Parallel to COVID-19’s risk to international well being is the sweeping monetary disaster it now poses for U.S. physicians working to stem the pandemic. Congress should tackle each emergencies in its subsequent stimulus legislative bundle, the Academy and 4 different organizations instructed lawmakers in a brand new letter.
It is a message the AAFP is amplifying with a Converse Out marketing campaign(www.votervoice.internet) that lets members be a part of this terribly pressing name as lawmakers construct and debate the stimulus.
The bundle that subsequent emerges from the Capitol “ought to help and maintain physicians and their practices throughout this unprecedented nationwide emergency by means of tax reduction; no-interest loans; direct funds; fee for digital visits, together with cellphone calls; and different measures,” mentioned the March 20 letter.(2 web page PDF)
The letter was signed by the AAFP, the AMA, the American School of Physicians, the American School of Surgeons, and the Medical Group Administration Affiliation.
It was despatched to Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in addition to to Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and Minority Chief Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
As physicians have tried to restrict sufferers’ publicity, preserve assets and meet accelerating calls for for care, they’ve elevated digital visits — and are already feeling unfavourable results as a consequence of billing programs, together with Medicare’s, that target in-person visits.
“That is placing extreme monetary stress on physicians and their practices, in all forms of observe and in all specialties,” the letter mentioned. “Practices are experiencing big reductions in income whereas nonetheless having to pay lease, meet payroll and meet different bills with out sufferers coming into their practices.”
To alleviate that stress, the 5 organizations urged Congress to
- require all payers, together with Worker Retirement Revenue Safety Act plans, to offer protection and fee for audio-only telehealth visits with sufferers on the identical stage as in-person visits;
- present devoted and direct monetary help to physicians and their practices on the entrance strains of testing, diagnosing and treating sufferers in danger for contracting COVID-19;
- and supply devoted monetary help to all physicians who’re experiencing hostile financial affect on their practices from suspending elective visits and procedures.
The letter additionally referred to as on Congress to “make sure that each doctor and each well being care employee has entry to critically wanted private protecting tools.”
“The shortage of such provides is inserting each physicians and sufferers at nice threat of buying COVID-19 and spreading it to others,” the Academy and its co-signatories warned. “Eighty-nine p.c of doctor practices in a March 19 MGMA survey(www.mgma.com) reported experiencing shortages of essential PPE. The funding that Congress has already accredited have to be elevated, and all potential actions have to be taken to extend the capability to fabricate, purchase and distribute PPE.”
The March 20 letter was solely the most recent in a surge of Academy advocacy centered on the COVID-19 pandemic. As with earlier correspondence calling for swift legislative and regulatory motion, this joint correspondence reminded Congress that solely correctly outfitted and financially sustained physicians can halt COVID-19.
“The above steps, mixed with different measures to make care reasonably priced for sufferers prone to COVID-19, are important to slowing the unfold of the virus and supporting physicians as they honor their sacred obligation to offer care to sufferers in want, together with doing no hurt to sufferers by eliminating elective visits and procedures to attenuate affected person publicity to the virus.”
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