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The Business of Medicine in the Era of COVID-19

Educational Objective
To understand how COVID-19 is changing the business of medicine
1 Credit CME

The United States will eventually get through the acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis but not without fundamental changes to the medical care system. Since the epidemic began, payment policy has stretched to remedy the bias of the health care system for in-person treatment provided by physicians. In response to the need for social distancing, new policies include broader payment for telemedicine, expanded scope-of-practice ability for nonphysician practitioners, and increased ability of physicians and nurses to practice across state lines. While these policy reforms address some of the immediate needs of this crisis, such as getting personnel to where they are most needed, they are not a complete solution to the COVID-19 crisis. How the aftermath of the current COVID-19 wave is handled will be just as important for the business of health care as what is happening now.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: David M. Cutler, PhD, Department of Economics, Harvard University, 1805 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138 (dcutler@fas.harvard.edu).

Published Online: May 1, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.7242

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Cutler reported receiving personal fees from Fidelity and MDL Litigation; nonfinancial support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and personal fees and nonfinancial support from the American Medical Association, Brookings, Mercer, and Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence as well as serving on an academic and policy advisory board for Kyruus Inc, an advisory board for Firefly Health, and nonpaid positions at the National Academy of Medicine, National Bureau of Economic Research, National Academy of Social Insurance, and the Center for American Progress. Dr Huckman reported receiving personal fees from Kaiser Permanente, Partners Healthcare, MD Anderson Cancer Center, OhioHealth, and Ochsner Health; serving as an advisory board member for RubiconMD, Arena, and Carrum Health; and being an uncompensated trustee of the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization. No other disclosures were reported.

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