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Adjusting to Clinical Care Post-PHE: Providers' Transition

Core Concepts
Providers are adapting to post-PHE clinical care changes.
Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center. Providers' Adjustment to Post-PHE Clinical Care Sterling Ransone, Jr, MD, shares his experience of transitioning to seeing patients without masks. The White House lifted the PHE order, requiring healthcare providers to readjust. Clinicians like Ransone are adapting to new policies and patient interactions. Masks are optional, but some providers, like Niharika Khanna, MD, still choose to wear them. Patients' reactions to the end of masking in doctor offices vary. The AAFP emphasizes the importance of vaccination to limit COVID-19 spread. Shifting Landscape of Vaccinations and Testing The government will continue to provide free COVID-19 vaccines until supplies last. Commercial insurance providers will cover vaccines once the government's stock depletes. COVID-19 tests are no longer covered, posing challenges for patients and providers. Medicaid changes may impact patient access to care and treatments. Future of Telehealth and Medicaid Telehealth regulations have allowed better access to care, especially for underserved patients. Medicaid eligibility checks may lead to millions losing coverage, affecting patient care. Hospitals must report COVID-19 test results, and CDC will monitor virus levels through 2024. Staying Mindful and Cautious Providers are reminded not to become complacent despite the easing of restrictions. Ransone highlights the importance of recognizing new COVID-19 symptoms. The move away from universal masking has benefits for communication with older patients.
"The White House last week lifted the public health emergency (PHE) order that overhauled the way healthcare providers operated and advised patients over the past 3 years." "COVID-19 tests, meanwhile, are no longer covered because of the end of the public health emergency, and cost about $45 per kit on average." "About half of the patients who see Khanna have insurance through Medicaid."
"I can't tell you how weird it was the first day that I walked down the hall from my office to where my exam rooms are, to not have a mask on after three years of the habit." - Sterling Ransone, Jr, MD "When the patient first walks up to you, you have no idea what they have." - Niharika Khanna, MD, MBBS

Key Insights Distilled From

by Amanda Schmi... at 05-17-2023
How Providers Are Adjusting to Clinical Care Post-PHE

Deeper Inquiries

How can healthcare providers ensure patient safety while transitioning to post-PHE clinical care?

Healthcare providers can ensure patient safety during the transition to post-PHE clinical care by implementing clear and consistent policies regarding mask-wearing and symptom disclosure. Providers should communicate effectively with patients about the importance of following safety protocols, such as wearing masks if experiencing respiratory symptoms. It is crucial for clinicians to maintain vigilance and not become complacent, as new variants of COVID-19 may present with different symptoms. Additionally, healthcare facilities can continue to offer telehealth services to reach patients who face barriers to in-person care. By staying informed about the latest guidelines and maintaining open communication with patients, providers can prioritize patient safety in the evolving healthcare landscape.

What are the potential implications of Medicaid eligibility checks on patient care and access?

The Medicaid eligibility checks mandated by Congress could have significant implications for patient care and access. As states begin to remove individuals from Medicaid, many patients may lose their insurance coverage, leading to challenges in accessing necessary treatments and medications. Patients who transition to being uninsured or move to private insurance may face higher out-of-pocket costs, potentially causing delays in seeking medical care. Healthcare providers may need to adjust their treatment recommendations based on patients' insurance status, which could impact the quality and continuity of care. It is essential for providers to advocate for policies that prioritize keeping Americans on health insurance to ensure continued access to essential healthcare services.

How can the healthcare system better support underserved patients in the evolving landscape of healthcare policies?

In the evolving landscape of healthcare policies, the healthcare system can better support underserved patients by addressing barriers to access and advocating for equitable care. Providers can collaborate with community organizations to reach underserved populations and provide education on available resources and services. Telehealth services can be expanded to improve access to care for patients who face transportation or geographical challenges. Additionally, healthcare facilities can offer sliding scale fees or financial assistance programs to make healthcare more affordable for underserved patients. Advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national levels can push for policies that prioritize health equity and address disparities in healthcare access. By focusing on inclusivity and addressing the unique needs of underserved populations, the healthcare system can work towards providing more equitable care for all patients.