News from the AGA

Congress has heard our rally cry


 

AGA has advocated for provisions to protect our providers and businesses and we’re happy to report that the following provisions are in the third installation of the COVID-19 economic relief legislation.

We’ll continue to push for direct funding for physicians recognizing that many practices and ASCs are struggling.

Small business relief

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loans:

Businesses with 500 employees or less are eligible unless the covered industry’s SBA size standard allows more than 500 employees.

Allows 501(c)(3) non-profits to gain access to the program.

Increases the maximum loan amount to $10 million.

Expands allowable uses of loans to include payroll support, such as:

1. Paid sick or medical leave.

2. Employee salaries.

3. Mortgage payments.

Provides a process for loan forgiveness for certain payroll costs as well as mortgage, rent and utility obligations.

  • Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund:

$100 billion for health care services related to the COVID-19.

Reimbursement to eligible health care providers for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to the pandemic.

  • Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act:

$454 billion for loans, loan guarantees and other investments for companies with losses tied to the pandemic that threaten continued operation.

Medicare provisions

  • Suspension of sequestration – Physicians avoid a 2% cut in their Medicare reimbursement.
  • Extension of geographic index floor – Increases Medicare payments for providers in nonurban areas.
  • Increased Medicare telehealth flexibilities during the emergency period.
  • AGA will continue to advocate for audio-only coverage as this issue is still not resolved.

Other key health care provisions

  • Liability protections for health care professionals during the emergency response.
  • Coverage of preventive services and vaccines.
  • $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to ensure production of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Correspondence to congressional leadership

  • March 25, 2020 – With the American Medical Association, a letter is sent requesting the inclusion of support for physician practices in any economic stimulus package.
  • March 24, 2020 – With the Alliance of Specialty Medicine, a letter is sent asking for relief for independent physicians’ offices.
  • March 20, 2020 – A joint society letter is sent asking for increased funding for and access to PPE; softened prior authorization, telehealth reimbursement and Medicare reporting requirements; and financial safeguards for health care professionals and practices.

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