Day: May 13, 2020

Readers And Tweeters: Doctors Chime In On Telemedicine Costs

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names.


Next Time Take Time To Consult Doctors On Telehealth

As a cardiologist and pediatrician at the University of Mississippi, I take issue with your article about telemedicine (“Telehealth Will Be Free, No Copays, They Said. But Angry Patients Are Getting Billed,” April 27). Describing the care sessions as “phone chats,” as the headline on the companion NPR article did, substantially misrepresents what we do. Why did the article get published without the point of view of a single physician? The nature of this complaint boils down to this — I would never try to ask you to write journal articles for me, for free. We, in medicine, ask the same of you. If all phone consultations with physicians were free, we would never

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Hospital Workers Complain of Minimal Disclosure After COVID Exposures

Dinah Jimenez assumed a world-class hospital would be better prepared than a chowder house to inform workers when they had been exposed to a deadly virus.

So, when her boyfriend, an employee of a popular seafood restaurant in Seattle, received a call from his boss on a Sunday in late March telling him a co-worker had tested positive for COVID-19 and that he needed to quarantine for 14 days, she said she assumed she’d get a similar call from the University of Washington Medical Center. After all, the infected restaurant employee worked a second job alongside her at the hospital’s Plaza Cafe.

That call never came, she said.

Jimenez, 42, said she returned to her job as a cashier at the hospital cafeteria two days later, and “it was like nothing had happened. They didn’t say anything.” She said the infected worker, a fellow cashier, was stationed just 2 feet

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Racial Status And The Pandemic: A Combustible Mixture

In early March, Madalynn Rucker, then 69, agonized over whether to close her Sacramento consultancy office. On the 16th, she finally succumbed to a barrage of texts and calls from her daughter about the heightened risk of the coronavirus, and told her employees to begin working from home. That was three days before California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order.

Her daughter was right in more ways than one. While Rucker’s age alone raised her potential danger of being hospitalized or dying of COVID-19, she and many of her employees share another risk factor: They are black. Rucker wonders if more public health messages targeting African Americans could have helped millions like her better prepare for the disease’s onslaught.

Officials and commentators said little about race early in the pandemic, recalled Rucker, now 70 and the executive director of OnTrack, a diversity consulting firm. “Could this have made a

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Beyond The Glam: Feeding The Coachella Valley’s Most Vulnerable Residents

Poverty is real in the Coachella Valley, a region known for its glitzy resorts and music festival. During the COVID crisis, the California National Guard and California Conservation Corps are helping an area food bank distribute food to older residents and those with disabilities.(Heidi de Marco/KHN)

The Coachella Valley is perhaps best known for big-ticket attractions: its annual namesake music festival and tennis tournament in Indian Wells, and the swanky resort town of Palm Springs.

But there’s a flip side to all that glam.

Poverty is also endemic to the desert valley, which stretches for 45 miles in Riverside County. The median household income there is roughly $45,500, less than two-thirds the statewide median.

Among the most vulnerable are the area’s seniors, many of whom lack access to fresh and healthful food during the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to the pandemic, the FIND Food Bank in Indio, California,

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