Financial Support Advocacy
Providers are grateful for the funds made available through COVID-19 financial relief programs legislated by Congress. However, many clinicians have expressed concerns about the possibility of future audits and potential penalties, given the lack of clear guidance around fund use in the original legislation. We are actively working with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to try to clarify these issues and allay member concerns.
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The ACR continues to actively advocate for the financial needs of its members at the federal level. A fourth COVID-19 relief package is expected over the summer, and we have been reaching out to communicate the needs of the rheumatology community. We are urging more direct financial support for vulnerable rheumatology practices and lobbying for such funding to be specifically tailored to help address staff and provider furloughs and salary reductions.
We will continue to reach out via focus groups, surveys, town halls and private communications to better understand the needs of our members in practice. Continue to share your concerns and questions via COVID@rheumatology.org, and we will get back to you quickly. We will use what we learn from members to influence legislative and regulatory processes and help meet our members’ needs.
We are joining the American Medical Association, as well as rheumatology organizations, advocacy organizations and specialty societies, to bring greater power to these efforts. As I have stated in prior columns, these times require resilience and fortitude. We are working to serve our members as we navigate these challenging times together.
Ellen M. Gravallese, MD, is chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation and Immunity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. She is the 83rd president of the ACR.