Update (May 15, 2020): ACOG is working around the clock to ensure that obstetrician–gynecologists get the financial relief that they urgently need. This week we wrote another letter insisting that HHS immediately direct relief funds to women’s health practices. ACOG will continue our steadfast advocacy efforts to ensure the financial stability of obstetrician–gynecologists’ practices and continued access to women’s health care.
We've also created an opportunity for you to voice your concerns about relief funding for obstetrician–gynecologists. Act now: let the administration know that women’s health care professionals should receive financial relief immediately.
One of ACOG’s top priorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic is to advocate for financial relief for obstetrician–gynecologists and women’s health practices that are facing dramatic financial challenges. While Congress has allocated federal relief funds to support struggling physician practices of all kinds, those funds have been distributed only to practices that see Medicare patients, leaving many women’s health practices behind. Even those practices that see a small number of Medicare patients are facing difficult decisions, including whether to lay off staff or even close their practices.
To facilitate quick distribution of funds to members, ACOG recommended a methodology that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could implement quickly. We also pointed out that women’s health professionals are already disproportionately affected because of the unique billing structure of maternity care services and the high cost of malpractice insurance. Perhaps even more pressing is the fact that COVID-19 is exacerbating existing women’s health crises of all kinds, from maternal mortality to abortion access. We know that it is more critical than ever that obstetrician–gynecologists have the resources they need to continue providing essential health care.
In addition to recommending that federal relief funds be distributed directly to obstetrician–gynecologists, ACOG also joined with the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics to offer to work with HHS to ensure that our members’ unique needs are met. We continue to have productive conversations with officials at HHS, who have recognized that they need to prioritize obstetrician–gynecologists in subsequent rounds of relief funding. ACOG will continue to urge the administration to act until we have secured funding for women’s health practices.
As physicians who care for patients throughout the entirety of their life span, obstetrician–gynecologists are critical to the health of our nation during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the long term. It is therefore essential that obstetric and gynecologic practices receive the financial support they need to continue to support the health of women and their families.
For more information on our work to secure financial relief for obstetrician–gynecologists, please see ACOG’s statement and our step-by-step guide on how obstetrics and gynecology practices can access HHS federal relief funds.