Letter’s 20 signatories represent patients, physicians, businesses, and health plans.
Bethesda, Md. – June 8, 2020 – Today, Aledade joined with 19 major national organizations to send a letter on behalf of primary care practices across the country calling on congressional leadership to fully fund dedicated, streamlined financial support for primary care. The co-signers ask congressional leadership to set aside $15 to $20 billion in direct funding to primary care to help these practices stay open and fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Primary care needs help,” said Farzad Mostashari, MD, CEO and co-founder of Aledade. “Across the country, primary care physicians, nurses, and their office staff are going to work during a global pandemic, putting themselves at risk and their lives on the line to keep their patients and their communities safe. Their offices will be the key way we keep people living with chronic conditions healthy today, and recover from COVID in the future. Ultimately, this is not about us saving primary care; it’s that we need primary care to save all of us.”
“The need for primary care has never been more urgent or more important for our nation’s families, children, and seniors as the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic—the greatest health and economic emergency in more than a century. And yet, primary care practices across the country are at risk of closing as a direct result of the failed economics of the predominant payment model in the U.S. health care system,” said Sophia Tripoli, Director of Health Care Innovations at Families USA. “We must protect our primary care infrastructure during this crisis and double down on efforts to move our health care system towards value-based care and payment to ensure the system provides the best health and high quality, affordable care that families deserve.”
The letters’ signers include some of the largest and most prominent national organizations representing patients, physicians, businesses, and health plans, including the Alliance of Community Health Plans, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, the Better Medicare Alliance, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Caregiver Action Network, the Direct Primary Care Coalition, Families USA, Mental Health America, the National Coalition on Health Care, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National Minority Quality Forum, the National Partnership for Women & Families, the Pacific Business Group on Health, the Partnership to Empower Physician-Led Care, Primary Care Collaborative, and Privia Health.
Primary care practices nationwide have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As they encourage patients to stay home and avoid contracting the novel coronavirus, they forgo revenue that comes from these in-person visits. The rapid adoption of telehealth has served to stem some of these losses, but it has not nearly made up the difference; most federal aid has come in the form of loans which will come due well before patient visits return to normal levels. As a result, recent data from the Commonwealth Fund show that less than half of recently surveyed primary care providers think they have enough patient volume (46%) or enough cash on hand (47%) to stay open for the next month.
The closure of primary care practices would have a devastating impact on communities across the country. For millions of Americans, these practices are the primary access point to the health care system, and for many rural communities where the local hospital has closed, they are the only access point. Even without closure, the financial pressure on independent primary care practices could force these providers to sell their practice to a larger hospital system, accelerating the consolidation of health care, which has been proven to increase health care costs without improving the quality of care.
To support these practices, the signatories call on Congress to set aside $15-20 billion specifically for primary care in the next stimulus package. The process for accessing this aid should be streamlined, as many of these practices are struggling with the administrative burden of other financial aid programs - often trying to find time between caring for patients to navigate reporting requirements, or simply forgoing that lost time and cutting their own pay in the midst of a health care crisis.
Today, Aledade partners with more than 550 independent practices and 7,300 providers in 27 states. To support its partners during this crisis, Aledade has procured large shipments of their most needed personal protective equipment (PPE), provided expert guidance on the rapidly changing policy and regulatory landscape, developed and distributed patient-facing COVID-19 content, and helped more than 275 practices launch telemedicine visits.
Founded in 2014, Aledade partners with independent practices, health centers, and clinics to build and lead Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) anchored in primary care. Through these ACOs, Aledade empowers physicians to stay independent, practice medicine like they’ve always wanted to, and thrive financially by keeping people healthy. Aledade offers a comprehensive range of capabilities that includes cutting-edge data analytics, user-friendly guided workflows, unparalleled regulatory expertise, strong payer relationships, and local, hands-on support from attentive experts. In true alignment with more than 7,300 participating providers in 27 states, Aledade shares in the risk and reward across more than 80 value-based public payer and commercial contracts representing more than 840,000 lives under management. To learn more, visit www.aledade.com or follow on Twitter or Facebook.
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