AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Chief Health Care Officer Janis M. Orlowski, MD, MACP, issued the following statement on the announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase capacity of health care systems during the COVID-19 surge:
“The AAMC is grateful for the actions taken today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand health care services outside of the traditional hospital settings. As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase at an alarming rate around the country, CMS’ actions offer health care providers more regulatory flexibility to provide certain hospital services in patients’ homes and increase patient care via telehealth visits, which will allow our hospitals to better address the pandemic at this crucial time. We appreciate CMS’ continual innovation to help the health care system deliver care during the pandemic.
The nation’s teaching hospitals, medical schools, and faculty physicians—who often treat the most complex cases in our health system—have been at the forefront of treating COVID-19 patients, as well as piloting and developing this innovative patient care program.
While today’s actions are important in expanding the ability to provide care in non-hospital settings, thus expanding the capacity of care at teaching hospitals, increasing the nation’s hospital bed capacity alone will not solve the critical challenges we are facing at this time. Although teaching hospitals are uniquely prepared to deal with public health emergencies, the nation’s health care workforce is stretched thin on the front lines of this pandemic.
As we move into the holiday season, each one of us must remain vigilant and do our part to curtail COVID-19 by taking the necessary public health precautions, including wearing masks in public and adhering to social distancing guidelines. In the longer term, we must address the shortage of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals in today’s health care system so we can better care for our patients and communities during future public health emergencies.”