The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians Executive Vice President Ann Spicer distributed the following letter to the editor to the statewide press on March 24:
Family physicians and their practice teams are on the front lines of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are playing a crucial role in caring for those impacted and in controlling virus spread.
Faced with a deluge of respiratory triage and chronic care management via telehealth, family physicians are answering the call on top of a normal workload that already tests the limits of the primary care infrastructure. Family physicians and their practice teams are helping limit the burden on emergency departments, all the while operating with inadequate supplies of personal protection equipment (PPE) and testing kits. They worry that they may become infected, be unable to care for their patients, and infect their families and loved ones. Since telemedicine services are typically not covered at the same payment levels as in-person visits, they worry about keeping their practices open as many family medicine practices, prior to the pandemic, were already on the edge of economic viability. Nonetheless, family physicians and their practice teams are putting their lives on the line for their patients and communities.
There are many heroes in plain view at this very difficult time. Ohio’s family physicians are certainly among those courageous heroes.