Physicians: Tell the Senate to pass COVID-19 Phase 4 legislation
As the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the House has taken the first step by passing its version of “phase four” coronavirus relief legislation. Now it’s the Senate’s turn and they are expected to introduce their plan in the coming weeks.
As Senators consider how they will approach a coronavirus relief bill package to confront this emergency of extraordinary—and yet, unknown—proportions, the AMA strongly urges they take critical steps to protect patient access to care by preserving the viability of physician practices as part of the nation’s essential health care system.
Specifically, it is important that the Senate’s legislation include:
- Continue the expansion of and add flexibility for Medicare accelerated and advanced payments to give physicians greater ability to deal with the current crisis
- Better address Medicare and Medicaid payment policy to account for the lack of positive updates to further assist America’s doctors caring for patients during the pandemic
- Include direct financial support to help sustain physician practices through the COVID-19 crisis including access to small business loans recently authorized by the Small Business Administration
- Continue support for the expansion of telehealth by requiring ERISA group health plans to provide the same telehealth services being covered by Medicare
- Increase support for resident physicians and students through federal loan forgiveness and tuition relief, including third and fourth year medical students
- Institute broader liability protection for physicians and clinicians as they continue their front-line fight against COVID-19
Read the AMA’s joint letter with state medical and specialty societies sent to Congressional leadership.
The House got the ball rolling for this latest round of crucial COVID-19 stimulus, but now the Senate must step up to finish the job. Much has been done in the battle to curb the pandemic, but the catastrophic damage has taken an undeniable toll. Stimulus relief to date has helped, but is far from sufficient and every day that goes by without Congress passing a complete package and sending it to the President’s desk is a stark reminder of how much more must be done to protect America’s patients and those that are on the front lines taking care of them.
Please contact your Senators today and tell them that their phase four coronavirus relief legislation must include the physician and patient protections outlined above.
Thank you for recently passing the CARES Act. This legislation was a meaningful step in the battle against COVID-19 and in preserving the health care infrastructure in this time of crisis. As the Senate considers additional COVID-19 legislation, the physician community urges the Senate to take additional steps to preserve the viability of physician practices. Any additional COVID-19 package must:
· Continue the expansion of and add flexibility for Medicare accelerated and advanced payments
· Address Medicare & Medicaid payment policy to account for the lack of positive updates to assist doctors caring for patients
· Include direct financial support to sustain physician practices through the COVID-19 crisis including small business loans
· Continue the expansion of telehealth by requiring ERISA plans to provide the same services covered by Medicare
· Increase support for resident physicians and students through loan forgiveness/tuition relief
· Institute broader liability protection for doctors as they fight COVID-19
Please support any additional COVID-19 legislation that includes the additional protections outlined above.