Looking ahead to ‘Community Conversation: Health Care After COVID-19’

Written by on March 29, 2021

 Looking ahead to ‘Community Conversation: Health Care After COVID-19’

By Brad Klein and Brittany Sweeney

March 29, 2021

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. U.K. health authorities rolled out the first doses of a widely tested and independently reviewed COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, starting a global immunization program that is expected to gain momentum as more serums win approval. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

About a year ago, reporter Brittany Sweeney hosted a live event for PBS39 titled: “Future of Healthcare.” At the time, there were just a few cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. At 7 p.m. March 30, she’ll gather a similar panel of experts to talk about what healthcare has been like ever since. The show will air once again on PBS39 and will feature some of the region’s top healthcare experts.

Brad Klein

“Tomorrow you’ll gather a similar panel of experts to talk about what healthcare has been like ever since. So this program, which airs at 7 p.m. on March 30, is called ‘Community Conversation: Health Care After COVID-19.’ Does that express the focus pretty well?”

Brittany Sweeney

“It 100% does. I don’t think there’s any doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way, not only we receive our healthcare, but also help people access healthcare. I think that getting the vaccinations out and getting people treated for COVID-19 and just the different groups that COVID-19 has impacted really shines a light on the health disparities.”

Klein

“It’s almost impossible to divide up the impact of the pandemic to the response to the pandemic. But also what did it expose about the existing weaknesses in the healthcare system and maybe what it exposes about future directions the healthcare system has  to go.” 

Sweeney

“Sure, I would absolutely say this shines a very bright light on the places we really need to work on in the healthcare industry.” 

Klein

“So, tell me about the panel you’ve put together for tomorrow’s show.” 

Sweeney

“Sure, so I have a returning guest from last year, Dr. Stephen Klasko, the president of Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University and Chief Executive Officer of Jefferson Health. Dr. Klasko made a lot of really great points last year, but as you mentioned, he was one of the three CEOs, that when we talked about COVID, which was such a brief period of the hour long show, when he talked about Covid, he said, ‘We have this. We’re prepared. We’re ready for it,’ as did the other CEOs. But I think that as a nation, we didn’t know what was coming right around the corner. Just a couple of weeks later, everything shut down following this show.” 

Klein

“It will be interesting to see how he looks back on that moment. Who else is joining you?”

Sweeney

“We also have the Chief Physician Executive of Lehigh Valley Health Network, Dr. Robert Murphy. He’s one of the top guys who takes a look at the analytics and takes a look at the numbers and from week to week knows how many vaccines LVHN is getting and kind of manages that as well. So, we’ll talk to him.

“And also Michael Spigel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network. They’ve dealt with a lot of what we call long haulers, the COVID-19 patients whose symptoms have lasted well past that incubation period of the COVID-19 virus.”

Klein

“Talk about an effect we could have never imagined a year ago is not only would there be this pandemic that would sweep the world, but the after effects could be very lingering. We don’t even know to this day how lingering.”

Sweeney

“That is absolutely correct. And so we’re going to ask some of these healthcare leaders about that. What will their facilities look like going forward? And how will they treat these patients? And how will they get the treatment to the patients who maybe can’t show up to the actual buildings?” 

Klein

“Let me ask you a tough question: What do you think has been the biggest change to the healthcare sector in the year that we’ve gone through this pandemic?”

Sweeney

“Without a doubt, the way we receive care.

“So many people didn’t want to leave their homes. They didn’t want to go to the hospital if something was ailing them. And on the other side, a lot of doctors didn’t know what they were up against, either. And they didn’t want sick patients coming into their offices.

“So, I think telehealth and that virtual aspect of healthcare really took off during the pandemic. It was really something we were kind of dipping our toe into before, and then all of a sudden we are just cannonballing into telehealth, and everybody’s going remote and seeing their patients through a screen instead of in person.” 

Klein

“And that’s a change that may stay with us for the foreseeable future.” 

Sweeney

“I think for sure. I think that it’s also something that has made healthcare and receiving treatment a little bit more accessible as well. Some of the people who can’t get to an appointment, whether it be transportation or they can’t find a doctor, now your network opens up to a wider area. You can see a doctor who’s in another state. You don’t have to see the doctor who is right in your neighborhood, and you can connect virtually. And I think that that makes this really a lot easier for people to receive care.”

Klein

“‘Community Conversation: Health Care After COVID-19’ airs at 7 p.m. March 30 on PBS39. Thank you so much for joining us, Brittany.” 

Sweeney

“Thank you for having me, Brad.”


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