The AAMC sent a letter on Sept. 18 to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting that the HHS provide additional resources from the Provider Relief Fund specifically to faculty physician practices.
The letter emphasizes the unique contributions and needs of faculty physician practices as they have responded on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as unique costs such as the “purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), increased testing for staff and patients, enhanced cleaning protocols, and other costly measures – all while seeing a lighter patient volume to maintain adequate social distancing.” Additionally, the AAMC cautioned that practices “need to be ready for a second surge during the winter when many have warned about the combined impact of COVID-19 and the flu season.”
The letter makes the following specific recommendations:
- Designate $10 billion in specific funds for faculty physician practices.
- Identify faculty physician practices by allowing them to attest to their status as a faculty physician practice.
- Establish clear guidelines as to which lost revenues and COVID-19-related expenses are reimbursable.
- Retroactively compensate faculty physician practices for losses and costs previously incurred since the beginning of the pandemic.
The HHS has allocated all but approximately $53 billion from the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund through a series of distributions to providers, but it has not announced how the remaining funds will be spent.