March 02, 2021
While physicians can bill payors for certain CPT codes for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-related supplies, most payors are not reimbursing for them, leaving physicians to bear the full brunt of these costs. For months, the California Medical Association (CMA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have been urging payors across the nation to adopt and pay for the new CPT codes that have been established for supplies and expenses related to the ongoing public health emergency.
CMA is now sponsoring a bill in California (SB 242, Newman) that would require health plans and insurers to reimburse its contracted health care providers for business expenses that are medically necessary to render treatment to patients, to protect health care workers and to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19.
SB 242 is currently in the Senate Health Committee. CMA is urging all physicians to contact legislators and urge them to vote yes on this important bill.
CMA’s most recent survey found that 87% of physician practices are still worried about their financial health, with revenue down by one third. And, while revenue is down, practice costs have gone up 14%, with practices having to purchase PPE, comply with public health disinfecting guidelines, implement telehealth and make other changes due to the pandemic.
These increases in uncompensated costs are exacerbating the burden placed on the already strained health care system. SB 242 is essential to addressing and alleviating the significant financial pressures placed on physicians by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure that our health care system remains open and accessible to patients across the state and nation.