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LMS President’s Message – June 2020

LMS President’s Message, June, 2020
COVID-19 Era: Embracing Healthcare Reopening
By Mamata Majmundar, MD

As of May 27, we are in Phase 4 of the rapid reopening of healthcare to keep Kentuckians safe. It has been over a month when we began resuming non-urgent/emergent health care services, diagnostic radiology and labs in outpatient settings on April 27, transitioning to outpatient and invasive surgeries with strict guidelines in place on May 6, then to non-emergency surgeries in hospital and care facilities at 50% of pre COVID-19-era patient volume on May 13. We are now operating with the fourth phase of Governor Beshear’s reopening of healthcare services in Kentucky. During Phase 4, hospitals and healthcare facilities can determine their own patient capabilities, as long as progress continues with guidelines in place, orders are followed. We continue to work in our new normal with extra precautions being taken with maximizing social distancing, maintaining face coverings/masks, continuing tele health when applicable, and changing processes for waiting rooms to name a few. The last few weeks members continue on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients to others being sidelined and working mainly tele health due to past restrictions and embracing new change as growth. As we reopen healthcare we want to continue to share our members perspectives, provide an update on the KMA Annual Meeting, offer support of our Physician Wellness Program, connect you to an online “Pandemic Survival Guide” video workshop by Mayo Clinic trained physician, Dike Drummond, MD, and give our private practices a reopening gift. 

Our June newsletter has several perspectives of how our members are dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Two of our LMS executive board members Hope Cottrill, MD, and Tina Fawns, MD, the Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Robert DiPaola, MD, and the Medical Director of the Kentucky Blood Center, Dennis Williams, MD  share their perspectives this month. Dr. Cottrill, Baptist Health Gynecologist Oncologist, shares thoughts on her cancer patients, family members, personal health, and practice. Dr. Fawns, Family Medicine, describes the detailed COVID-19 safety procedures in place, at UK Health Care Family Medicine Turfland and embracing telemedicine especially for the high-risk patients. Dr. DiPaola shares how their medical students have stepped in to help their university, community, and the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Dennis Williams, the Kentucky Blood Center Medical Director, gives an update on how they were one of the first in the country to begin collecting convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-10 patients. Feel free to reach out to LMS if you are interested in telling your story. Feel free to reach out to LMS if you are interested in telling your story.

The focus of the KMA Annual Meeting is education and a COVID Townhall. This year will be an opportunity to provide the first virtual format. This allows our members to partake from home/office to maximize their time while receiving up to date information on “Meet the Mandates” to cover House Bill 1 requirements and a town hall to address COVID related issues. The KMA resolution process, which at the county-level begins at our LMS Caucus meetings, will be suspended this year. While member continue to navigate new challenges, this is a chance to keep in mind ideas for resolutions for the upcoming year to ease the burdens of our system and improve the practice of medicine. More details about the annual meeting are forthcoming from the KMA.

The practice of medicine over the past three months is taking an economic and human toll, not only on illness and loss of life but the adjustments to changes in our work. These times are important to focus on routine, self care, things within our control. Our LMS Physician Wellness Program (PWP), now in its fifth year, offers 8 free counseling sessions per calendar year. It is 100% confidential. Our psychologists, the Woodland Group, are currently only using tele therapy due to COVID-19. This is a continued benefit for our members and has expanded programming to include all UK residents in July, 2016 and all UK College of Medicine medical students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in Lexington and their extended campuses in Bowling Green, Northern Kentucky, and Morehead on May 1st, 2020.

As mentioned last newsletter, LMS is renewing our relationship with Dike Drummond, MD to help our members deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Drummond is a family medicine physician and executive coach who has worked with over 40,000 doctors in the last ten years, helping them prevent and treat physician burnout – another transformational crisis for doctors. We last worked with Dr. Drummond back in 2016 when he presented a seminar on physician burnout at our Physicians’ Day at Keeneland. The event and his presentation were well received and earned high marks. Dr. Drummond has created an online video training workshop called the “Pandemic Survival Guide for Physicians.”  Highly recommend this is an excellent resource which is useful for all physicians and their teams.

Finally, our LMS Foundation board is offering a reopening gift consisting of 1 gallon and four 16-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer with trigger sprayers to the first 30 private practices that contact us. LMS will deliver your box to your practice and call you from your parking lot. We ask for members, that are able to, contribute what you can to the LMS Foundation so we can expand this effort to more practices. A donation of $99 will support a box for a private practice.

We want to hear, for future newsletters, what adaptations you have made due to the COVID-19 pandemic that are worth continuing.

Be well and stay safe,

Mamata Majmundar, MD