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Covid-19 update

Here’s where things sit today.

What we know:

  • Italy is getting hammered, especially the northern regions. The death rate is over 7%, healthcare facilities are overwhelmed, and there aren’t enough ventilators and oxygen to go around.
  • The number of reported cases in the US hasn’t increased much overnight – but that is likely due to complete failure by the government to get testing started quickly, and to develop an accurate test to begin with. And, yes, even now there aren’t enough test kitsthank goodness the Chinese are going to send us a half-million.
  • It looks like test kit availability will ramp up in the coming days – but we are weeks behind when actually needed them. Without testing, officials have no idea what’s actually happening, can’t allocate resources, make intelligent decisions about closures and travel bans.
  • Our healthcare “system” is uniquely problematic; there are north of 18 million who don’t have insurance, and among those who do, folks with high deductible plans will have to pay for treatment and many don’t have adequate funds to do so. The result – the disease will spread in part because victims can’t afford testing or treatment.
  • Social isolation and basic handwashing are the cure for the pandemic. 
  • My beloved Syracuse rowing teams won’t be racing this year; my heart goes out to the men and women who have trained like the champions they are for 8 months only to be sent home.  Same goes for every other athlete in every other sport at every other institution.

Please – be thoughtful, don’t travel or mix in with large groups, and don’t panic.

And, you now have time for an “at home date” with your significant other, hang with the kids, catch up on those home chores, read those books stacking up on your night stand, clean the windows, finish your taxes, and be forever grateful for important stuff.

Finally, I encourage you to read this – and thanks to reader Paul Meyer for the tip.

One thought on “Covid-19 update”

  1. Hi Joe,

    Medicare and several of the larger commercial insurance companies have already said they will waive out-of-pocket costs for the COVID-19 lab tests itself. I just put out a write-up this morning on the new codes if you are interested. Many of the commercial carriers are even waiving out-of-pocket costs on telemedicine for the next 90 days.

    But that does beg the question of how other services will be handled for patients that need therapeutic treatment and admitted inpatient or observation. If those services start hitting deductibles, we will have a problem.

    Be safe. I definitely plan on finishing my taxes : )


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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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