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We Need to Improve the US Healthcare System

Our health care systems are built, by and large, on reimbursement for procedural activities.

When the pandemic shut down out-patient ambulatory surgeries, most hospitals encountered financial losses and personnel changes.

Our health care systems should be more flexible and able to adapt, with appropriate support, to the health care crises of the moment.

It seems that each health care system was on their own in the early stages of the pandemic. That is a guaranteed recipe for failure going forward.

 

  1. The pandemic laid bare our public health system. It exposed our inability to mount a unified national response, to have the necessary supply chain resources available at a moment’s notice, and to speak with a voice of authority to a frightened public. A recommitment to a pandemic response plan is absolutely necessary. This type of epidemic/pandemic will happen again.
  2. The pandemic exposed the gross inequities in our society — people of color and people with lesser socio-economic means were disproportionately affected with disease and death. Our perpetuation of a two-tier health care system (private vs. public) with difficulties with access, affordability, and engagement will only serve to continue these inequities unless we seriously address them now and going forward.
  3. The pandemic showed that children are indeed vulnerable, even when others might not think so. Maybe their infection rate was lower (but as of this writing, over 4 million children have been affected) but serious health risks can occur…AND the necessary isolation of our children that occurred from public health mitigation measures has put them at risk for decreased school performance, mental health issues (anxiety, depression, suicide), and exposure to increased risk of child abuse. While we have directed our attention to adults, children have been receiving less than optimal support from our society. There will be substantial lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as pertains to children.
  4. The pandemic demonstrated how the politicization of our public health occurs to the detriment of us all. Public health servants should serve regardless of political affiliation and continue their service from administration to administration. Attempts to control a narrative that is contrary to sound medical and public health advice only serves to undermine the experts in the field and to undermine their advice going forward. Sound scientific advice is not static and changes as data changes. This lesson has been lost in the current politicized atmosphere.
  5. Our health care systems are built, by and large, on reimbursement for procedural activities. When the pandemic shut down out-patient ambulatory surgeries, most hospitals encountered financial losses and personnel changes. Our health care systems should be more flexible and able to adapt, with appropriate support, to the health care crises of the moment. It seems that each health care system was on their own in the early stages of the pandemic. That is a guaranteed recipe for failure going forward.

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