A Message from Hattiesburg Clinic CEO, Bryan N. Batson, MD
Please allow me to start this update by saying “thank you” to all the patients who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. You have not only helped yourself, but you’ve helped your family and our entire community in our fight against this deadly virus. From the first day that the Pfizer vaccine became available, Hattiesburg Clinic has strongly advocated to receive allocations as large as possible to meet the demands that we believed our patients would generate. On March 16, Governor Reeves opened up eligibility to everyone 16 years and older, and our team continues to work tirelessly to get vaccines into the arms of everyone eligible. Through the work being done at Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest Health, the Lake Terrace Convention Center and now several local pharmacies and other health care entities, vaccination rates in our area have continued to climb at very encouraging rates.
As we continue the fight against COVID through vaccination efforts and see better days ahead, I want to stress again the importance of placing a renewed refocus on preventive care and chronic health care treatment. For everyone, regardless of age or medical background, a relationship with a primary care physician is crucial. Recent data form the AMA revealed that 41% of Americans skipped care during the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, 50% of those surveyed missed at least one appointment for general care; 58% missed scheduled preventative care such as a wellness check-up or mammogram; and 60% of people missed an elective surgical procedure. The long-term impact of missed care is not fully understood yet, but we have seen deterioration in many patients who had otherwise been stable for many years. Likewise, there has been a rise in preventable diseases and delayed detection of hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. So please re-engage with your primary care physician if you haven’t yet, or please establish a relationship with one if you don’t already have a physician working with you. As we emerge from the shadows of COVID-19, it will be one of the most important things we can do together to reduce additional, unnecessary devastation from the pandemic.
The last two months have shown progress on the COVID front that is almost hard to believe. Positive case numbers are down, and so are the number of hospitalizations and deaths. Vaccination has been a significant reason for these dramatic improvements; however, as we see new strains of the virus emerge and become more prevalent, it is crucial for as many people as possible to get protected. This week, Hattiesburg Clinic received confirmation that we will receive 1000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Our plan is to distribute this option to all of our primary care satellite locations very soon so that patients may receive “J&J” from their primary care physician. Appointments will need to be scheduled for these, so please watch for additional information on our website and from your primary care physician’s office as logistics are clarified. Like Pfizer and Moderna, this is a very effective vaccine. The biggest difference is that only a single dose is needed. For those of you who have been vaccinated, thank you for helping yourself and others; please encourage your friends, family, church and community members to do the same so we can continue the tremendous progress we have made so far in 2021.
Please stay safe and thank you for entrusting Hattiesburg Clinic with your health care needs.
Bryan N. Batson, MD
Chief Executive Officer
Hattiesburg Clinic, PA