks, utility workers, small-business owners and employees. Like Li Wenliang and the doctors of Wuhan, many are suddenly saddled with unfathomable tasks, compounded by an increased risk of contamination and death they never signed up for. When all is said and done, perhaps we will recognize their sacrifice as true patriotism, saluting our doctors and nurses, genuflecting and saying, “Thank you for your service,” as we now do for military veterans. We will give them guaranteed health benefits and corporate discounts, and build statues and have holidays for this new class of people who sacrifice their health and their lives for ours. Perhaps, too, we will finally start to understand patriotism more as cultivating the health and life of your community, rather than blowing up someone else’s community. Maybe the de-militarization of American patriotism and love of community will be one of the benefits to come out of this whole awful mess.
Reasons for Hope on the Battlefront
There is much work to be done, but major developments give us a reason to hope amid this unprecedented crisis. For one, the Federation of State Medical Boards is waiving restrictions for active providers, as well as expediting licensure for retired providers, to mobilize more providers who are willing to work in underserved areas.
We are also seeing federal initiatives to expand telehealth benefits that include more comprehensive coverage for Medicare patients without restrictions. To further fortify these efforts, the American Academy of Neurology is urging state and federal governments to “provide telehealth technology and education free of charge to providers who don't currently use telehealth in their practices.” These telehealth initiatives are a critical step in alleviating the strain many facilities are feeling in the wake of COVID-19 and act as a safety net to preserve the health and safety of our providers.
Our country is coming together like never before to support the healthcare industry. We have multinational corporations like General Motors, Ford, Tesla and Apple joining the fight to equip facilities with ventilators, protective masks and other necessary supplies. Hospitals in New York are also receiving much-needed support with the arrival of the Navy hospital ship the USNS Comfort.
Now more than ever, we need to work together to overcome this pandemic. Our team at ICON is here to support you. For physicians or advanced practice providers willing and able to help, we have many opportunities available for you. For employers seeking help, please let us know what specialty of providers you need and where.
We are honored to join you in the fight.