Perspective

CARES Act: Is it enough for health care providers?

Donald Trump 2018
Donald J. Ttump

President Donald J. Trump recently signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act into law. However, the question remains whether the legislation will be enough to save everyone the medical community.

The law, known as the CARES Act, contains multiple provisions to lessen the economic impact of COVID-19 on the medical community and help medical professionals continue to provide care to their patients.

“This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses,” Trump said after signing the bill into law. “This legislation provides for direct payments to individuals and unprecedented support to small businesses. We’re going to keep our small businesses strong and our big businesses strong. And that’s keeping our country strong and our jobs strong.”

 

According to the websites of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the AMA, some parts of the CARES Act relevant to health care community include:

  • the expansions of telehealth services;
  • rural health care services outreach, rural health network development and small health care provider quality improvement grant programs;
  • increased access to post-acute care during the COVID-19 emergency period;
  • expanded access to lab testing without cost-sharing;
  • enhanced funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and changes to the Strategic National Stockpile to include other medical supplies; and
  • loan programs that can cover some physician offices’ payrolls for 8 weeks.

The CARES Act passed with bi-partisan support. – by Janel Miller

References:

AAFP. COVID-19: Financial relief for family physicians.https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/emergency/2019-coronavirus/financial-relief.html Accessed April 8, 2020.
AMA. CARES Act: Loans and other financial assistance for physician practices.https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/cares-act-loans-other-financial-assistance-physician-practices.Accessed April 8, 2020.
AMA. What the CARES Act means for physicians and medical students.https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-cares-act-means-physicians-medical-students.Accessed April 8, 2020.
O’Reilly KB. What the $2 trillion coronavirus relief plan means for doctors. AMA. March 27, 2020. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-2-trillion-coronavirus-relief-plan-means-doctors. Accessed April 8, 2020.
White House. Remarks by President Trump at signing of H.R.748, The CARES Act. March 27, 2020.https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-signing-h-r-748-cares-act/. Accessed April 8, 2020.

Donald Trump 2018
Donald J. Ttump

President Donald J. Trump recently signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act into law. However, the question remains whether the legislation will be enough to save everyone the medical community.

The law, known as the CARES Act, contains multiple provisions to lessen the economic impact of COVID-19 on the medical community and help medical professionals continue to provide care to their patients.

“This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses,” Trump said after signing the bill into law. “This legislation provides for direct payments to individuals and unprecedented support to small businesses. We’re going to keep our small businesses strong and our big businesses strong. And that’s keeping our country strong and our jobs strong.”

 

According to the websites of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the AMA, some parts of the CARES Act relevant to health care community include:

  • the expansions of telehealth services;
  • rural health care services outreach, rural health network development and small health care provider quality improvement grant programs;
  • increased access to post-acute care during the COVID-19 emergency period;
  • expanded access to lab testing without cost-sharing;
  • enhanced funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and changes to the Strategic National Stockpile to include other medical supplies; and
  • loan programs that can cover some physician offices’ payrolls for 8 weeks.

The CARES Act passed with bi-partisan support. – by Janel Miller

References:

AAFP. COVID-19: Financial relief for family physicians.https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/emergency/2019-coronavirus/financial-relief.html Accessed April 8, 2020.
AMA. CARES Act: Loans and other financial assistance for physician practices.https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/cares-act-loans-other-financial-assistance-physician-practices.Accessed April 8, 2020.
AMA. What the CARES Act means for physicians and medical students.https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-cares-act-means-physicians-medical-students.Accessed April 8, 2020.
O’Reilly KB. What the $2 trillion coronavirus relief plan means for doctors. AMA. March 27, 2020. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-2-trillion-coronavirus-relief-plan-means-doctors. Accessed April 8, 2020.
White House. Remarks by President Trump at signing of H.R.748, The CARES Act. March 27, 2020.https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-signing-h-r-748-cares-act/. Accessed April 8, 2020.

    Perspective

    The amount of money put forth by the CARES Act may be helpful, but it is not going to get us where we need to be. I worry that if practices fail, there will not be anybody around to take care of the members of our communities

    Not having PPE in a pandemic like this is like sending soldiers to a war without body armor and a gun. You cannot put me on the front line with no way to protect myself. The lack of PPE makes it a more difficult situation, having to decide between taking care of your patients, taking care of your staff, taking care of your family and taking care of yourself. Many of us are still in the office doing what we need to do but having to deal with our staff, who are worried about their risk and taking COVID-19 home to their family.

    AMA has done a good job. Washington’s trying to do a good job. But we still have to be creative in how we keep the front line open regardless of what happens down the road, including telehealth and alternate scheduling so you do not put everybody at risk.

    • Conrad L. Flick, MD
    • Clinician
      Family Medical Associates in Raleigh, North Carolina

    Disclosures: Flick reports no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective
    Jacqueline W. Fincher

    Jacqueline W. Fincher

    We’re very thankful for the CARES Act because it gives us some options. The goal is to keep everybody employed, using that low-interest small business loan and hopefully getting a large part of that as loan forgiveness.

    With our line of credit that we have with our local bank and doing some internal shifting around … we are making sure that we’re keeping up everybody’s salaries, staff and physicians to the minimum level that is required by the terms of the loan. Our goal in 2 months is to still have a great health care business that is taking care of patients on the front line.

    • Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP
    • Internist
      Center for Primary Care
      McDuffie, Georgia

    Disclosures: Fincher reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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