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President’s Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19

President’s Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19

We now have thirty-two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus infection in Alabama.  We have all seen how this new virus has spread around the world from its beginning in China just a few months ago.  The World Health Organization has now classified this as a pandemic.  However, please remember that compared to the flu, the number of cases in Alabama, in this country and worldwide are still quite small.  I am hopeful that folks will not panic and let common sense dictate their response to this situation.  Our state and federal governments, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Medical Association and others are all working to implement reasonable responses to this evolving situation.  Everyone’s health and safety is our primary concern.

Some important things to remember:

  1.  Over 90% of the cases of COVID-19 have been mild and resemble the common cold.
  2. Half of the people worldwide that have contracted this disease have now completely recovered.
  3. Folks most at risk for this disease include the elderly and especially those with underlying medical conditions such as COPD, diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
  4. Not everyone needs to be tested for the coronavirus, those needing to be tested need to meet certain criteria that suggest they may be at risk for this disease.

How can you best protect yourself and avoid becoming ill from the coronavirus:

  1. If you are sick, stay home.  If you have a cough and fever, stay home.
  2. If you are sick, call your family physician or primary care provider and let them help you determine if you need to be tested or seen. 
  3. During any kind of pandemic, you should avoid going to the Emergency Room or the Doctors’ Office for routine things that could be handled after the pandemic passes.  Remember: that is where the sick folks are and that is who you need to avoid.
  4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.  Hand sanitizers should only be used when soap and water are not available.
  5. Cover your cough, cough into your elbow.
  6. Keep your hands away from your face.
  7. Avoid large crowds and crowded spaces.  Social distancing, which means staying at least 6 feet from the nearest person, is the best way to avoid coming in contact with this and other infectious diseases.

We need to all work together to meet the challenge of this new coronavirus disease.  Avoiding panic and using good common sense measures can help us all stay safe and healthy.

John S. Meigs, MD, FAAFP

President, Medical Association of the State of Alabama

Posted in: Leadership, Members, Official Statement

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Alabama Medicine Magazine Receives International Award

Alabama Medicine Magazine Receives International Award

apex award winnerAlabama Medicine magazine has received the 2017 APEX Award for Publication Excellence. APEX 2017 is the 29th Annual Awards for Publication Excellence based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. This international competition is sponsored by Communications Concepts.

There were 1,361 entries evaluated in 11 major categories but only 304 publications accepted in the category of Magazines, Journals & Tabloids. Of those entries, 543 Awards of Excellence recognized distinction in all 100 individual categories, but only 16 awards went to entries in Magazines, Journals & Tabloids.

States and territories represented in this category include California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Canada and Singapore. Only four award winners were from Alabama, and Alabama Medicine was the only award headquartered in Montgomery.

Alabama Medicine is the official magazine of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. It is in its third year of publication and is managed by Lori M. Quiller, APR, director of communications and social media. For more information about Alabama Medicine magazine, the APEX Award for Publication Excellence, or any other publication of the Medical Association, please email lquiller@alamedical.org.

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Physician Groups Issue Joint Statement on Better Care Reconciliation Act

Physician Groups Issue Joint Statement on Better Care Reconciliation Act

June 29, 2017: Physicians Express Grave Concerns with the Better Care Reconciliation Act

Click here to see the joint letter to Alabama’s U.S. Senators

MONTGOMERY — We, the undersigned Alabama organizations, representing not just physicians but the thousands of low-income Alabamians served by them, want to express grave concerns with the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

The BCRA fundamentally changes how Medicaid is funded, dismantling the program by capping its funding, shifting much of the financial burden to the states and likely leading to enrollment cuts — meaning less coverage for those who need it most. For those who ARE covered, the proposal will have devastating effects on the QUALITY of care provided by removing essential benefits of Medicaid — particularly for children.

Many do not realize that Medicaid is primarily a children’s program, particularly in our state:  71 percent of Alabama Medicaid recipients are CHILDREN, whose care is relatively less expensive and makeup only 20 percent of the state’s Medicaid costs. Children have unique health needs, and access to affordable, high-quality coverage is essential to keep them healthy; they are our future. Currently, Medicaid guarantees children comprehensive, medically necessary services, including EPSDT (early periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment), which allows problems to be identified early so that children have the ability to thrive. Any efforts that take away these services or increase the number of uninsured would jeopardize children’s health.

Equally important, Alabama’s economic viability lies in the strength of its rural communities. The state’s physicians who practice in these areas depend on Medicaid for infrastructure dollars to keep their doors open. Even relatively small reductions in federal payments will force the closure of our rural hospitals and force physicians to leave these areas and likely, Alabama.

Will states be able to pick up the financial slack by raising taxes or reallocating state dollars from other programs? Will primary care physician payments be cut to the point where they can no longer care for their patients and pay their bills? In some states, survival may be a possibility, but in Alabama, as you know, funding for the current state share for Medicaid is a constant, year-to-year struggle in which there is no appetite for raising new taxes or revenues. With the unique way Alabama funds its Medicaid with Certified Public Expenditures, hospital/nursing home taxes, and the Children’s Hospital tax, Alabama stands to lose even more.

Simply put, the Better Care Reconciliation Act will be disastrous for low-income patients and ALL doctors who practice in Alabama and depend on Medicaid for healthcare system infrastructure.

In addition, we are concerned with other provisions of the legislation that would increase the number of uninsured (or underinsured), possibly eliminating the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) and the loss of guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

We question the BCRA’s negative impacts on Alabama, oppose the legislation as currently drafted, and urge the Administration and Congress to continue working to fix the problems with the ACA in a way that does not increase the number of (non-voluntarily) uninsured Americans.

For more information, contact:

  • Mark Jackson, Medical Association of the State of Alabama, (334) 954-2500
  • Linda Lee, Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, (334) 954-2543
  • Jeff Arrington, Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, (334) 954-2570

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