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Published: October 28, 2020

Show and Tell / October 2020

Patient, Doctor, and Justice 2,655 Miles Away

By Valji Farida, MD, Resident member, Long Beach Memorial FMRP

Say what you will about 2020. It certainly hasn’t lacked for news. It has given time a whole new meaning. As we continue to be in the midst of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic – watching our health care systems react as physicians, our state react as Californians, and our country react as Americans. Climate change is top of mind as communities across the state contend with another wildfire season labeled with all the worst superlatives. Carefully packaged in a Presidential election year, creating chaos that will never be fully captured in a McGraw Hill textbook. I hesitate to say, “whether or not you’re engaged in politics,” because politics touches each and every one of us. This is not a comment on your political leaning, your contributions to your family dinner table discussion, or how frequently you discuss politics with your colleagues. The news of bills stuck in Congress, Executive Orders, and upcoming Supreme Court cases directly translates to your patient’s wait time for pain management, the fact that SGLT2i require a PA despite T2DM treatment guidelines, and that reimbursement for telehealth visits is still up for debate.

The news fatigue is real as the last few months have brought into sharp focus the speed at which circumstances can change and how a physician’s scope can extend far beyond the exam room. As physicians, we commit to being lifelong learners. Now that includes parsing through active phase 3 trials for a new vaccine, getting a crash course on severability before California v Texas is heard, and your own quandaries about why the power of the decisions made in your exam room can hinge on litigation taking place across the country.

My news medium of choice, like many millennials, is frequently podcasts. What the Health, from Kaiser Health Network, provides a succinct, thoughtful conversation that breaks down the week’s health policy news and what you need to know about it. Policy and politics are colliding in your exam room like never before and this podcast is an engaging and easy way to get reliable news. For those looking for a more coronavirus specific lens, here’s another recommendation (I also highly recommend the first season which was pre-pandemic and highlights the need for greater structural change). Hopefully, this provides the scaffolding we all need to navigate these rapidly changing times, or at least some food for thought.


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