State leaders are now talking and debating the appropriate ways to open the economy. Many Governors, including Gov. Murphy, are rightly working together — and recognizing that a virus does not stop at state borders.
Clear and trustworthy communication from political leaders is essential right now. As our board chair, Suzanne M. Miller, Ph.D., writes in an oped she co-authored, we need leaders who can inspire people to think beyond their own personal risk. It’s an important piece that also reflects on the need for all of us to recognize the challenges of living in quarantine and to take care of ourselves. You can read the oped here.
Taking care of ourselves may mean seeking medical care that has nothing to do with the coronavirus. The health care system remains largely open for patient care even as elective procedures have stopped for now. At the Quality Institute, we’re working to address the immediate needs brought on by the pandemic and looking toward the recovery as well.
Right now, we’re providing expert information for providers and for patients on how to safely and effectively receive care either through safe practices in an office setting or through telehealth. Our resources include webinars and guidance documents on telehealth, virtual advance care planning and conversations, addressing anxiety for you and your staff, and more.
Clearly the crisis has hit us unequally and exposed our nation’s and health system’s greatest weaknesses. In its wake, we will see many people migrate from employer-sponsored health insurance to government-funded programs such as NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid) and the ACA marketplace.
Indeed, a recent report by HMFA predicts that New Jersey’s Medicaid population will grow by 279,000 to 646,000 people and that employer-sponsored plans will shrink by as many as 960,000 lives. Maintaining, supporting, and expanding these government programs will be critical to a fast-growing number of Garden State residents.
If nothing else, the pandemic has made the point that we all need access to health care. Unfortunately today, insurance is not available to everyone. We’ll need to create options beyond charity care and the emergency room for people to get the care they need — in an emergency, but also for on-going primary care. These are tough and expensive issues that our leaders will need to address.
At the Quality Institute, we are committed to continuing our work on these issues with our members and the state during this difficult time and beyond.
We’ve heard from many of our provider members asking us to remind the world that they are still there for on-going essential care — such as reproductive health at places such as Planned Parenthood. Please continue to reach out. Just as disparities have been highlighted, so have innovative solutions and the elimination of outdated barriers. We are highlighting our own growing list and look forward to the challenge of improving the health system for everyone. Stay well.