Patients are unable to access basic health care under executive order
State Rep. Luke Meerman has sent a letter urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to consider the health of all Michigan patients, not just those affected by COVID-19, by relaxing restrictions currently prohibiting routine and preventative health care.
Meerman said the governor should trust health care professionals to make decisions about what treatments, procedures and surgeries can be performed safely.
“Hospitals have traditionally led the charge in determining the best way to care for the health of communities. We must get back to that,” said Meerman, of Coopersville. “Hospital administrators, with the help of the county health department, should be given the autonomy to make decisions about how many beds should be set aside for COVID-19 patients versus other normal hospital operations. They know how much personal protective equipment they have on hand and how much to hold for a possible spike in cases in their area.”
The problem isn’t limited to hospitals and urgent care centers. Meerman said primary care providers, eye care, dental care, and many other medical professions must all be a part of this restart.
“Some emergency room physicians are reporting increases in dental cases in emergency rooms as dentist offices are closed,” Meerman said. “We need to allow all sectors of the health care industry to begin providing more care. They have always strived to keep us healthy and I am confident they will continue to do so.”
Meerman said he has heard from health care experts statewide who report that they are desperate to care for people, but many hospitals, medical centers and other essential medical providers are facing dire financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“If our smaller hospitals fail, our communities will suffer. If we don’t lead proactively, we could lose trusted health care in the region,” Meerman said. “COVID-19 has had a major impact on hospital operations. With the cancelation of elective surgeries and other procedures, systems have had to furlough many workers and eliminate other positions permanently.”
The letter includes support from more than 35 health care professionals across Michigan.
Letter to the governor (PDF)