Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington, DC (April 10, 2020) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) applauds CMS Administrator Seema Verma for disbursing automatic payments to physicians’ practices out of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund, as ACP has recommended. Administrator Verma announced earlier this week that $30 billion out of the $100 billion emergency grant fund in the CARES Act would be automatically distributed this week to physician practices and hospitals to offset their estimated losses in Medicare revenue. This morning, ACP began hearing from many of our members that the funds are showing up in their accounts, providing much needed help as practices struggle to meet payroll and stay open.
ACP is particularly pleased that these funds are being automatically distributed to physician practices without requiring an application or repayment, as we have also recommended.
ACP has also heard from ACP members who applied to the separate Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program that they are beginning to see those funds deposited into their Medicare billing accounts. While this program, also supported by ACP, is different than the emergency fund disbursements in that physicians must apply and the funds are in essence a loan that will have to be repaid to Medicare, it too can be an important lifeline for practices.
Physician practices are the first step for patients in our health care system. With practices experiencing a drastic decrease in in-person office visits, many are at risk of having to close. CMS’ decision to provide immediate access to emergency funds and eligibility for loans will help them as they continue to support and care for their patients, now and after the COVID-19 emergency ends.
ACP is providing advice to our physicians members about these programs and about other things they need to know about managing their practices during the COVID-19 national emergency.
While ACP is glad that our message is being heard on the need to support physicians, we will continue to advocate for additional policies and effective implementation of programs to support and sustain physician practices. Now is the time to ensure that every part of our health care system remains strong.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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