OR- ACEP Members:
All of you are heroes. You are the front lines in this war on Coronavirus. OR-ACEP wants to support you in any way we can. At the state level we have OR-ACEP board members on the Governor’s Pandemic Taskforce working, among other efforts, to craft a plan to address healthcare surge capacity. The State Legislature will be convening soon in an emergency session to address the urgent needs of our healthcare community in response to COVID-19 and the economic crisis. OR-ACEP members and our Government Relations Director, Katy King, will be involved in these meetings.
I know new information is hitting you from every side, and I don’t want to add to the burden, but I wanted to let you know that OR-ACEP has your back and stands with you. These are our planned efforts currently:
- Work with State and Federal legislators to deal with the Coronavirus epidemic
- Ensure the safety of healthcare providers in Oregon
- Facilitate delivery of PPE to all Emergency care providers, prioritizing EMS and ED.
- Make public aware of our role, and personal risk, in keeping them safe and healthy during this epidemic
- Assist in dealing with economic fallout from the epidemic
- Keep legislators aware of our special populations (homeless, economically disadvantaged, mentally ill, elderly) to discuss outpatient treatment, follow-up care and housing.
In addition, here are policy positions approved by the OR-ACEP Board:
ACEP’s recommendations center around three main objectives: providing access to care for those infected or suspected infected; securing an adequate health care workforce; and ensuring adequate resource allocation. Among the specific policy changes, ACEP and OR-ACEP recommends:
- Implementing alternative testing centers for faster, more cost-effective testing while freeing up hospital capacity for those who need it most and allowing those who test positive to self-quarantine;
- Ensuring full coverage of testing and diagnosis by payers without patient cost-sharing;
- Prioritizing availability of personal protective equipment for emergency workers and other frontline personnel responding to the outbreak;
- Ensuring the production of medications and supplies relevant to COVID-19 is prioritized and that they are distributed directly to needed sites of care; and
- Increasing transparency of the supply chain for these products to better identify and proactively address potential shortages.
Furthermore, OR-ACEP supports these policies:
- Social distancing and “safety-at-home” policies to keep people out of the ED and to protect vulnerable patients and the healthcare workforce that is critical to addressing the pandemic.
- Maintaining appropriate outpatient follow-up for those without COVID-19 concerns.
- Minimize harm to emergency health care providers in the workplace.
We appreciate any input from members regarding how OR-ACEP can help you individually, as a local group, and as a specialty to make your job easier and safer. I welcome anecdotal stories about your struggles, victories, and failures, which can have a profound impact on legislators and the public. We want to tell your story.
Despite the overwhelming demand of this pandemic for attention, I want you to know that we are multi-tasking like any good ED doctor, and continuing to work on all the other issues of Emergency Medicine, including balance billing at both the state and the federal level.
I know you will all take precautions as much as possible to protect yourself, your families and patients. God bless us all in this unprecedented endeavor. My prayers are with you.
Michael F. McCaskill, MD, FACEP