Some Residency Positions are still available for 2020

For all the students and graduates who are still looking for a residency position for 2020, there are still some positions available, you just need to keep looking and be persistent. For example, confirmed on 4/30/2020, HCA Medical City in Arlington is currently accepting applications through ERAS for an open surgery position. Just because you did not match in the formal NRMP match or SOAP, does not mean that the season is over. You can continue to look and find open positions up until July.

There are a number of resources available to help you look, including traditional and nontraditional resources. To assist students and graduates, there is a list with links on the resources page available. The point is do not give up. It is certainly worth your continued time and effort to try and get a position starting in 2020, instead of waiting for the 2021 season to begin. Keep working toward your goals. Good luck.

You are not alone. There is help. Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

When you are afraid, that you are going to fall through the ice, don’t forget that you were made to swim.

Since the Covid-19 crisis hit emergency rooms and people started dying in mass, the mental health community has warned of a coming tsunami of trauma and PTSD in the healthcare workers, who are on the front lines. Yet once again, people in control of the healthcare systems have failed to put stop-gaps in place to protect them. Statistically, it is well reported that physicians already have higher rates of suicide than the rest of the population, and now it will most likely continue to rise higher. As the news reports another physician suicide, the pain and suffering is amplified in the community.

The added stress to return to work and develop social distancing plans, while treating patients is counter-intuitive. Hospitals are choosing to start elective surgeries based on the bottom line. A serious restructuring of pay needs to be addressed. People on the front lines should be paid more. The time for multi-million dollar salaries for the top executives and big corporations profiteering off the healthcare workers needs to come to an end. In a time of physician shortages, hospitals should be protecting each person’s physical and mental well-being. If they won’t do that, then healthcare workers should join together and make them change. If not now, in the worst medical crisis of modern history, then when?

Injustice is $20,000 for a ventilator

Doctors are practicing medicine without bureaucracy; free to make decisions based on patient health, not cost. Innovation is exploding in the healthcare field. The medical industrial complex created $20,000 ventilators, but now innovators are making them for $200. Shine the light on companies which drive up costs for everyone. Stand up against bureaucrats who focus on profit. Unite against injustice. This is the time to fix what is broken in the healthcare system.

Can one of the most wealthy countries in the world become the most ethical country too?

Sadly, I continue to read more and more stories of healthcare professionals dying of Covid-19. News of flattening the curve, distracts from the continuing deaths of people on the front line. Healthcare workers are terrified of getting the disease, knowing facilities do not have enough PPE to correctly protect them, but they still go to work and care for the sick.

Hospital board members, CEO’s, COO’s and CMO’s need to work on the front line, in the same conditions that they are asking their employees to work in. They need to understand the dilemma people are facing. Go to work and risk getting Covid-19, or stay home and lose your job and health insurance? Speak up about safety violations by the hospital and risk losing their jobs or go to work and risk infection?

It must be possible to value healthcare workers and care for patients. Workers must initiate change for a broken healthcare system.

I believe and will advocate for the following:

Healthcare professionals are our most valuable resources and should be protected. Employee rights should be equal to or greater than the rights of institutions like hospitals. Hospitals should not be allowed to include clauses detrimental to employee rights in contracts like no compete clauses. Employees should be allowed to form unions to collectively bargain for rights and protect individual employees from retaliation.

Human dignity, rights, and health should come before profits. There should be limits on CEO multi-million dollar salaries, while workers at the bottom of their organizations make minimum wage.

Patients should be seen as human beings, not as way to increase profits.

America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is time we became the most ethical and caring country too. We must demand change and not surrender. If not now, during the darkest health crisis in modern history, when? It is time to stand up for our beliefs.

Covid-19 crisis moves healthcare to change

As technology continues to grow exponentially and applications are applied to every aspect of our lives, the healthcare industry is being forced to change too.

Healthcare services are seeing a paradigm shift from in-person visits to telehealth. Normally used to bring providers and patients together in rural and underserved communities, using telehealth in all communities is the natural progression of healthcare.

It saves time driving, provides better access for the elderly and disabled, eliminates spread of contagious infections in the clinic, allows providers to see patients in their home environments which can assist in identifying healthcare issues and social issues.

As testing for Covid-19 begins to assist in bringing society back to a previous sense of normalcy, we must keep the positive gains in place that telehealth is providing. All healthcare providers must advocate to use telehealth and not let regulatory agencies force them back to business as usual. Change can be good, even if forced upon us initially thru a crisis. I personally have had several telehealth doctors appointments from my couch and I love them. This is a change I want to keep. We need to fight for it.

Pharmaceutical Companies must step up and contribute

Pharmaceutical companies earn billions of dollars each year in profit. During this world crisis, pharmaceutical companies must step up and contribute help people during this economic crisis. The contribution must be relative to their earnings from people across the globe.

In 1987, Merck pharmaceutical company donated their River Blindness treatment across the world. Over 152 million people have been treated. Their decision to do this act of humanity was altruistic and demonstrated leadership and compassion for all of humankind.

Quarantining people across the globe has created an unprecedented economic crisis, especially for the poor in the world. As some governments work to provide resources for their citizens, companies need to also help during this moment in time.

It is going to take some time to get world economies back on track and get money back into the pockets of people. One thing that the pharmaceutical industry could do is to provide free prescription medications for people for six months. This would allow people to continue to be treated with their medications instead of deciding between buying food or prescriptions. This may sound like a large amount of money, but the pharmaceutical industry receives billions of dollars in sales and can make it happen if they have the vision and empathy.

