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Internists Offer Recommendations to Biden- Harris Presidential Transition Team to Help Advance America’s Health Care System

Washington, DC (December 10, 2020) — In a letter sent today to President-elect Joe Biden, the American College of Physicians (ACP) offered detailed recommendations on how his administration can help ensure the greater good of public health in the United States of America once they get into office. The letter offers recommendations on immediate and high priority changes that can begin to be addressed through the regulatory or executive order process, as well as changes that ACP believes should be a priority in the incoming administration’s first 100 days.

“ACP is ready, willing, and able to do all that we can as the nation’s internal medicine physicians to help the Biden-Harris transition team achieve the better that we believe is possible for America’s health care system”, said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “In fact, our policy priorities in our new vision for America’s health care system, which was released in January of 2020, align well with the presidential transition team’s health care goals.”

ACP recommendations to the Biden-Harris administration for bold action during its first 100 days include:

Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Provide consistent, science-based messaging on wearing of masks, social distancing, and other public health measures to reduce transmission and deaths
  • Enact a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package in the first 100 days of Congress
  • Fund COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts
  • Providing funding for public health infrastructure to address population health needs related to COVID-19
  • Support equitable distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine
  • Support front-line physicians and other health care professionals by providing an adequate supply of personal protective equipment and financial support to practices

Improving the ACA

  • Rollback policies that allow sale of health plans that do not cover essential care
  • Extend ACA open enrollment period and increase funding for outreach
  • Increase premium and cost-sharing subsidies
  • Create a permanent reinsurance mechanism
  • Implement auto-enrollment or other mechanism to ensure universal coverage
  • Fix the “family glitch” through legislation or regulation to expand eligibility for subsidized comprehensive health coverage
  • Establish a federal public option to inject competition into the health insurance marketplace

Supporting the value of, and supply of physicians providing primary and comprehensive care

  • Issue an executive order to prioritize support for and investment in primary care in all federal health programs
  • Use executive action to address barriers to physicians entering and remaining in primary care and practicing in underserved areas
  • Increase Medicare-funded GME positions
  • Initiate and support efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the physician workforce

Telehealth and other Health Information Technology Initiatives

  • Make certain telehealth provisions established under the COVID-19 public health emergency permanent, including permanently lift the geographical and originating site restrictions)
  • Prioritize the CMS commissioned study on the telehealth flexibilities provided during the COVID-19 PHE to assess the experiences and learnings of both patients and physicians utilizing these revised policies
  • Delay information blocking applicability and enforcement deadlines beyond the current April 2021 date until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control
  • Support federal legislation to provide expanded health data privacy, protection, and use principles outside of HIPAA
  • Remove ban on federal funding to research best practices for patient matching and identification to improve patient safety and interoperability efforts

ACP also offered recommendations on:

  • Expanding and Improving Medicaid
  • Improving the Health of Immigrants and Supporting International Medical Graduates
  • Improving access to health care for women and LBGQTIA persons
  • Addressing Climate Change and Environmental Health
  • Reducing Injuries and Deaths from Firearms
  • Improving the Transition to Value-Based Payment
  • Making Prescription Drugs Affordable

“COVID-19 has shown that major changes are needed in our health care system to improve access and ensure better outcomes,” continued Dr. Fincher. “ACP is committed to working with the Biden administration to find solutions to the challenges facing our stressed health care system.”

The detailed recommendations in the letter can be found here.

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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 163,000 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.