Travis County Medical Society issues call for physicians in response to COVID-19 surge in hospitals

Photo of a female physician putting on blue latex gloves
An organization representing over 4,000 members of the Austin-area medical community has issued a call for help from qualified physicians to help with a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

An organization representing over 4,000 members of the Austin-area medical community has issued a call for help from qualified physicians to help with a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The Travis County Medical Society, an organization that represents over 4,000 local doctors, is seeking qualified physicians to help treat a surge of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. On Jan. 7, the TCMS sent out a call for help in partnership with Ascension Seton and Sound Physicians aimed at providers not currently treating patients.

"Austin is experiencing a surge of COVID patients that has stressed our inpatient medical care community. We are putting out a call for help to any qualified members who would be available and willing to work temporarily as inpatient physicians," TCMS President Dr. Nancy Foster wrote in a letter to the society's members. "We are seeking internal medicine, family physicians and qualified sub-specialists who feel comfortable with hospital care."

In the past week, Austin Public Health representatives have issued warnings about the stress rising COVID-19 hospitalizations is putting on health care facilities. Dr. Mark Escott, the Austin-Travis County interim health authority, has said he expects Austin-area intensive care units to be overwhelmed by Jan. 15. If and when hospitals exceed capacity, APH plans to activate the Austin Convention Center as a field hospital for "lower-acuity" patients.

The TCMS letter was sent out the day after APH reported a record 84.7 average daily hospital admissions related to COVID-19 at Austin-area hospitals. As of Jan. 6, Travis County also had a seven-day moving average of 534 new cases per day, and 162 coronavirus patients were in Austin-area ICUs.

Foster's letter said the TCMS is seeking to create a care team by Jan. 11 who will receive emergency onboarding and credentialing from Sound Physicians and Ascension Seton. According to the letter, volunteers will be paid.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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