CEO’s, Board’s of Trustees, shareholders and leadership at companies must put people before profits. This is the time act. This is the time to be seen as a giant in a time of struggle. Ask yourself what your greatest achievement will be. What affect will you have on the world? Will you impact the lives of millions or possibly billions of people in the world? Will you be remembered for your impact or will you be forgotten in the dust of the world? Make your mark. Be great.

How many things are looked upon as impossible until they are done

The Italian author, naturalist, philosopher and naval commander, Pliny the Elder wrote this around 50 A.D. Pliny died in an effort to rescue a friend and his family during the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. His death is thought to be a result of his asthma and inhaling poisonous gas from the volcano. Others in his group survived.

Today is a time where people are faced with unprecedented challenges in their lives. Even after the first physician, Dr. Li Wenliang, who tried to warn people of the danger of the virus died, physicians and healthcare providers continue to risk their lives to care for the sick. They continue to die from Covid-19 in an effort to fulfil the Hippocratic oath, which they lived by to the end: I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

Dr. Wenliang was concerned about the virus because it reminded him of SARS. This knowledge helped him to recognize the danger of the new virus. In the future, our knowledge of the Covid-19 outbreak will teach us how to deal with new outbreaks and help us to prepare better. During this crisis, we are seeing an explosion of innovation for solutions to problems. This innovation will forge new relationships between siloed groups and will grow exponentially, just like Silicon Valley has helped to break through many traditional conventions.

The impossible will become possible again. Some new collaboration will solve the problems and we will move forward. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Never allow a person to tell you no, who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” This includes YOU! The only limitations we have, are those which we put upon ourselves. Do not sit in fear. Innovate.

Demand Change!

This is the time to stop accepting systems that do not work and demand change from people in power in the healthcare industry, in the medical field, from our institutions and leaders. Government bureaucracy has ground physicians and healthcare provides down and needs to be removed so they can practice medicine again. Over-regulation from multiple organizations drives up healthcare costs and disenfranchises the public. As medical norms change to eliminate red tape, we must fight to keep them from going back to business as usual.

The Center for Medicaid and Medicare services has waived policy to allow easier physician teleconference requirements. This policy must stay in effect in order to make it easier for people to access healthcare. Health and Human Services announced on March 18th, that physicians and medical professionals may practice across state lines. This is another regulation which should require reciprocity for licensing between states.

The world’s healthcare systems are rapidly adapting to meet the needs of this global pandemic. Italy is sending 10,000 fourth year medical students to assist in the healthcare crisis, as their healthcare workers need relief. As of March 22, Italy has had over 4,000 deaths, one of the hardest hit countries in the world so far.

We have seen how quickly countries can change behavior when it is an emergency. Can we apply these experiences to the next crisis? Will we reduce unnecessary business and air travel to reduce emissions and save resources? Will telemedicine revolutionize the medical system? Will American universities join with Silicon Valley and use AI to find cures to diseases faster? We have to act for the better of humanity in our choices. We must stand up to the industries which tell us everything was OK the way that it was. We must demand change.

Match day locations released

NRMP released locations of where students matched for residency. Normally this day would be filled with joy and relief for thousands of medical students and graduates, but the world has suddenly changed. Residents are going to be faced with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Check-in with your program director at every step and follow his/her instructions. He/She is at the front line and knows more than anyone how to manage issues. Find out what videoconferencing systems are used by the residents and program director and videoconference with them whenever possible instead of just calling. It will help you to assess the environment and start acclimating.

Consult with the program director on when you should travel to the city where your residency is located. With places like California on lock down, you will want to work out logistics asap. Consider driving if possible instead of flying, for obvious reasons. If you don’t have a car, consider renting one. Find out how resources are before you travel and see if you need to buy items before you go.

The foreign medical graduates, the ECFMG is currently still processing paperwork needed for a J-1 visa in preparation for when the US will start issuing visas again.

Travel into the USA is becoming more difficult and some travel is prohibited from countries with high infection rates. US embassy’s and consulates have stopped issuing visas. There are some exceptions, so go to your U.S. Embassy or consulate web page for specific information.

UPDATE THE US DEPARTMENT OF STATE INDICATED IT WOULD BEGIN ISSUEING J-1 VISAS FOR FOREIGN NATIONAL PHYSICIANS TO PARTICIPATE IN GME.

A note to all program directors on this issue; since we do not know the timeline for the pandemic, please make note of matched students in your program who are FMG’s, who are out of the country and who may not be able to return for the start of the PGY1 residency year. There are many students and graduates who have put in years of education, hard work to get where they are today, but who did not match. They may be looking for research to assist you and prove themselves that they can do the job. Please consider them for the future and list any positions which may be open ASAP on ResidencySwap or FindaResident. Please do not consider not filling the positions.

For people who did not match, contact a program director or resident who you are inspired by or who is doing research that you are interested in and ask if you can assist with meta-analysis or researching topics. This may give you the network connection that you need for next year.

In these challenging times, we must consider how much each person can contribute to solving problems.

SOAP advising available

For students who are unmatched, SOAP advising is available this week and throughout June. Email brendachezek@yahoo.com for questions or send a message in the LinkedIn messages tab. Good luck to everyone today.

The unfilled program list is available at 11 a.m. EST.

At 12 p.m. EST applicants may begin working in ERAS to apply to programs.

At 3 p.m. programs can begin seeing applications and start interviewing.

Applicants CAN NOT contact programs until the program contacts them first.