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Reinvent Health Care to Beat Covid-19

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

By Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan (original source Wall Street Journal)

Many states face Covid epidemics that are proving hard to quell. America will have to deal with Covid as a significant threat for perhaps six more months, until a vaccine is ready. It’s a short period in our long history. But so far we haven’t been able to muster the collective will to control the spread.

The resulting epidemics put more than businesses at risk. If spread continues, school districts will be hard pressed to open in the fall. Also at risk is important health care that people put off during the shutdowns.

For a short time, we need to define a new normal for restaurants, offices and even health care. Florida, Texas and elsewhere are revealing what happens with a fast return to business as usual. Even as the virus surged, many hospitals were resuming elective procedures at 90% of the usual rate. Telehealth visits fell sharply as states reopened.

The focus on restoring elective services is understandable. Providers absorbed major economic hardships during the shutdown. Physicians and hospitals are paid based on procedures, so returning to volume is critical to financial viability and preserving jobs. “Elective” procedures are often vital for a patient’s health.

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