While the Feds Dither

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The coronavirus must be stopped, and states are stepping up in the face of federal dithering. Creating durable facilities and new equipment is being fast tracked to handle the expected disease surge. Bravo! Governor Newsom and others, but the past is prologue and what will happen after the current plague?

I practiced clinical pharmacy at a hospital in Ventura county for 22 years where I saw the intense competition for patients, physician groups, and payors by all acute care hospitals. We all had vacant beds in closed wards. Supply shortages and staff cutbacks were part of the standard belt-tightening for hospitals.

Nationally, the number of hospitals has decreased dramatically in the last decades as urban institutions struggle, rural clinics close, and big hospital groups gobble small ones. Will we revert to that paradigm when the current threat has passed? Our best and brightest are engaging the dilemma of the current healthcare landscape. We need some of them also to look and plan ahead to protect our system from this acute scramble in the future.

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