Washington, DC (March 18, 2020)—Today America’s frontline physicians issued a series of recommendations about steps that should be taken to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Our organizations represent more than 600,000 physicians and medical students serving on the front lines of health care. As the nation’s frontline physicians, our members will be diagnosing, testing, treating and counseling millions of patients and their families as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads throughout the United States and worldwide. They treat patients in rural, urban, wealthy and low-income communities, and are the foundation of the American health care system.
During this unprecedented national emergency, our organizations are committed to doing everything possible to prevent and slow the spread of the virus while ensuring that our patients get the care they need. However, they can’t do it alone; there are specific actions that federal and state governments can take now to support access and coverage for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.
Our recommendations include specific steps that the administration, Congress and states can take to facilitate Medicaid and CHIP coverage, particularly to low-income and at-risk patients; to create a special enrollment period in marketplace plans; to ensure coverage for virtual visits, including phone calls; to ramp up health care capacity, including hospital disaster planning, testing, and supply of masks, protective equipment, and other pharmaceutical and medical supplies; and to support frontline physicians and their practices in providing the best possible care to patients.
Our organizations believe that these additional measures, combined with the actions already being taken by the administration, Congress, and the states, will go a long way to supporting our frontline physicians by breaking down the barriers to testing, diagnosing, treating and counseling the growing number of Americans at risk from COVID-19.
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.(www.familydoctor.org.)
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org (www.aap.org)and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
The American College of Physicians(www.acponline.org) is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter(twitter.com), Facebook(www.facebook.com), and Instagram(www.instagram.com).
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of 60,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 145,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. To learn more about DOs and the osteopathic philosophy of medicine, visit www.DoctorsThatDO.org(www.doctorsthatdo.org).
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org(www.psychiatry.org).