AHA Board Chair Melinda Estes, M.D., today authored an opinion article for USA Today, urging patients to continue to rely on hospitals and emergency rooms for non-COVID-19, life-saving, medically necessary care.

Citing an “alarming” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic that the number of visits to emergency departments for life-threatening illnesses has declined by 42%, Estes writes, “Patients should seek emergency care when it is needed and get to the hospital in a timely fashion. Not only is it the right and safe thing to do, it’s also essential to preventing or limiting serious complications. Patient safety has always been the No. 1 priority for hospitals and health care providers, and COVID-19 has not changed this. In fact, the safety protocols put into place for patients, families, care providers and staff since the pandemic’s onset are more rigorous than ever.”

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