Osman Ahmed, MD, DrPH, FAAFP
Many leaders in the Biden administration are familiar names to Americans. Their selection signals the President’s commitment to tackle COVID 19 crisis head-on and immediately. Dr. Vivek Murthy returns to his role as the US Surgeon General. Working with him will be the new “COVID Czar” another well respected professional, Jeff Zients. Their leadership and experience will guide the nation through this unprecedented challenge and take us all to the safe shores of ordinary life.
As promised, this week’s blog post is a continuation of the writings from Dr. Ozzie, Family Physician, Epidemiologist, Population Health expert, and our Medical Advisor. We are grateful to have his expertise on our team. We lean on his guidance in building Credit For Caring resources and strategies. Take it away Dr. Ahmed……
Jeff Zients accepted the challenge as COVID19 Czar in December 2020. Today he is ready to work. In my mind, the Czar should be tasked with the following:
· Assembling and convening a National Public Health Board (NPHB) from public health experts, health care providers, and community leaders.
· Developing and implementing a national COVID19 control and prevention plan including nationwide face-covering, social distancing, banning of social gatherings, closure of places favoring spread or where social distancing and face-covering cannot be enforced
· Establishing criteria and rules to engage state governors and or other leaders to implement this plan simultaneously in their respective states
· Develop guidelines for states to form and use a Public Health Board PHB (or similar expert panel) to implement a statewide strategy that is in sync with the national strategy. This board should have representatives from local business or trade association
· Healthcare personnel and acute care facilities support plan using the Defense Production Act and other federal actions to accelerate recovery.
National Pandemic Roadmap
Strategies to control the pandemic are broad goals that will largely depend on implementing a successful execution plan to realize the nation’s goals and impact the lives of American people in all corners of the country. Therefore; we must tackle this pandemic with a comprehensive and measurable national action plan. My vision is a bottom to top approach to reach every person in every community across this great country regardless of rural or urban, rich or poor, and democrat or republican. This is a unified strategy to guide our recovery. Each State will find leaders who will create a plan with detailed guidelines to share with Czar including:
o Case detection program
o Local community and statewide “hot spot” strategy
o Rules for isolation for non-hospitalized infected people
o Rules for release of isolated people into the community
o Best practices to limit the spread of the virus with the least infringement on civil liberties, or freedom of movement.
o Vaccine distribution and administration down to the level of zip code or smallest community, rural or urban
o Guidelines for group living sites such as prisons, SNF’s, LTC, ALF’s and similar settings.
Public Health Boards
Engage public and private leaders to advise governments:
Expert advice on business recovery and support
Safety guidelines for school and other educational institutions
Identify research and development for indoor and outdoor virus kill solutions
If You Don’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It
President Biden selected Dr. Rochelle Walensky to Direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With her remarkable background, Dr. Walensky and her team should be tasked, I believe, with developing criteria for COVID data collection and reporting. It is equally important to have forums to share findings, actions and results with Public Health professionals and the general public. To restore trust in one of the leading government agencies, the CDC must be fully transparent and truthful with the public. Under Dr. Walensky leadership, we need to revise, update and adopt plans and benchmarks for:
- COVID19 hospitalization rates including ICU
- COVID19 attributable deaths
- Out of hospital COVID deaths in these over 65 by location (home vs LTC/ALF)
- Positive cases in prison and occupations with a high risk of exposure (such as meatpacking factories)
- Positive cases in education institutions
The CDC should also develop “cohort” tracking methodologies to calculate real case fatality rates per population cohort and trend incidence, prevalence, and death due to COVID. This detail will guide testing campaigns for COVID detection programs and contact tracing for suspected or confirmed COVID cases which will tremendously strengthen our ability to predict and respond to this pandemic.
Thank you, Dr. Ahmed
.Osman (Ozzie) Ahmed, MD, D.Ph., FAAFP Dr. Ahmed is a seasoned family physician with extensive management experience specializing in Analytics, Outcomes Research, Quality Management, Teaching, and International Health. Licensed in FL. Ozzie is an NCQA physician surveyor experienced in medical management strategy, leadership, patient-centered medical home (PCMH) transformation, product, and program development and measurement, quality enhancement, network strategy, provider interaction improvement, HIT & community health.