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New struggles for primary care doctors on the frontlines of coronavirus fight

The future is uncertain for a San Antonio physician.

SAN ANTONIO — A local doctor said the first line of defense is crumbling. Dr. Saleh Jaafar, president of Medcare, said there are new struggles for primary care doctors.

KENS 5 first spoke to Dr. Jaafar a week ago, and things aren't much better. At the time, he had only one box of masks. Seven days later, he is still struggling.

"Nobody has brought me masks," he said. "Nobody has brought me gowns. Nobody has said, 'Do you need anything to continue to stay open?'"

The future is uncertain for this physician.

"You hear help the hospitals, help this and help that," he said. "But, what about primary care physicians who have taken the bulk? We have already cut salaries significantly for all the doctors."

Dr. Jaafar has been treating patients who think they have the coronavirus. He meets those patients outside to limit the risk of exposure to people inside his clinics. But at the same time, he's losing his normal business. He said half of his patients aren't coming in.

"I don't think any primary care physician in San Antonio is going to stay around in two to three weeks without help, he said. Very worrisome. Very worrisome."

He's hoping for financial help to help keep primary care physicians up and running.

"ER is saying, 'We can't even handle the volume of the virus patients if it really gets bad,'" Jaafar said. "Once we crumble, all those patients will be having to go to the ER."


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