Family physicians continue to play an essential role in our nation’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus spreads, the pressures on family physicians will only increase. Many practices are facing severe shortages of equipment and supplies, and most are starting to feel the financial strains of the pandemic. It is critical that congressional leaders take action to support America’s frontline physicians by ensuring they have the equipment, supplies, and financial resources needed to keep them operating.
Please use the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Speak Out tool to urge lawmakers to do their part to provide family physicians the support they need to be successful in responding to COVID-19.
On March 20, the AAFP joined the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Cancer Society, and Medical Group Management Association in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership calling for increased support to physicians. The legislative requests included in the letter are:
- Require all payers, including ERISA plans, to provide coverage and payment for audio-only telehealth visits with patients, at the same level as in-person visits.
- Provide dedicated and direct financial support to physicians and their practices on the front lines of testing, diagnosing, and treating patients at risk of COVID-19, recognizing the increased costs they are incurring in the care of such patients.
- Provide dedicated financial support to all physicians and their practices who are experiencing adverse economic impact on their practices from suspending elective visits and procedures.
- We also strongly urge that Congress take all possible actions to ensure that every physician, and every health care worker, has access to critically needed personal protective equipment.