For more information on the AAMC’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, visit the Coronavirus Resource Hub.
The AAMC urged Congress and the Trump administration to take key actions to support the efforts of medical schools and teaching hospitals related to COVID-19 through four letters providing recommendations on the federal government’s response.
AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, sent a letter on March 19 asking congressional leaders and Vice President Mike Pence to consider several recommendations critical to ensuring that teaching hospitals, academic physicians, and medical schools can continue responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter was sent after the president signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127) and before Congress takes up a third supplemental package (see related story). The recommendations are detailed under the following categories:
- Provide resources to support hospital preparedness and response.
- Continue to increase the availability and capacity of testing.
- Ensure hospitals can continue to provide quality care to COVID-19 patients and all patients.
- Ensure an adequate supply of pharmaceuticals and suspend burdensome reporting.
- Provide funding to assist research labs at academic medical centers in addressing expected costs associated with the pandemic.
- Waive telemedicine licensure requirements.
- Temporarily expedite extensions and changes of status for foreign national doctors currently in the United States.
- Waive certain lab restrictions in order to enable remote pathology services.
- Ease reporting requirements for duration of the emergency.
- Hold patients harmless for the cost of testing and treatment.
Additionally, the AAMC sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma on March 20, which asked the agency to continue to support the urgent needs of the health care community without delay. The AAMC recommends that CMS should:
- Provide flexibility needed for services that involve residents.
- Promote use of a uniform waiver for states to waive licensure requirements to allow for telehealth across state lines.
- Assist hospitals with accelerated access to cash.
- Withdraw the proposed Medicaid fiscal accountability regulation.
- Provide further regulatory relief around payment flows, administrative simplification for care delivery and quality reporting, and maintenance of the transition to value-based care.
The AAMC joined over 15 cross-industry stakeholders — including America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Clinical Laboratory Association, the Health Information Management Systems Society, and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association — in a March 18 letter to Vice President Pence and congressional leaders asking Congress and the administration to work to ensure stable inventories of needed medical supplies, strengthen provider capacity, and ensure access to critical medications. The letter states that the groups will work together alongside local, state, and federal officials “in every way possible.”
The AAMC also sent a letter on March 19 with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Association of American Universities, and the American Council on Education urging congressional leaders to consider “a few key provisions and supplemental funding to safeguard the nation’s research workforce and capabilities as we combat the coronavirus pandemic.” The letter outlines four areas of impact to the research enterprise, provides four suggestions for funding agencies, and includes a recommendation of $13 billion in supplemental funding to mitigate disruptions related to COVID-19 on the nation’s research workforce and federally funded basic and applied research.