by Dr. Maulik Trivedi, Chief Strategy Officer, StationMD
Twenty-twenty was a year we will all remember, but many would soon rather forget. As we kick-start 2021 with the promise of COVID-19 vaccine rollout, we can hold hope for a sense of normalcy, but we cannot let our guards down.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are at particularly high risk of the worst effects of COVID-19. One recent study suggests that individuals with I/DD are three times more likely to die from a COVID-19 infection. As we all attempt to manage our daily lives during this period of uncertainty, here are three ways advocates can navigate the months ahead to support the disability community:
Continue to voice your needs to funders and decision-makers.
The entire ANCOR ecosystem has an opportunity to be heard in this moment. Regulators and health system administrators cannot make effective funding and policy decisions for the ANCOR community without understanding the community’s unique needs.
As a practicing emergency department physician, I clearly see the need to relieve pressure on our emergency rooms and health care systems. Hospitals are at capacity with COVID-19 patients, and other medical conditions are competing for physician attention.
Whether you are a physician, an individual with I/DD, a provider, a direct support professional or family member, together we need to be helping federal, state and local regulators better understand our concerns and encourage them to direct resources to our community.
Become a telemedicine convert.
In the ER, I am constantly seeing people with I/DD come to the hospital with their support staff and/or family members for issues like fever, vomiting, a minor fall or even for a prescription refill. These are issues that physicians can often treat through telemedicine, so the patient never has to leave the comfort of their home setting.
Many physicians now have the capabilities to see patients remotely. They have reliable digital tools that allow them to listen to heart and lung sounds and to see inside the ear and we often we can diagnose the problem with a simple history and physical exam. If you have never tried telemedicine, I highly encourage you exploring this solution as a first line of care for urgent, non-emergency medical matters.
Whether it’s with StationMD where I practice telemedicine, or it’s via a telehealth visit with your primary care doctor or specialist, a virtual consultation eliminates everyone’s risk of exposure to coronavirus. With the crisis in full swing, that is not simply a matter of convenience—it’s literally life-saving.
Continue the course with masking, distancing, hand-washing and sanitizing.
Though COVID-19 vaccines are swiftly being distributed across the world, we do not expect to see immunity from COVID-19 until enough people to become vaccinated. That will take months, assuming most people decide to get the vaccine.
In the meantime, carry on about your life as you have since early 2020. Make masks, distancing and hand-washing a priority. In the absence of vaccine-induced immunity, these are measures that are proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
About the Author: Dr. Maulik M. Trivedi, Chief Strategy Officer for StationMD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine physician in practice for over 20 years. He has served as the chairman or associate chair of several emergency departments and has been an integral part of the core leadership of Emergency Medicine provider groups in the NYC region. He’s a founding partner of StationMD and has been instrumental in helping the organization achieve its mission of improving the quality of care for the I/DD population. Dr. Trivedi is a national speaker who’s been featured on news programs and podcasts, and he’s a recognized thought leader on the use of technology and telehealth solutions to positively impact an individual’s medical care and foster independence. He continues to practice as an ER doctor in the NYC area and sees value in applying tech solutions to keep both individuals and staff safe during the COVID-19 crisis. He and his family currently live in midtown Manhattan.
About StationMD: StationMD is a health care solution that delivers sophisticated medical care through telemedicine, offering immediate access at any time to high-quality, board certified ER doctors who are specially trained in the care of vulnerable populations. Through HIPPA compliant two-way video technology, and with the use of Bluetooth medical tools, StationMD physicians can assess individuals in their home setting. They can provide treatment plan recommendations and quality medical care to keep patients safe, healthy and in place whenever possible. Learn more at StationMD.com, and follow along via Twitter (@StationMD) and on Facebook and LinkedIn (StationMD).