ASPS Asks Congress for Immediate COVID-19 Relief
As states across the nation began issuing stay-at-home orders and prohibiting elective procedures due to the spread of the COVID-19, ASPS took swift action to advocate for financial relief policies that would support plastic surgery practices. The Society initiated a comprehensive advocacy strategy directed at White House staff, congressional leaders and public health officials to support the nation's response.
In March, ASPS leadership worked with the U.S. Surgeon General and White House officials to establish a PPE and ventilator clearinghouse that would help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) collect and distribute much-needed supplies to first responders during the pandemic. The Society also submitted comments in advance of the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Act and CARES Act requesting that Congress make timely investments into the nation's medical supply chain. The other top priority for ASPS during its initial response was direct financial assistance for physicians through tax relief, loan forgiveness, hazard pay and new small business loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Once the laws were enacted, ASPS produced extensive guidance on how ASPS members could take advantage of these programs to support their practices and families.
In addition to ASPS-led efforts, the Society has been an active partner in coalition advocacy led by the American Medical Association, Alliance of Specialty Medicine, Surgical Coalition and other specialty organizations. The Society has co-signed 12 coalition letters to ensure a unified voice is heard by Congress about the need to deliver direct financial support, medical liability protections, PPE supplies, competitive Medicare reimbursement and other solutions to help physicians weather the financial and health system shocks created by the crisis. ASPS has also been actively involved in an out-of-network stakeholder group that continues to fight the inclusion in COVID response packages of balance billing provisions that favor insurance carriers by reimbursing physicians at contracted rates. In its own communications to Congress on COVID measures, ASPS has taken a strong stance that this is a highly inappropriate time to be deliberating any proposal that further undermines the viability of physician practices.
Congress is developing additional COVID-19 economic relief packages, and ASPS has been engaging with the House and Senate consistently, requesting more financial assistance like the recent additional funding for the PPP. The Society also deployed a grassroots alert to U.S. membership requesting that they contact their legislator and urge them to prioritize timely financial relief. To stay updated on our latest advocacy efforts and financial relief resources please visit our COVID-19 Member Resources page.