The Effects of COVID-19 on Complex Conditions

Activity description

The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional risk for individuals with complex medical conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, musculoskeletal disorders, obesity, and conditions requiring solid organ and stem cell transplants. This panel discusses the intricacies and barriers to care that may affect outcomes due to delayed treatment of chronic conditions. The importance of timely condition-specific management programs to assist individuals in overcoming these barriers and the critical impact of telemedicine to provide safe access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic will be illustrated. The impact on social determinants of health during a pandemic, as well as how the pandemic may impact future care pathways, will also be discussed.

Provided by
This activity is provided by OptumHealth Education.

Commercial support
No commercial support was received for this activity.

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Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of physicians, PAs, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, psychologists, social workers and health and wellness coaches who have an interest in learning how to manage complex conditions.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Describe how individuals with complex conditions are at high risk for COVID-19.
  • Explain the effect of social determinants of health during this pandemic.
  • State how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted individuals with chronic conditions by delaying their access to care.
  • Identify the role and application of telemedicine in health care settings during the pandemic and how this may impact future care pathways.
  • Realize the importance of condition-specific management programs and the role of the health care team in assisting individuals in overcoming barriers to care due to COVID-19.
Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 NBC-HWC - Health and Wellness Coaches
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 


Roger Shedlin, MD, JD
Dr. Roger Shedlin is the President and CEO of the Medical Benefit Management group at Optum. For over three decades, Dr. Shedlin founded and built benefit management companies in a range of specialties. He was the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in life sciences. Dr. Shedlin is a graduate of the Northwestern University Six Year Medical Program and Medical School, where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He trained in orthopedics. He is also a graduate of Harvard Law School.


Anthony Bonagura, MD
Dr. Anthony Bonagura has worked at Optum since August of 2013 as National Medical Director for Transplantation and Congenital Heart Disease, and he has been the Senior Medical Director for Optum Operations since 2017. He worked for Aetna Insurance Inc. from September 2000 to August 2013. 

He maintains Board Certification in Internal Medicine and licensure in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and is a member of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the American Society of Transplantation.

Prior to working at Aetna, he was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in the Department of General Internal Medicine. At Temple, he was involved in medical education and patient care along with responsibilities related to utilization management and shared-risk programs for the University Hospital. Dr. Bonagura completed a residency in Internal Medicine in 1993. He graduated from SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine in 1990.

Rahul Dhawan, MMM, DO
Dr. Rahul Dhawan is board certified in internal medicine, nephrology and hypertension. Dr. Dhawan also is UNOS Certified in abdominal organ transplant (liver, kidney and pancreas). He previously served as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine/Nephrology/Transplant for Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center and Keck Hospital of USC, a tertiary care transplant center in Los Angeles. Dr. Dhawan has extensive experience managing quality and medical operations at a physician-owned independent physician association (IPA) and also held the position of Chief Medical Officer of a 300-bed, acute care, level 2 trauma center with a behavioral health unit, skilled nursing facility and level 2b neonatal intensive care unit. Dr. Dhawan has spent time leading nurses in quality, case management, utilization review and population health and has experience in shared, full and global risk as well as revenue sharing with physicians and facilities, including dialysis centers. Dr. Dhawan has also previously worked to launch a CMS 5 star de novo dialysis unit and currently works as a Medical Review Board member for CMS end-stage renal disease (ESRD) Network 18 with oversight on quality improvement in ESRD patients for the state of California. Dr. Dhawan’s focus is on improving the quality of care in the general population with a focus on chronic kidney disease and ESRD patients, facilitating home-based therapies and devising strategies to improve the rate of pre-emptive and deceased donor transplants. 

Dr. Dhawan has a BS in Biology from the University of Southern California, graduated from medical school at Western University of Health Sciences, and most recently earned a Master’s in Medical Management from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California where his thesis was on provider-led population management and transition of care facilitation.  

Jon Friedman, MD, FAST
Dr. Friedman is Chief Medical Officer for Optum Medical Benefit Management (MBM) and is responsible for transplantation, chronic and end-stage kidney disease, bariatric surgery, complex cancer, congenital heart disease and spine and joint products. Prior to becoming CMO for MBM, Dr. Friedman was National Medical Director of Transplants and Congenital Heart Disease for Optum. He was Medical Director of PacifiCare's National Preferred Transplant Network from 2001 to 2007. Dr. Friedman holds a BA in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and an MD from Washington University Medical School. He completed a fellowship in geriatric medicine at UCLA. He is board certified in internal and geriatric medicine.

Wendy French, MD
Dr. French is a board certified medical oncologist. She joined Optum in 2017 as a medical director for the Cancer Support Program, with a desire to help provide access to quality, comprehensive cancer care support. Prior to joining Optum, Dr. French was with UnitedHealthcare Clinical Services, in addition to several years in oncology practice providing care for adult patients with cancer, with a special interest in breast cancer care and survivorship.

Robert Refowitz, MD, PhD
Dr. Refowitz has served as the Chief Medical Officer of OrthoNet since 2000 and is responsible for the clinical direction and programs of a large specialty network and payment integrity organization. He received his medical degree and a PhD in health policy and administration from New York University and is board certified in internal and occupation medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Physician and the American College of Preventive Medicine. 

Activity planners
Sarah Chart, RN
Senior Director
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Rebecca Gleason, RN, CCM
Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Disclosures of relevant financial relationships
In accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, OptumHealth Education requires all those in the control of activity content to disclose their relevant financial relationships. An individual has a relevant financial relationship if such person (or his/her spouse/partner) has a financial relationship in any amount occurring in the last 12 months with a commercial interest whose products or services relate to the activity content.

OptumHealth Education ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

Ms. Chart and Ms. Gleason have indicated that they are employees of and own stock in UnitedHealth Group.

The remaining activity faculty or planners have no financial relationships to disclose.

Method for calculating CE credit
CE credit was calculated by the complexity of content.

Accreditation Statement

Joint LogoIn support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by OptumHealth Education. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the health care team.

Credit Designation Statements

IPCE LogoThis activity was planned by and for the health care team, and learners will receive up to 1.00 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credits for learning and change.

The participant will be awarded up to 1.00 contact hours of credit for attendance and completion of supplemental materials.

Nurse Practitioners
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME and ANCC.

Pharmacists/Pharmacy Technicians
This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hour(s) ([0.1] CEU) in states that recognize ACPE.
Attending the full program will earn 1.00 contact hour(s).
Unique Activity Number(s): JA0007123-0000-20-141-H04-P/T

OptumHealth Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

OptumHealth Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this program. 1.00 CE hours.

Social Workers
As a Jointly Accredited Organization, OptumHealth Education is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 1 continuing education credit.

Counselors and/or marriage and family therapists
CA: The Board of Behavioral Sciences has deferred CE course approvals to APA and ASWB for its licensees. See those approvals under Psychologists and Social Workers.
Other States: If your state is not specifically listed, nearly all state Counselor and MFT boards accept either APA or ASWB approval, or are reciprocal with other state licensing board approvals, such as those listed below. Check with your board to be sure.

Health and Wellness Coaches
This CE course is approved by ICHWC for up to 1.00 continuing education units (CEP #100115).

A certificate of attendance will be provided to learners upon completion of activity requirements, enabling participants to register with licensing boards or associations that have not been pre-approved for credits. To apply for credit types not listed above, participants should use the procedure established by the specific organization with which they wish to obtain credit.


Available Credit

  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 NBC-HWC - Health and Wellness Coaches
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
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