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ACOG Update: COVID and Beyond

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Thank you for your efforts in caring for our patients during this pandemic and a very difficult time. We know that despite your heroic efforts to provide the best of care, many are facing financial hardship. ACOG is working for you by advocating for fair reimbursement for in-person and telemedicine visits, financial relief, access to adequate PPE, and helpful information on clinical and practice management all while advocating for our patients. Here is a short summary of some of our latest wins and a brief update on my presidential activities on behalf of our members and our patients. 

Have a wonderful rest of the summer and stay safe!

Practice Support and Advocacy

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACOG has successfully advocated for expanded coverage for telehealth services, increased Medicaid coverage, financial relief for physician practices, and important state and federal liability protections.  

To build upon this work and to ensure the viability of obstetrics and gynecology practices, we are also assembling an advisory group of physicians representing a variety of practices to identify priority areas for our private payer advocacy. After sending out a request for volunteers in June, we selected a final roster of 11 members for the advisory group. Those who volunteered but are not part of the advisory group will be invited to aid in a more robust conversation regarding reimbursement issues. 

Improving Support for Women’s Health Research

The House Appropriations Committee last week advanced legislation to fund the Department of Health and Human Services for fiscal year 2021 and included a number of ACOG priorities, including language calling for increased investment in women’s health research at the NIH, a key ask at the 2020 Congressional Leadership Conference, the President’s Conference. While the timeline for Senate action remains unclear, the inclusion of the language in the House bill serves as a clear message to HHS and the NIH that Congress is paying attention and expects the agency to identify priority areas for additional study to advance women’s health. In addition to support for women’s health research, the bill also included ACOG priorities such as increased funding for state maternal mortality review committees and AIM; language directing HHS to report to Congress the specific steps taken to ensure that pregnancy status is included in COVID-19 data collection, documentation, and reporting; and continued funding for state maternal health innovation grants, among others. 

Supporting Clinical Care – