As you all have likely heard, the CARES Act provisions financial relief to physician practices suffering financial loss due to COVID-19.
The AAEM Board of Directors has been following these developments closely and believes that additional steps need to be taken to support the individual emergency physician. AAEM is concerned that without these additional steps, the practice as an entity and corporate management groups may be the only ones that benefit, leaving the individual emergency physician out. You can help us by sending your own response using the sample language below or by submitting a letter through a form we have built, also below.
We need our members to contact their representatives; HHS Secretary, Alex Azar; Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Ryan Murphy; and Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Health, Bill Hall by emailing Alex.firstname.lastname@example.org, Ryan.Murphy1@hhs.gov, and Bill.Hall@hhs.gov. Please include “CARES Act – Provisions for Emergency Physicians” as your subject line.
One example of language that can be used includes:
The Honorable Alex M. Azar, II
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington DC 20201
Dear Secretary Azar:
I write as a bedside emergency medicine physician who is taking care of COVID-19 patients and placing myself and my family at risk. Any funds from the CARES Act that are designated for my specialty should go DIRECTLY to the individual physician and not “emergency physician practices” or ED staffing companies. You have our NPI numbers and data on us, this should not be difficult.
I am aware that the Emergency Department Practice Management Association (EDPMA) has requested payments to these entities but this will risk diversion of funds by those not directly involved in patient care. It would be particularly distressing for bedside physicians to see such funds going to relieve the debt burden of private equity backed ED staffing companies. The executives of those entities are not risking their lives.
For payment to hospital employed emergency physicians I would have the same concerns of funds diversion if not directed to the individual physician. I also believe that such monies should be prioritized for those healthcare workers actually on the frontlines such as our colleagues in critical care, anesthesia, and hospital medicine.
If you prefer, we have provided a template to send your information to CMS. You may provide your CARES Act feedback at the link below.
AAEM Board of Directors