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A Unified Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

As soon as reports began emerging about a new and highly communicable virus spreading across the world and in the United States, it was apparent that medical professionals would be tested as never before.

With so much yet unknown, our community needed a place for support, accurate information, shared resources, and advocacy on behalf of the profession and our patients. It was also clear that the the public needed knowledgeable voices and trusted sources of information.

CMSS leadership recognized how important it was that the house of medicine speak together in one clear voice during the pandemic. We made it a priority to advocate for patients and frontline healthcare professionals and to lead with science. We built on the remarkable work of our member societies, partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other national healthcare organizations, shared learnings and best practices, and created a discussion community to identify problems and work together to solve them. To amplify the collective voice of specialty societies and the profession, CMSS issued public statements and authored or signed on to letters to key authorities on topics such as access to PPE, reimbursement for telehealth services, the importance of masks, and ways to maintain the nation’s healthcare workforce (see timeline below).

Many clinicians were unable to meet with patients in person, but patient care had to continue. We therefore advocated for payment parity for telemedicine and phone visits to ensure all had access to the quality care delivered by specialty society members.


A snapshot of a virtual convening - CMSS leaders and invited speaker Megan Ranney, MD, MPH discuss Reflections on the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic also led to drastic changes in societies’ dayto-day operations and cornerstone programs. Conferences and scientific sessions are critical for medical societies, and our members worked together to find new ways of gathering virtually and delivering effective continuing professional development for physicians.

The disruption faced by specialty societies due to the COVID-19 crisis was unprecedented, and it continues to this day due to even more contagious variants of the virus. To support the community and inform advocacy and planning, CMSS continues to keep the field abreast of healthcare meeting status, travel restrictions, and opportunities for virtual and hybrid meetings and conferences.


CMSS also focused our quality and registry activities on COVID-19 measurement and tracking, leading to our highly successful COVID-19 Registries webinar series. Supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the series addressed key questions related to the rapid development, deployment, and implementation of clinical registries and clinical data repositories by specialty societies and academia to address COVID-19 and beyond. Series webinars included:

• Accelerating Real-Time Electronic Data Capture for Tracking, Learning and Improvement

• Reflecting on Our COVID-19 Failures – A New Vision for Integrated Registries

• Deploying Cloud-Based Platforms and Analytic Tools to Support COVID-19 and Beyond

• Prioritizing Patient Engagement and Inclusion of Patient-Generated COVID-19 Data

• Using Clinical Registries to Address Disparities in COVID-19


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, CMSS remains committed to supporting our societies in their work and to advocating for the profession and our patients. CMSS has also taken an active role in improving immunization rates for COVID-19, Influenza, and other routine adult vaccinations through a cooperative agreement with the CDC. See p. 11 of the CMSS Impact Report to learn more about these ongoing efforts.