Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine offers Understanding for Rural Health Care During COVID-19

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BCEM strongly encourages rural providers to use their voice to reinforce the messaging about social distancing until effective treatments or an effective vaccine are universally available.

Rural America has a higher percentage of elderly patients, who have a higher risk of severe illness from a COVID-19 infection.”

The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) and its Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) has board-certified emergency physicians working in rural emergency departments around the country and is concerned about the potential disparity in resources for the care of Rural Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to BCEM rural physician Alex Beuning in Barron and Eau Clair, Wisconsin.

BCEM strongly encourages rural providers to use their voice to reinforce the messaging about social distancing until effective treatments or an effective vaccine are universally available. Local emergency physicians are the epicenter of their community’s response and are poised to help local media sources and community groups translate the key components of state and federal partners’ messages, in ways that will best reach the highest risk groups in their communities such as the elderly population.

Dr. Beuning says, “Rural America has a higher percentage of elderly patients, who have a higher risk of severe illness from a COVID-19 infection.” He further explains, “Current estimates indicate that patients with COVID-19 infection who are 80 years of age have a mortality rate of more than 10 percent.”

According to Dr. Beuning, "Rural America has fewer physicians per capita and patients are often required to be transferred to urban centers for critical illnesses. Unfortunately, ambulance and critical care services may be overtaxed, leading to delays in definitive care for rural patients,” he added.

ABPS is proud of the work being done by its BCEM board-certified physicians who are providing essential care to patients during the current pandemic. ABPS and its Member Boards always seek the best practices for ensuring patient safety, care and better outcomes. Never has it been more critical for the medical community to come together for higher standards of care to include rural communities.

The American Board of Physician Specialties is a nationally recognized multi-specialty certifying body that offers both allopathic and osteopathic physicians board certification options in a variety of specialties. For more information visit http://www.abpsus.org.

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James Marzano
American Board of Physician Specialties
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