You have heard me say it before and you will hear me say it again: We are at war.
A war being fought on our homeland. A war being fought on the frontlines by doctors, nurses, and the entire health care team. This is a war in which we will prevail.
What remains to be seen is at what price. It is only by viewing our current situation in this way that I can wrap my head around the disruption that we face.
As physicians we will step forward and perform our duty. Yes, we are concerned about our own safety, but more so the safety of our families and the safety of those with whom we work, play, and pray – our community.
Like those before us, we have to trust to some degree that when this is over, we will be able to return to some new normal. It is what it is. Almost.
Health care constitutes almost 20% of our economy. In Texas, our 55,000-plus patient care physicians create almost 700,000 additional jobs. The total annual output of Texas health care is nearly $120 billion.
Certainly, every industry and our entire economy will suffer as a result of the pandemic. However, if the health care industry is allowed to fail then the health of our patients, our state, and the country will suffer for years to come. Although nothing should distract us from the battle at hand, our country, our state, and our association must keep an eye to the future to ensure the viability of health care.
It is with this in mind that your Texas Medical Association has been working feverishly to compile and consolidate the tools necessary for medical practices to survive this pandemic and return to strength in the future.
Our COVID-19 Practice Viability Tool Kit will help physicians negotiate the byzantine Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Specific guidance on Small Business Association forgivable loans, Medicare accelerated payment plans, and practice overhead reduction strategies are explained in the toolkit.
In addition, TMA is producing webinars and podcasts to make efficient use of our doctors’ limited time. And our Practice Consulting and Knowledge Center staff are readily available for questions. Our TMA will continue to update and improve the tools our doctors and their practices need.
Although I’m confident these resources will be helpful, I’m also sure that it will not be enough. As an association we are advocating for further relief at both the federal and state level.
We realize that OB/Gyns and pediatricians don’t benefit from Medicare advance payments. Large group practices and academic physician groups can’t use small business loans. Primary care physicians with razor-thin margins can only “hold their breath” for so long, while some specialists have seen a 90% reduction in volume and can’t readily use telemedicine for their services.
TMA advocates for all physicians, no matter practice size or type. We have a dedicated team of staff ready to help not only our members but nonmembers as well.
That’s right, these resources are available to all Texas physicians.
We are a community, and we are in this together. Fight the good fight knowing that when this is over, we will return to a new normal because our TMA has our back.
Find this toolkit, and other tools, resources, and information on the practice viability section of the TMA COVID-19 Resource Center.