As COVID spikes, our leaders have neglected the need for patient-focused, clear communication

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As a congressman, I often talk to legislative colleagues and staff to offer needed perspective on policy. But as a doctor, I take more pride in the advice I provide to aspiring young physicians at their medical school graduation or “White Coat Ceremony.”

“Never forget the importance of ‘holding one’s hand’, or the ‘pat on the back’ when truly caring for someone.” These are simple words with a far-reaching application. As I work to improve health care policy in America, this sentiment helps guide me.

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The relationship between a doctor and a patient is personal, professional, and rewarding. Bedside manner is a key part of the art of medicine. The better the relationship, the better the communication. With such clear communication comes improved care and, typically, more favorable outcomes.

Yet, in our nation’s foremost health care crisis – dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, far too many public health officials have lost sight of the need for patient-focused, straight forward communication. Time and again, people who ought to be getting it right have circulated inaccurate information or tainted the truth with ideology.

A prime example

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