As the last two months have proven to us, healthcare providers operate in an environment with current reimbursement schemes that, at any given time, can require those funding taxes or healthcare to step in and do unpredicted and unnatural things. Unless you’re a dominant healthcare system with extraordinary liquidity in hand, help will be required.
The lion’s share of today’s primary care providers are reimbursed in a method and are organized in a legal structure that does not allow for them to retain earnings without penalties of increased taxation. In times like we are seeing now, this puts some of those practices at the edge of a financial cliff. Most have furloughed staff and reduced their hours.
We commend efforts to address the impact of this outbreak by the administration and legislators. However, for many practices the current funds are not enough. Until such time that patients are comfortable getting the care they require, physicians and providers need additional help to protect patients’ access to medical care by preserving the viability of independent practices across the country.
And even when patients do return, what new unknown costs will these providers incur? Will there be those associated with PPE, adjustments to physical space, testing of staff as well as many new protocols, all being new and a burden on the margin of running a medical practice? Without strong, supportive and nimble partners that bring talent, tools and technology along with innovative business models that can thrive in new reimbursement schemes, the business and practice of medicine is forever changed.
Below is the letter we, in coordination with Aledade, sent in early April to fellow healthcare leaders urging them to join us in our efforts to #saveprimarycare. We encourage others to share their stories and make their voices heard regarding this important issue. If you’d like to get involved, please reach out to email@example.com.
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Independent practices across the country urgently need your help.
As you undoubtedly know, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill last month to provide economic relief to individuals and businesses across the country, and they continue to consider additional measures to provide even more relief.
Community providers are the first line of defense against COVID-19 and are working diligently to continue to respond to the non-acute needs of their patients. While they may receive some relief through the $100 billion allocated for health care providers by Congress, they will need additional support to continue to ensure sustainability over the long-term.
We invite you to join us in a coordinated advocacy campaign to help get independent practices the economic relief needed to enable them to continue to serve their communities.
Many of these practices are reporting that they have had to reduce their hours and lay off staff, and that they have days or weeks until closing altogether. They are reporting 40, 50, and 60% reductions in patient visits, leading to dramatically reduced revenues. These small businesses simply cannot survive indefinitely without additional financial assistance. We need to protect these community-based practices because they will be the frontlines of our efforts to defeat COVID-19 as we seek to keep potentially infected patients away from hospitals and other institutions.
While the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) decision to advance providers up to three months of Medicare fee-for-service payments will help them stay afloat during this critical time, these advances must be repaid and simply delay their financial crisis for a few months.
Congress is right now readying a fourth stimulus package, and we need your help to ensure that medical practices get needed relief.
Working through the Partnership to Empower Physician-Led Care, we are building a group of aligned independent practice supporters who can join us in lobbying the Administration and Congress. This group will work together to ensure that policymakers understand the urgent needs of independent practice, reiterating key messages in joint and individual advocacy, and using social media and other platforms to continue to hold policymakers accountable for providing the needed relief.
What we need from you:
- To participate in regular coordinating calls, anticipated to be held once weekly through the end of May.
- To share data and stories highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on medical practices.
- To collaborate in joint and individual advocacy to ensure the right messages and information are getting to decision makers in a coordinated way, and that they are hearing from a range of voices concerned about independent practice.
If you are interested in joining us, please let us know. Thank you for considering.
Shawn Morris, CEO, Privia Health
Farzad Mostashari, CEO, Aledade