Statement attributed To:
Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A.
President, American Medical Association

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many physicians over the age of 65 will provide care to patients. Whether ‘senior’ physicians should be on the front line of patient care at this time is a complex issue that must balance several factors against the benefit these physicians can provide. As with all people in high-risk age groups, careful consideration must be given to the health and safety of retired physicians and their immediate family members, especially those with chronic medical conditions. The availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the opportunity to provide non-direct patient care are also special considerations.

“These physicians can play a critical role at this time. For example, many health centers are training their senior physicians to provide remote care through telemedicine programs, to take a greater role in teaching online, and to provide administrative leadership to allow physicians at lower risk to provide direct patient care.

“If a physician has already retired, and is considering returning to help during the pandemic, additional considerations are needed. For example, what are the state licensing requirements to allow them to return to practice, will they be able to protect themselves and their families with PPE to avoid becoming ill and an additional burden on the health care system? Physicians will need to also know if additional training is needed for their return, and how that is being provided. Again, a number of local institutions have been actively addressing these issues. The AMA has developed a resource guide to assist senior physicians as they consider these important issues.”

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.