April 07, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy
During the coronavirus pandemic, physician groups and practices nationwide are faced with severe financial hardships, putting many in the untenable position of laying off staff and physicians due to lower financial revenues while preparing for, and in some areas of the country, responding to a surge in patients with COVID-19.
Today the American Medical Association (AMA) Federation—representing hundreds of thousands of our nation’s physician—sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar, asking that he take immediate action to provide financial relief to physician practices to ensure a sufficient physician workforce is available in this country now and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
To provide relief to physician practices who are suffering financial loss due to COVID-19, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a $100 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency fund. This fund is intended provide financial assistance to Medicare and Medicaid-enrolled physician practices, hospitals and other providers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The AMA Federation is urging Secretary Azar to directly and immediately distribute funding to financially strapped practices according to a fair distribution formula developed by the AMA Federation.
Specifically, the federation letter calls on Secretary Azar to automatically distribute a lump sum payment to physicians without them having to apply for the funding. AMA’s formula allows each physician to get an automatic one-time lump sum payment equal to one month of expected lost revenue from Medicare and other payors due to COVID-19, based on the average of each individual physician’s Medicare fee-for-service claims submitted in the last quarter of 2019 and extrapolated to other payors. For physician specialties that do not bill as much Medicare (i.e., pediatrics, allergy and immunology, and OB-GYNs), the federation recommends a special formula to distribute funding to those practices.
Read the federation letter here.