The number of people infected by COVID-19 worldwide is quickly moving toward 2 million and almost 33% of them are from the U.S. The circumstance is past dreary and administrative bodies in the U.S. are acting rapidly to contain the harm coming about because of the spread of this novel infection.
Starting with the entry restrictions, federal agencies and healthcare regulatory bodies have executed a few measures to ensure the wellbeing and interests of healthcare professionals, program planners, manufacturers, distributors and the overall population.
Flexibility and waivers granted to healthcare stakeholders
The new rules issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) state that healthcare providers will be permitted to manage increased patient volumes by utilizing remote triage capabilities. Suspected infected persons who have developed mild to moderate symptoms would be directed to designated inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and specially outfitted hotels and dormitories. This way, healthcare professionals will be able to better attend patients in critical conditions while ensuring all the protocols issued to contain the infection are maintained and personal protective equipment is conserved.
To manage the dearth of healthcare professionals against the growing patient volumes, local physicians and providers are also being encouraged to contribute to healthcare services. Certain rules also have been relaxed to make that happen. The new rule also states that physicians will receive resources to provide telehealth services along with other motivational perks such as childcare services and meals.
For a certain period of time, CMS has issued some relief to healthcare providers from some administrative requirements. Healthcare professionals are working day in, day out, relentlessly, under immense pressure. The temporary flexibilities offered should provide some respite from organizational and regulatory requirements to healthcare providers.
Solution for the shortage of medical supplies
Currently, there is an acute lack of ventilators in the US healthcare system, which is necessary to treat the critically ill, infected patients. Unless a new supply source is discovered, the ventilator supply will dry up soon. In that case, adding new ventilators would become very expensive. It will cost an additional $12000 to add one ventilator.
A private ventilator manufacturing company, Respironics Inc, has pledged to deliver 2,000 ventilators a week by May end. However, the current condition is critical and the Trump administration requires them to deliver 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. Under the Defense Production Act, Respironics has been ordered to boost its production and meet the growing demand.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also offered help to manage the ventilator shortage. The ventilators used in ambulances and anesthesia gas machines will now be used by hospitals. The FDA has also permitted the use of adapted nightstand CPAP machines, typically used for patients with sleep apnea.
There is also a huge shortage of medical gowns, masks and other basic supplies necessary for healthcare services. China was the major producer of these goods in the past; however, it’s not exporting them in full capacity anywhere currently. CDC has advised using homemade masks and bandanas until the medical supplies are available again. Hospitals are also gathering volunteers to sew masks for healthcare workers.
Safeguarding the interests distributors, manufactures and program planners
Under the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, companies will receive protection from the damaging effects of the countermeasures against COVID-19. Manufacturers, distributors and program planners suffering losses due to medical and security countermeasures will be covered. The drugs and devices used to treat and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus will be included in these countermeasures.
Mitigating the consequential financial crisis
The pandemic will likely snowball into a global economic crisis. It is being speculated that it will be worse than the 2007-2008 recession. As a precautionary measure, the Federal Reserve has decided to add $1.5 trillion into the financial system. The student loan borrowers will also receive some temporary concessions. The interests shall be waived until the pandemic subsides. The administration has also passed a $100 billion relief plan to increase paid leave for workers and has expanded the scope of unemployment insurance and COVID-19 testing.
The road ahead
The federal government is coming up with new measures to reduce the possible consequences of this public health and economic crisis. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything the healthcare and other sectors have ever been through, in recent years.
There aren’t sufficient healthcare resources and if the number of infected people increases, the pressure would increase even further. Following the rules and advice issued by the regulatory bodies and practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of this disease is extremely important, especially now.
Abhinav Shashank is the CEO and Co-founder of Innovaccer Inc., a leading healthcare data activation platform. In his role as the CEO, Abhinav has laid the foundation for Innovaccer’s success as a leading data activation platform company and registering a 400% y-o-y growth. Abhinav has also been given a coveted spot in ‘Forbes- 30 Under 30 Asia 2017: Enterprise Tech’ and recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the ‘Top 50 rising leaders in US healthcare under 40.’”