Dear Michigan ACC Colleagues,
We have all read the headlines “Where Have All the Heart Attacks Gone?” (New York Times April 6, 2020) or “The Untold Toll – The Pandemic’s Effects on Patients without COVID-19” (NEJM April 17, 2020). Declines in STEMI volumes in COVID hotspots have been reported around the world. We have delayed or cancelled procedures, testing, and visits as a part of our social distancing imperative, anticipated hospital bed needs, and availability of PPE. All of this comes at a potential cost and has challenged our decision making in ways that are unfamiliar. There is no data to inform our decisions. There is no Class I Indication to inform us about delaying an “elective” procedure. In the NEJM article, Robert Yeh states, “there perhaps has never been a greater gap between what we need to know urgently and what is actually knowable”. The gaps are many as we continuously learn, iterate, and share best practices in our pandemic world.
There is a great deal of fear about coming to hospitals and a misunderstanding about our availability, virtually or otherwise to see patients. “We are here to care for you,” is an important message to communicate to our patients in this uncertain time. ACC asks us to disseminate this poster to help get the message out
“We are here to serve our cardiology community in Michigan,” is the message I want to share with you on behalf of the Michigan ACC. There is an almost overwhelming abundance of information about health care during COVID, from clinical and basic science, to operational best practice to multiple web-based seminars from ACC, Medaxiom, JACC, MSMS, and myriad organizations and societies. At the Chapter level, we are exploring novel strategies to provide member value, to share experiences, to educate, and share best practices. We recently convened virtual meetings for Cath Lab Directors, Fellowship Program Directors, and the FIT Council. Virtual “gatherings” for the CV Team and all Michigan fellows-in-training are in the planning stages.
I invited you to participate in our webinar, Practice Survival in the Midst of COVID-19, tomorrow at 6:00 PM. We’ll explore resources that the new ACC/Medaxiom partnership brings to bear, tips from the trenches on telehealth, and the potential for financial relief via the CARES Act. Details here.
In May we are planning, East Meets West: Best Practices in a COVID World. We’ll look to your feedback on these webinars to build ongoing valuable education opportunities and engagement with one another throughout the state.
There are several opportunities for you to contribute to the knowledge base and/or weigh-in on patient/practice issues. Please consider the options detailed below.
While we may be past the COVID peak in Michigan, the challenges are not yet behind us. To paraphrase frome an inspirational speech of Barack Obama, “we know the battle ahead will be long, the return to normalcy will be challenging, but no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of us, adapting and working together.” I believe that cardiologists, our practices, our hospitals, and our Chapter are up to the challenge.
I am sometimes accused of being too much of an optimist to which I have no better words than those of Winston Churchill, “For myself, I am an optimist; it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
Stay well and keep your distance!
David Wohns, MD, MBA, FACC