Washington, DC - Maureen Phipps, MD, MPH, FACOG, CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement regarding the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) methodology for dispersing emergency relief funds:
“Obstetrician-gynecologists across the country are on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and providing essential care to women in the midst of a public health crisis. At the same time, the health care system is in upheaval and many obstetrician-gynecologists are facing a financial crisis that threatens to shutter many women’s health practices. In order to ensure that women can continue to receive needed care today and in the months to come, it is vital that the Administration prioritize providing direct financial support to obstetrician-gynecologists and their practices.
“The Administration has acknowledged that despite great need, congressionally designated relief funds distributed to date have largely excluded obstetrician-gynecologists, who are among the physicians who provide essential care to underserved patients and make up our nation’s safety net. Although ACOG has proactively and thoroughly outlined specific recommendations for how HHS could quickly disperse funds to obstetrician-gynecologists, the Administration has indicated that women’s health practices may have to wait at least two more weeks until they receive relief funds. For many practices, this two-week delay could be too much to absorb, forcing them to close.
“Widespread closures will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of women and their families, particularly as our country continues to face a maternal mortality crisis. It is imperative that obstetrician-gynecologists and other women’s health practitioners continue to provide women with the lifelong care they need.
“ACOG looks forward to partnering with HHS to ensure that women’s health physicians are prioritized as relief funds are distributed. Access to obstetric and gynecologic care is essential – today and in the future.”