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The COVID-19 pandemic, if nothing else, has aimed a harsh light at our healthcare systems, illuminating the type of public health system we all need to better prepare for the next pandemic. To a person, it behooves us to work on changing these uncovered and pressing issues that COVID-19 has now exposed, so that we can be stronger as we move forward into a post-pandemic society. But what is in our lane of responsibility and what is not?

Almost exactly a year after the United States’ first case of the novel coronavirus was detected in my home state, that is today’s big question. What group of people should be prioritized to receive COVID-19 vaccines after health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities?
It is remarkable that we are even having this discussion now. We should all be tremendously grateful to the scientists and researchers who drew on decades of study and worked around the clock to develop these vaccines in record time, and those who volunteered to take part in vaccine trials.

As nurses, we are on the frontlines in the war against COVID-19. Deemed healthcare heroes and recipients of nightly applause, the recognition is gratifying but cannot compensate for the risk inherent in our ethical obligation to care for patients, especially when recycled personal protection equipment is all we have. As of July 13, there were 98,150 COVID-19 cases and 521 deaths among healthcare workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nurses deserve compensation commensurate with the hazards they endure.

A narrow majority of physician practices in the United States expect patient volume to return to pre-COVID levels by Jan. 1, 2021, according to a new Evolve Healthcare Marketing and Redwood Advisors survey. Fifty-one percent of outpatient physicians, practice administrators, hospital executives and other key healthcare decisionmakers made such a forecast when completing the inaugural survey late last summer. This total includes one-third of the survey’s participants whose volume had already returned to pre-pandemic levels before Labor Day.

Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota is an important figure in U.S. legislative and regulatory policy, with 25 years of combined service in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Daschle stands out as the only senator to serve twice as both the majority and minority leader. Daschle has participated in the development and debate of almost every major issue in the last three decades.

With his extensive experience and unique perspective, Tom Daschle discusses the future of U.S. healthcare with American Healthcare Journal staff writer, Caroline Miller.