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Internists Make Recommendations to Protect and Support Physicians in COVID-19 Legislation

Washington, DC (March 24, 2020) —In a letter sent to Congress today, the American College of Physicians (ACP) laid out recommendations for priorities that need to be included in the final COVID-19 legislation that is currently being developed. 

“We know that Congress has little time to negotiate the remaining details of this package and we urge you to incorporate the views of internal medicine physicians to ensure that patients have access to needed care and are able to afford it, and that U.S. health care professionals have the funding, manufacturing, supply and distribution capacity needed to address this growing national health emergency,” wrote Robert McLean, MD, MACP, president, ACP, in the letter.

The letter detailed seven priority areas that must be included in the legislation to help internal medicine physicians and their patients.  These include:

  • Supporting and sustaining physician practices by providing emergency grant programs and low-interest loan programs and by requiring that all payers cover and pay for audio-only telephone consultations between physicians and their patients.
  • Using all possible means to ensure that there is sufficient funding, manufacturing, supply, and distribution capacity to get Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) immediately to every physician, nurse, and health worker on the front lines of caring for patients who may have COVID-19.
  • Ensuring Medicaid Parity throughout the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency.
  • Suspending Medicare sequester throughout the duration of this national emergency.
  • Expanding coverage related to COVID-19.
  • Reauthorizing and increasing funding for critical health programs, including Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF).
  • Recommending that Congress pay physicians and hospitals 110 percent of the Medicare rates for providing COVID-19-related treatment for uninsured persons, and increasing Medicare physician fee schedule payments to physicians for the duration of the public health emergency.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org


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.