ACP Advocacy for COVID-19 Funding Continues

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Recent White House meeting with medical professionals focused on COVID-19 treatment and prevention in adults, especially those at high risk for severe disease

Nov. 18, 2022 (ACP) — Close to three years after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic in March 2020, the American College of Physicians is continuing to lobby for increased COVID-19 funding.

Specifically, ACP is advocating for $22.4 billion in additional funding to combat the COVID-19 pandemic through continued purchasing of personal protective equipment for health care professionals, developing and purchasing variant-specific booster vaccines, developing additional oral antiviral treatments, restocking the government supply of depleted at-home testing and providing increased vaccination and testing access to vulnerable populations and the uninsured during the ongoing public health emergency.

“The aforementioned combination strategies have collectively and effectively shown to decrease the hospitalizations and death from COVID-19,” said ACP President Dr. Ryan D. Mire.

ACP continues to advocate for adequate COVID-19 funding through letters to Congress, meetings with the White House administration and collaborative efforts with other medical professional organizations. The overarching goal is to speak with one voice regarding the importance of efforts to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mire said.

The most recent White House meeting, which took place on Oct. 19, was attended by leaders of medical organizations, including ACP, and focused on COVID-19 treatment and prevention in adult patients.

“We discussed improved strategies to achieve a higher rate of vaccinations with the bivalent booster, enhance the availability of booster vaccines at the practice level and improve access and prescribing of oral antiviral medications that are currently being underused for COVID-19-positive cases,” Mire said.

The societies agreed to work with a unified voice to amplify the value of boosters, vaccinations and oral treatment with the available options, he explained.

“In addition, we encouraged the administration to simplify its messaging and seek health care leaders' engagement prior to public outreach, as this would help us amplify with a unified voice,” Mire said.

In a statement, the White House noted that the discussion also focused on the progress the United States has made in treating COVID-19, with COVID-19 deaths down 90 percent since President Biden took office. The meeting also highlighted the steps that clinicians and physicians can take to further drive down COVID-19 deaths, by ensuring patients — especially those at high risk for severe COVID-19 — understand the effectiveness of treatments in saving lives and the importance of both testing for COVID-19 if they have symptoms and seeking treatment quickly if they test positive.

ACP is also advocating for an additional $4.5 billion to combat the continued threat of monkeypox. These funds would be used to provide adequate vaccination capacity, testing and awareness programming to mitigate the spread of this contagious virus. “A portion of this funding would also target supplying monkeypox vaccinations to community health centers,” Mire noted.

Every ACP member has a role to play in encouraging patients to stay up to date on their vaccinations and explaining the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

“We know that patients trust their physicians, so we need to maximize the value of our patient-physician relationships to encourage our patients to get up to date with the most current bivalent booster recommendation,” Mire said. “Now that we have the availability of vaccines to enhance the prevention and reduce the severity of COVID-19 illness, we are trained to not only diagnose and manage, but to assist patients in the prevention of disease.”

This conversation can take place in the exam room and other health care settings. “This is everyone's role, including those with a focus in primary care, hospital medicine and our subspecialty practices,” he said.

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Back to the November 18, 2022 issue of ACP Advocate