Academic health systems (AHSs) are playing a leadership role in serving the surging numbers of COVID-19 patients in many communities. This situation is taking a significant toll on the heroic nurses, physicians and other health professionals who are risking their own lives to serve these patients. Urgent and elective care is being deferred in most health systems, creating a tremendous backlog of patients needing access to care in the coming months. It is also taking an unprecedented economic toll on these organizations with projected deficits in the billions of dollars.
While it is difficult to see past the current morass when in the middle of such an overwhelming crisis, some members of each AHS’s leadership team should be thinking about what needs to be done when the COVID-19 surge subsides to help the enterprise move forward and be prepared to act decisively when, or even before, the situation begins to improve.