LANSING – The state’s family physicians, pediatricians, obstetricians/gynecologists, and psychiatrists are urging Michiganders not to ignore their healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heart attacks, broken bones, and other medical emergencies requiring immediate attention are still happening every day. Children still need vaccinations to protect against life-threatening contagious illnesses like measles and whooping cough. Pregnant mothers still need prenatal care to protect their and their babies’ health. People suffering from depression and anxiety still need behavioral healthcare. Adults and children with diabetes and asthma still need help managing their chronic illnesses.
“These and other acute and chronic conditions haven’t disappeared because COVID-19 is here. Seeking necessary healthcare is just as important today as it was before,” said Keerthy Krishnamani, MD, MBA, a family physician at Henry Ford Health System and president of Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP).
That’s why MAFP and the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians, Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Michigan Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Michigan Psychiatric Society are reminding residents that primary care physicians are available and prepared to provide care safely and efficiently.
“Health is too important to avoid seeking care. People should call their primary care physician if they have a concern. Your doctor will help you determine if you need to be seen in person, or if you can be treated over the phone or by video. We are here to take care of you and your family, as always. How we do that just might look a little different than in the past,” said Sharon Swindell, MD, FAAP, president of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Anyone experiencing life-threatening symptoms, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, slurred speech, or abdominal pain, should call 9-1-1 or seek immediate care at the emergency room.
“Every minute counts when someone is experiencing a medical emergency,” said Dr. Swindell.
Care that should not be postponed includes:
- Treatment for chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and kidney disease
- Treatment for acute conditions, such as symptoms of heart attack and stroke
- Treatment for severe injuries, such as broken bones and deep cuts
- Mental health needs, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
- Pediatric immunizations that protect children from communicable diseases
- Prenatal care for pregnant mothers
Should you require in-person care, you can be assured that primary care physician offices and hospitals have put even more stringent infection prevention and control measures in place to protect you and your family from COVID-19.
“Not seeking necessary healthcare out of fear of getting COVID-19 is actually more dangerous than the virus itself,” said Kristen Sumners, DO, president of the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians and a family physician with Lakeshore Health Partners in Zeeland.
Sumners continued: “By adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations, physicians’ offices and hospitals are safe places to be. We are continually sanitizing and disinfecting even the smallest surfaces, like doorknobs and light switches. Our healthcare teams wear personal protective equipment and require patients to wear masks as well. Staff and patients are screened for COVID-19. Patients no longer wait for their appointment in the waiting room and social distancing is practiced. The healthcare community is taking every step to protect the health and safety of patients and healthcare workers.”
Pointing to studies showing that individuals who have an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician have better health outcomes, longer lives, and lower healthcare costs than those who don’t, Dr. Krishnamani encourages all Michigan residents to establish and maintain a relationship with a primary care physician.
“Primary care doctors provide comprehensive, coordinated, continuous care. Because we really get to know our patients and their health histories over an extended period of time, this enduring relationship allows us to provide patient-centered care. This is even more important during a public health emergency like COVID-19,” he said.
Michigan Academy of Family Physicians is the state’s largest medical specialty association, representing more than 4,200 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students across the state. www.mafp.com
Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physiciansworks to promote osteopathic family medicine and its role in optimizing health for patients and communities. www.maofp.org.
Since 1949, the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has been the leading child welfare and safety advocacy organization in Michigan. www.miaap.org
The Michigan Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is dedicated to the advancement of women’s health care and the professional and socioeconomic interests of its members through continuing medical education, practice, research, and advocacy. www.acog.org.The Michigan Psychiatric Society represents the interests and professional needs of psychiatric physicians in Michigan while striving to ensure quality care for people with mental disorders and their families through promotion of education, research, and advocacy. https://michigan.psychiatry.org