Mississippi Hospital Association and Mississippi State Medical Association Highlight Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Recommendations for Mississippians to Safely Seek Care

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JACKSON, Miss. – Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidance for patients and beneficiaries emphasizing the importance of prioritizing telemedicine visits and seeking needed in-person treatment that may have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA) and Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) launched a new campaign called Prepared to Care in May to inform Mississippians about their range of safe options for seeking medical treatment, including using telemedicine.

“Americans need their healthcare and our healthcare heroes are working overtime to deliver it safely,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Those needing operations, vaccinations, procedures, preventive care, or evaluation for chronic conditions should feel confident seeking in-person care when recommended by their provider.”

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During the height of the pandemic, Mississippi’s physicians, clinics, and hospitals postponed non-emergency, non-COVID-19 care in order to ensure capacity to care for COVID-19 patients and to preserve supplies, such as masks and ventilators. Overall, Mississippi’s population has a greater risk of medical conditions that may cause significant health complications if treatment is delayed, including high rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic medical conditions. Delaying care can put patients at much higher risk of significant health complications if they delay regular appointments or emergency care.

In an earlier statement, MHA President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy H. Moore highlighted precautions hospitals and clinics have put in place to protect patients when they need face-to-face care. “Even throughout the COVID-19 crisis, hospitals have continued to provide a safe and caring environment,” said Moore. “We are prepared to care for everyone who walks through our doors every day.”

The CMS recommendations for patients include:

  • Do not postpone necessary care. Mississippians should not postpone care that is urgent or may lead to complications, such as heart attack or stroke, or necessary preventive care, such as immunizations or cancer screening.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about the precautions they are putting in place to keep patients safe. Mississippi’s physicians, hospitals, and clinics are using thorough sanitization practices, rigorous screening procedures, and strict visitor policies for several weeks to create the safest care environments for patients.
  • Consider telehealth or virtual visits. Patients may receive certain care by “telehealth”—audio or audio/visual care via their phone or computer. Mississippi physicians are prepared to care for patients in the comfort and safety of their home, using the latest telemedicine technology to meet with you by video or phone.
  • What to expect when you seek healthcare. To prevent patients from getting COVID-19, or giving it to others, patients may be asked to wear a face covering, avoid crowded waiting areas, or limit visitors or people who attend appointments.

Claude Brunson, MD, executive director of MSMA, has emphasized the need for patients to use telemedicine whenever possible. “We recognize there are some medical situations where telemedicine isn’t the best option and patients need to come into a clinic or hospital,” said Brunson. “We need Mississippians to know that telemedicine visits should be a primary option, but they can get safe, reliable, and high-quality care in-person at their local clinic or hospital today.”

On June 1, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH, released a new order that states “telehealth should be used when possible and as appropriate for medical assessment and treatment.” The order also states that all patients must be screened for COVID-19 prior to their visit or immediately upon arrival and isolated as directed by the Mississippi State Department of Health guidelines.

For more information about the MHA and MSMA Prepared to Care campaign, visit URL. For more information about MHA, visit www.mhanet.org. For more information about MSMA, visit http://www.msmaonline.com/.

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