KMA Keeping Members, Public Informed During COVID-19 Pandemic; KMA to Host Virtual Annual Meeting
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of both physicians and patients. The Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) has been working around the clock to keep members and the public informed with the latest developments, resources, and information to help make decisions about healthcare, business and daily life.
KMA has worked closely with Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack, M.D. to communicate the most updated information and to be sure the concerns and needs of physicians were heard. At the Commissioner’s request, KMA began collecting feedback and suggestion from the state’s physicians in early March that were communicated to the Administration and helped develop policy. KMA also engaged in a number of calls with members and other community leaders, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Hospital Association, and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
On March 13, KMA launched a webpage dedicated to archiving and disseminating COVID-19 specific information. KMA also replaced its bi-weekly Kentucky Health eNews newsletter with a daily Member News Alert that delivers the latest information to members in a concise and digestible format. Members registered for KMA’s Text Alert Service also began receiving daily messages with these updates (to sign up, text “KMA” to 50457).
KMA advocacy early in the pandemic helped lead to a number of insurers relaxing rules and policies related to telehealth, which then spurred the creation of a series of one-page handouts on the various telehealth policies and regulations of insurers and the government. The Association also produced a series of guides to financial resources for physicians, which include the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for Medicare Providers, the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Advance, Employee Retention Credit, Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act’s Main Street Lending Program and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund. These have all been made available at kyma.org/COVID19.
Enduring CME Activity
In early April, KMA partnered with McBrayer, PLLC to create an online enduring CME activity for physicians that provides a comprehensive explanation of the provisions of the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The activity details how these two new laws and guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Labor affect healthcare organizations as businesses, employers, and providers of healthcare and emergency response.
KMA conducted an online survey of members the week of April 20 on a number of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including patient volumes, revenue, usage of telehealth, and provisions in the CARES Act. More than 300 physicians responded and contributed valuable feedback that will continue to be utilized through awareness, education, and advocacy efforts.
Public Service Announcements
KMA also began creating messages for the public in order to help spread prevention information and to assist physicians with patient education. KMA partnered with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to create a series of three television public service announcements (PSAs) that encourage Kentuckians to “prepare, protect and disinfect” to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The spots received widespread airplay and are currently being shown on networks across the state and have been adapted for radio as well. A radio PSA was also recorded targeted at rural markets across the state on the benefits of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May, partnered with the Kentucky Hospital Association to create a 30 second television and radio PSA that educates patients on the changes they can expect in the healthcare system as services reopened. The spot was well-received and was even adapted by the North Carolina Hospital Association for distribution in that state.
Each PSA has been accompanied by an op-ed by KMA President Brent Wright, M.D. that have been published in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Lexington Herald-Leader, and in other papers across the state.
In Your Own Words Series
In late March, KMA launched the In Your Own Words series, through which Kentucky physicians share short personal essays on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their practices and patients. More than a dozen physicians have participated so far. The popular essays have described personal and professional struggles, fears, triumphs, and advice as physicians reduced patient capacity, prepared for a potential COVID-19 surge, utilized telehealth for the first time, and reopened their practices.
KMA is proud of the thousands of Kentucky physicians who have continued to provide care to patients while also navigating an unprecedented global event. All of these resources and information are and will continue to be available at kyma.org/COVID19.
2020 KMA Virtual Annual Meeting
The 2020 Annual Meeting of the KMA will be held virtually for the first time this year. The decision was made to move to an online platform out of concern for the safety of Kentucky’s physicians, who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also out of respect for the time and schedules of members whose first priority remains caring for the patients of the Commonwealth.
“We are excited to be moving our Annual Meeting online for the first time,” said KMA President Brent Wright, M.D. “A virtual platform is going to allow more members than ever before to take part in KMA’s programming, while also conveniently allowing physicians to remain in their home communities to continue to provide care to those who need it most.”
The theme of this year’s meeting, “I AM KMA: More than Medicine” will celebrate the individual contributions and accomplishments of physicians as leaders in their communities, advocates for change, educators and more.
“While the theme of the 2020 meeting was decided before COVID-19 struck, it could not ring more true for the events that have unfolded over the last several months. ‘I AM KMA’ will speak to the thousands of members who have been united in battling this unprecedented pandemic and advocating for our practices and patients through organized medicine.” said Dr. Wright.
The new virtual platform will offer several opportunities for CME, including KMA’s popular “Meet the Mandates” program, which enables physicians to receive all of their mandated CME before the end of the three-year cycle. The meeting will also host a number of new and exciting features and opportunities for member connection, engagement and networking.
More details about the 2020 KMA Annual Meeting are forthcoming. Members will receive a special edition of the KMA Communicator in mid-late July with additional information.