A new campaign, "Stop Medical Distancing," launched the same day Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida, said it would cease all elective, non-urgent, and non-emergency procedures effective today in response to the spiking COVID-19 numbers in that state.
An alliance of 10 healthcare organizations that includes Baylor Scott & White Health, Humana, and Walgreens has launched a campaign and PSA to encourage people to get needed medical care while staying committed to social distancing.
The new effort, "Stop Medical Distancing," aims to prevent people from delaying care for medical emergencies like stroke and heart attacks in adults, as well as routine care for children, like vaccinations and well-child visits.
The organizations involved—Baptist Health South Florida, Baylor Scott & White Health, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Health Mart, Humana, Kindred Healthcare, LabCorp, McKesson Corporation, Providence, and Walgreens—cite GoodRx research showing that 75% of Americans have had some aspect of their healthcare disrupted due to COVID-19.
"We are seeing a troubling pattern that people are avoiding medical visits in fear of contracting COVID-19," said William Shrank, M.D., chief medical officer of Humana in a statement. "The intent of the campaign is to let people know that protecting yourself against getting this virus does not need to come at the expense of your overall health."
The campaign stresses that medical facilities have adopted stringent infection prevention measures, as well as telehealth options for care that can be provided virtually, in order to reduce patients' risk of contracting COVID-19.
The campaign announcement came the same day that Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida, said it would cease all elective, non-urgent, and non-emergency procedures effective today in response to the spiking COVID-19 numbers in that state. Memorial said it would continue performing emergency surgeries and outpatient diagnostic procedures. It also offers telehealth.
The "Stop Medical Distancing" campaign is reminiscent of one that launched in May called BetterTogether.Health. For that effort, six of Los Angeles County's largest nonprofit health systems with hospitals, clinics, and care facilities aimed to encourage people to get healthcare when they need it, despite the current pandemic.
"There is concern that patients with serious conditions are putting off critical treatments," Tom Jackiewicz, CEO of Keck Medicine of USC, said in a statement announcing the campaign. "We know that seeking immediate care for heart attacks and strokes can be life-saving and may minimize long-term effects. Our hospitals and health care providers are ready and open to serve your needs."
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.