Late summer is usually a busy time in my pediatric practice – and likely yours as well. We have back-to-school visits and sports physicals, and we are ramping up for flu shots and all the acute illnesses that bring children into the office in the fall and winter. This year is like none I’ve experienced. We are just now starting to see patient volumes tick up. And while we don’t know what this flu season will look like – we do know children will get sick, not only from COVID-19, but from all the other viruses and bacteria that typically circulate.
This week, the AAP published new interim guidance to help pediatricians triage and manage acute illnesses, including fever and respiratory illness, in their practices. The best place to assess and diagnose children for fever and other illnesses is in their medical home. The recommendations from AAP include guidance on PPE, hygiene and safety; scheduling and triage; telemedicine protocols; and working with community partners that communicate with the medical home. For more, see the AAP News article, which also discusses new interim guidance on transport medicine.
AAP Criticizes CDC Guidance on Asymptomatic Testing
The AAP spoke out against a dangerous revision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of its testing guidance for COVID-19. Testing individuals who have been exposed to the virus, even those who do not display symptoms, is critical to contact tracing and reducing transmission of COVID-19. We must be led by the science, in a transparent process that engages the public’s trust and confidence. The AAP strongly urges CDC to reverse this decision.
Advocacy Continues on School Funding, Vaccines, Provider Relief
The AAP also continues to advocate at the federal level on behalf of pediatricians and the children you care for, whether it comes to calling for increased funding to allow schools to open safely, or reiterating the importance of the medical home as the best place for children and adolescents to receive vaccines. AAP and 44 of our chapters wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II, J.D., to express alarm at the decision to allow pharmacies to deliver all vaccines to children ages 3 years and older, regardless of state laws. Instead we should support the existing pediatric immunization delivery system: our nation’s pediatric practices.
We also have an important update on provider relief funding. The deadline for pediatricians to apply for financial relief from the federal government is extended to September 13, and the process is now easier than ever. Please visit this HHS website to learn more and apply for these funds.
The AAP will continue to share messages urging parents to call their pediatricians for urgent and well-child visits, including across social media platforms and in a new national TV and radio PSA campaign. In the midst of all the uncertainty and chaos, one thing remains clear: Families need and depend on the trusted advice from their pediatrician.
Thank you for all that you do, every day, on behalf of children and families.
Sara “Sally” Goza, MD, FAAP