NCMS Morning Rounds 8-19-20

It’s mid-week and time for your NCMS Morning Rounds.

  August 19, 2020

Physician Survey Reveals Impacts of COVID on Practices and Patients

NCMS partner organization, The Physicians Foundation, yesterday published its biennial Survey of America’s Physicians revealing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physician practices and patients.

This year’s survey is a three-part series examining how COVID-19 is affecting and is perceived by the nation’s physicians. The first part of the survey, COVID-19’s Impact on Physicians’ Practices and Patients, finds that the majority (86 percent) of physicians believe COVID-19 won’t be under control until January 2021, with nearly half (49 percent) not seeing the virus being under control until after June 1, 2021. A majority (72 percent) of physicians believe the virus will severely impact patient health outcomes due to delayed routine care during the pandemic.

“The data reveals a near-consensus among America’s physicians about COVID-19’s immediate and lasting impact on our health care system,” said Gary Price, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation. “We are living through a historical shift in the way we practice and how we deliver care to patients. Our health care landscape is constantly changing right now, and we expect it will be radically different for both physicians and our patients long after the pandemic passes.”

Physicians see a potential harm to patients caused by the “indirect effects” of the virus. The primary indirect harm to patients presented by COVID-19, cited by 75 percent of physicians, is employment changes that may result in patients losing health insurance. The loss of employer-based health insurance may prevent patients from seeking the care they need and in turn, exacerbate their ill health.

Further, 67 percent of physicians indicated that patient reluctance to seek medical care due to COVID-19 presents great harm to patients, while 65 percent said closure of physician practices presents great harm to patients.

In addition, 59 percent see opening businesses, schools and public places as a bigger risk to patients than continuing policies of isolation.

The majority of physicians believe the pandemic will have long-lasting effects within the communities they serve, with 59 percent citing that COVID-19 will lead to a reduction in the number of independent physician practices in their communities. Eight percent of physicians have already closed their practices as a result of COVID-19, a number totaling approximately 16,000 practices nationwide. In addition, 43 percent of physicians have reduced staff due to COVID-19.

Despite new and mounting challenges faced by physicians amid COVID-19, nearly all (96 percent), will not leave medicine because of pandemic-related health risks. This optimistic outlook comes on the heels of Paycheck Protection Program Support, with 75 percent of those who applied indicating they received support and it was sufficient for them to stay open.

“Physicians are the foundation of our health care system, and those on the frontlines of the pandemic are evidence of this fact as they continue to care for their patients, families and colleagues,” said NCMS Executive Vice President and CEO and The Physicians Foundation CEO Robert Seligson, MBA, MA. “This survey emphasizes how the pre-existing issues within our health care system, such as physician shortages and lack of patient access to health care, will continue to worsen unless we empower and support physicians as they continue to work tirelessly through a global pandemic.”

Read all the survey findings here.

The Physicians Foundation also recently launched America’s Health: Stories from Physicians on The Frontline, to increase understanding of physicians’ challenges in our current health care system and to create an anthology of physicians’ experiences. The initiative features physicians from across the U.S., including the NCMS Strategic Planning Officer Karen Smith, MD, sharing their experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic. New physician stories will be added regularly, and the Foundation invites all physicians to share their story through the website.

Voting in the NCMS Election Is Stress-Free!

If voting in our nation’s general election this November has you feeling stressed out, one bright spot is that voting for your NCMS leadership is easy and stress free!

You may cast your ballot online beginning on Oct. 1. You just need to please make sure you have paid your 2020 membership dues and we have your most recent email address on file. You can  renew your membership here. If you need to update your email address, please send it to our membership services department here.

The final ballots to fill positions on the NCMS Board of Directors, AMA delegation and Nominating and Leadership Development Committee will be published Sept. 24. You will receive your secure ballot and vote via email. For those without email access, we will mail a paper ballot. Voting will close on Oct. 15 and those elected will be announced the following day at the NCMS Annual Business Meeting.

The NCMS’ Nominating and Leadership Development Committee put forth the following slate of candidates:

Board of Directors
President Elect: Mike Utecht, MD
Secretary Treasurer: John Meier, IV, MD
Region 3 Representative: Karen Smith, MD
Region 4 Representative: Rachel Keever, MD
At-Large Member: Eileen Raynor, MD
At-Large Member: Bryant Murphy, MD

American Medical Association Delegation
Delegate: Hadley Callaway, MD
Delegate: William Bowman, MD
Delegate: Darlyne Menscer, MD
Delegate: Liana Puscas, MD
Alternate Delegate: Rebecca Hayes, MD

Nominating & Leadership Development Committee
Region 1: Chris Grubb, MD
Region 1: Jugta Kahai, MD
Region 2: Justin Hurie, MD
Region 4: Gregory Evans, MD

Kudos to Dr. Messino!

The Office of Governor Roy Cooper recently awarded longtime NCMS member Michael Messino, MD, North Carolina’s highest award for state service, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. NC Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) presented the award to Dr. Messino for his “more than 30 years of providing exceptional cancer care in Western North Carolina, his leadership in building Messino Cancer Centers with comprehensive medical oncology care, and for showing genuine kindness and compassion for his patients, staff and colleagues.”

“I began my medical oncology practice with a vision to not only provide quality cancer care with compassion and kindness and in consideration of the whole patient as a unique individual, but to also ensure patients in the rural communities surrounding Asheville had access to the same level of care,” Dr. Messino said. “This is such a humbling honor bestowed on me by the state and those that nominated me, I am truly grateful for this recognition. We would not be able to do what we do without our dedicated providers and staff”

Messino Cancer Centers (MCC) is a partner practice of American Oncology Network, LLC (AON). The MCC team includes 14 medical oncologists and 18 physician assistants and nurse practitioners who provide a comprehensive range of treatment for patients diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders in six locations in Asheville, Brevard, Franklin, Spruce Pine, Marion and Sylva.

Since 1963, North Carolina’s governors have reserved their highest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. Learn more about this honor.

Congratulations, Dr. Messino!

In the News

PPE Shortage Could Last Years Without Strategic Plan, Experts Warn, Kaiser Health News, 8-17-20

Learning Opportunity

Be sure to register for this Friday, Aug. 21, Power Hour from 1 to 2 p.m. when we will continue our ongoing discussion around racism in the United States and what we can do as individuals, as a health care community and as a medical society to address racial injustice and health inequities. Join your colleagues and our guests, who are focused on change at all levels to address health inequities and disparities, as we grapple with these issues. Learn more and register here.

The KIPL Power Hour aims to provide a forum for ongoing conversation, collaboration and community. Tune in to Power Hour to hear from different experts, decision makers and influencers on a variety of topics. The format is informal and conversational and sessions are easy to access through Zoom. Power Hours will be recorded and made available to you through your NCMS Morning Rounds and on the KIPL webpage.


If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!


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