Dear Fellow Members of the Maine Academy,
I am writing to you in these difficult times for all of us. We need to come together in the face of coronavirus. We need to be there for our patients, we need to be the rock and the support they need. We also need not to forget about us being on the front lines of this pandemic. We need to stay safe to take care of the patients, our families and ourselves.
Let’s try to be the calm and reassuring voice to the most vulnerable. Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call we make and every inch and every foot of distance we put between ourselves and another must become a thought about how we could help that other, should the need arise.
We all have recently received a letter from AAFP President, Dr. Gary LeRoy. AAFP is strongly advocating and delivering a strong message on our behalf to Washington. Dr. LeRoy met with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to deliver a loud message that family physicians need a reliable supply of personal protective equipment so we can stay healthy enough to serve our communities. They said that the administration is leveraging its full authority under the Defense Production Act to accelerate production of the supplies we need. Congress and the administration have heeded our call for Medicare to compensate you for telehealth services at the same rate as office visits; now we are pressing private payers and Medicaid to do the same.
It is ok to be scared. For the first time I personally could no longer pretend that the disease I had read so much about was only in China, Iran or Europe. It is here now and spreading. Soon, I will be faced to deal with this in my small community in Northern Maine. We are all in it together.
The usual petty grumbles and disagreements have been put aside, hopefully for good. We will need each other in these times to come. I trust in my clinic, hospital, my hard working and devoted colleagues. I admire their courage and determination. My only hope is that this will end soon and our lives will return to normal.
Thank you for your service to your patients and communities.
Take care and stay healthy –
Silwana Sidorczuk MD, MAFP President