Show and Tell by Kim Yu, MD, FAAFP, Regional Medical Director, Aledade
This has been a historic week, from seeing the first ever woman Vice President of Black and South Asian descent being sworn into office, hearing the youngest poet laureate speak of justice and bravery, to the devastating news of over 400,000 deaths from COVID19 in the USA. Over 3.16 million cases and more than 36,000 deaths in California so far, bringing immense heartbreak to those who have lost loved ones. We are now 11 months into the pandemic, and according to Larry Green Center Survey #24 from December 2020,”practices are suffering – 91% have some form of personnel shortage, 61% have severe/near severe practice stress, and 41% have staff positions they cannot fill. Primary care is critical to vaccine distribution, yet only 5% have a full plan for distribution.” This is our reality in medicine right now and in light of this, I will share some updates on practice innovation, organizational advocacy efforts and COVID resources.
As a regional medical director for Aledade, I have had the privilege to work with physicians in independent primary care in California and around the country. Despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic, I see the advantages of being part of an ACO and the necessity of moving away from fee for service models and more towards value based contracts as highlighted in this article, https://www.medicaleconomics.
It’s truly rewarding work to help practices navigate value based care and to share resources and innovations that support them. However in addition to our value based care work, practice management, quality and workflows, we have obviously been dealing with COVID. There is much to do to assuage fears and dispel myths, misinformation and disinformation about COVID19 vaccination, but as family physicians, research has shown that patients overwhelmingly trust our advice. At the AMA Interim Meeting, our AAFP delegation to the AMA spoke up about the need to address and recognize the historical basis for mistrust in communities of color and asking for not only culturally appropriate patient education materials, but asking for coalitions of healthcare and public health organizations be inclusive of those respected in communities of color. It will be vital for us to all work together to build bridges with our communities, educate patients, prioritize access and aid in administration of vaccinations. This is our opportunity to continue and commit to learn how to serve black and brown communities and bring healing to all.
Last weekend, at CAFP’s Clinical Forum Dr. Alex McDonald and I presented on #ThisIsOurShot - digital engagement to fight misinformation and build vaccine trust (catch this and other CME online at - www.familydoctors.org/) In addition to joining the #ThisIsOurShot campaign, here are some resources that are helpful when building vaccine acceptance and trust:
CDC - Vaccination toolkits that are audience specific and communication and confidence checklists: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/
AAFP - Help build a community of immunity with these resources from AAFP: https://familydoctor.org/
The Ad Council also has resources on messaging about COVID vaccinations here: https://adcouncil-covid-
If you would like to assess your community and estimate how many would need COVID19 vaccinations in your county to reach herd immunity of >70%, go to Health Landscape’s Vaccination Deficit Explorer: https://maps.healthlandscape.
This uses estimates based on previous annual flu vaccination rates to approximate the possible number of COVID19 vaccinations that may not be administered in each US county. This also gives an idea of how much work is necessary to reach the number needed to immunize for each county.
This past year has been truly historic and life changing for all. I hope that together we can continue to unite together, stand for our patients, fight against the pandemic, and continue to not only survive, but thrive.
Lastly, I’d like to share a quote from one of my favorite children’s books, although it is a book for all ages, “The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse,” by Charlie Mackesy, a timeless tale of friendship, love, and kindness: https://www.amazon.com/Boy-
“Always remember, you matter, you’re important and are loved, and you bring to the world, things no one else can.” As family physicians, you are exactly that. Thank you for all that you do, each and every day, for your patients and world. You are making history, with each vaccine given, patient cared for and lives saved. Take care, stay brave and remain #FamilyMedicineStrong.