The U.S. Congress is back in session and beginning work toward a fourth COVID-19 response bill. While the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a partisan package as early as today, there is still much work to be done to achieve bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a path forward. As negotiations continue on future legislation, ACOG is actively engaging in the process and urging Congress to prioritize policies that respond to your needs and those of your practice and your patients.
Priorities for additional COVID-19 response legislation include:
- Ensuring that physicians and patients in hospital-based and private practice settings have the personal protective equipment and testing they need to stay safe
- The need for additional financial assistance for physicians and physician practices, including grants, interest-free loans, and other mechanisms to support physician practices of all sizes
- Enhanced liability protections for physicians providing health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Student loan forgiveness and hazard pay for medical residents, subspecialty fellows, and practicing physicians
- Investment in evidence-based public health programs to improve maternal health outcomes, including those that we advocated for during the 2020 Congressional Leadership Conference
- Medicaid payment parity with Medicare rates
- Additional data collection, research, and surveillance efforts, particularly focused on communities of color and pregnant people. Additional federal funds are needed to support COVID-19 research on pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, such as the PRIORITY Study.
- Funding to support programs authorized by the Violence Against Women Act in response to alarming reports of increased rates of domestic and sexual violence
- Support for international medical graduate (IMG) physicians
You can read our full letter to US House and Senate leaders.
Also this week, ACOG joined with our frontline physician colleagues from the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, and American Psychiatric Association to call for immigration protections for IMG physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. IMG physicians fill critical gaps in care that are especially imperative during this pandemic. We therefore collectively urge the Administration and Congress to support the IMG physician workforce by expediting processing of visas and protecting the status of spouses and dependent children.
ACOG will continue to advocate for you and encourages you to join us by emailing your members of Congress and telling them what’s important to you. Contact your members of Congress today!