The American College of Medical Toxicology Practice Committee held a moderated panel discussion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical toxicology practice. Panelists were from a diverse geographic and practice setting including Dr. Tony Pizon from Pittsburgh, Dr. Evan Schwarz from St. Louis, and Dr. JoAn Laes from Minneapolis. Panelists covered the impact of the pandemic focusing on professional and personal impact, clerkships, toxicology rotation, service coverage, and regulatory changes including the provision of telehealth.
Unfortunately, several medical toxicology consultation services were forced to close during the pandemic due to funding, access to clinic settings, and support while others were pulled from toxicology coverage to support their primary specialty, predominantly Emergency Medicine.
Challenges and opportunities were also discussed. Panelists commented on the ability to rapidly expand into telehealth, covering affiliate hospitals, and the support for more addiction medicine-related treatment, typically withdrawal management or the initiation of medications for opioid use disorder, due to regulatory changes allowing broader use of telemedicine and parity for reimbursement.
Personal and family impact were also included in the discussion as panelists found ways to connect with family and colleagues, which offset some of the professional stress.