Munson is reacting to the health goals outlined in the State of the Union address – 9&10 News
President Joe Biden spent more time on health issues in his State of the Union address than on any other topic. One of those issues centered on ending the COVID public health emergency this spring.
While some Republicans are calling for the emergency to end immediately, the Biden administration plans to end it in May. In the address, President Biden said, “COVID no longer controls our lives.”
According to Munson Healthcare, the end of the public health emergency means some changes are on the way.
“We knew it was going to end. And we’ve made sure our providers and patients are prepared at this point. Fortunately, many of our COVID-19 hospitalizations have stabilized and as such we have not taken advantage of all of the waivers granted to Munson Healthcare by the public health emergency,” said Gabe Schneider of Munson Government Relations. “We’ve also seen some benefits from the public health emergency. One of those areas would be the flexibility we’ve been given for telehealth. Fortunately, Congress has extended these regulations beyond the end of the public health emergency, allowing us to continue to benefit from the regulations impacting that approximately 10% of our visits are from telemedicine within the eight-hospital system.”
The end of the public health emergency may result in expenses for tests, vaccines and treatments. Schneider says patients should contact their insurance companies with questions about changes.
The President also wants to speed up progress to end cancer and says it has touched almost every American family.
Last year he announced what he called the Cancer Moonshot, with a goal of reducing cancer mortality rates by at least half in 25 years and improving the experience for those living with and surviving cancer. Now President Biden is calling for more research and assistance in patient navigation.
Munson Healthcare says it’s exciting to hear these priorities in the State of the Union address. Amy Peterson, director of research and sponsorship programs at Munson Healthcare, says: “We are optimistic that it could find its way into rural areas, but we are by no means a large academic institution. So research is not our main focus like other organizations, especially university hospitals, would be.”
“Additional funding in this area would be really beneficial not just for Munson’s cancer center but for any rural health system,” says Peterson. “Increased research funding, even if it doesn’t come to us in any way, will benefit cancer patients across the country because it improves the treatment options available.”
“We have had a navigator program in place at the cancer center for a number of years and it is incredibly beneficial to patients and family members as it helps them navigate the system. “It’s very scary. How do we navigate? How are we going to pay for this?’ all these things How do we make treatment decisions so that our navigators can help? We could definitely use more and more support in this area.”
According to Peterson, Munson is part of a cancer research consortium, and this partnership allows them to provide northern Michigan residents with access to over 100 cancer clinical trials.
You can read the White House fact sheet on cancer, fentanyl, veteran suicide and other health issues here.