COVID-19: Opportunity to Re-Imagine Our Response to a National Medical Crisis.

Affiliation

Remick KN(1), Carr BG(2), Elster E(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Emergency Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.
(3)Department of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.

Abstract

The US is facing the most significant health challenge since the 1918-1919 flu pandemic. A response commensurate with this challenge requires engaged leadership and organization across private and public sectors that span federal agencies, public and private healthcare systems, professional organizations, and industry. In the trauma and emergency care communities, we have long discussed the tension between competition in healthcare and the need for regional cooperation to respond to large-scale disasters. The response to COVID-19 has required unprecedented coordination of private and public sector entities. Given the competitive nature of the US health system, these sectors do not regularly work together despite the requirement to do so during a national emergency. This crisis has exposed how structural aspects of the present healthcare system have limited our ability to rapidly transition to a whole-nation response during a national crisis. We propose a renewed focus on the intersection of the healthcare system and national security, with the express goal of creating a public-private partnership focused on leveraging our healthcare infrastructure to support the national security interests of the US.