Internists Tell CMS Frontline Physicians Need Regulatory Relief during COVID-19 Emergency

Washington, DC (March 20, 2020) — In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent this afternoon, the American College of Physicians (ACP) said that internal medicine specialists and other frontline physicians need unprecedented and swift action from the agency in order to care for their patients with COVID-19 and continue to attend to the broader patient population.

While expressing appreciation for steps taken so far to provide regulatory flexibility, ACP was strong in saying that more must be done to further relieve the burden on physicians during this crisis.

“ACP believes that additional steps can and should be taken immediately to help patients receive the care they need in the most efficient, timely, and safe manner possible,” said Robert McLean, MD, MACP, president, ACP in the letter. “CMS also should suspend a number of regulatory and reporting requirements during the duration of the national emergency.”

The letter went on to reiterate concerns raised in a letter sent to CMS earlier in the week regarding coverage of and payment for telehealth and other remotely-provided services.  It then went on to detail additional steps that should be taken, including:

  • Ensuring planned changes to evaluation and management (E/M) codes still take place on Jan. 1.
  • Suspending prior authorization requirements during the period of national emergency.
  • Extending deadlines and suspending payment penalties for physicians under the Quality Payment Program (QPP).
  • Extending deadlines for compliance with health information technology regulations.
  • Extending deadlines to comment on proposed changes to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Programs.
  • Suspending Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) requirements to allow physicians to focus their time and resources on providing patient care.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572

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.