3 healthcare leaders discuss moving out of the pandemic

Three physician leaders recently spoke of a panel discussion for the American Medical Association where they reminisced on how far testing has come, argued for increased public health funding and identified a silver lining to the pandemic.

Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, reflected on how health professionals track and test for COVID-19 has changed over the course of the pandemic.

"While we started this pandemic doing disease surveillance and case counts based on controlled testing that happened in hospital and health departments, now we're going to move to more population-based surveillance so we'll have laboratories that are pre-designated and providers to send in samples. 

Céline R. Gounder, MD, told the AMA that the U.S needs a better public health system in place, and increased funding will help it get there. 

"I think the healthcare system is really designed to provide clinical care to individuals, it's not designed at least right now to provide population health and to really ensure equity and the care of vulnerable populations," she said. 

Stephen Parodi, MD, associate executive director at the Permanente Medical Group, told the panel he is worried that a current lack of attention on the pandemic given other political issues will create a gap in funding. 

"The lack of funding for just basic testing, basic surveillance is a real issue and we can't lose our sight on the fact that the pandemic is not yet done," he said. However, he marked the level of collaboration between community health centers and health systems throughout the pandemic as a silver lining.

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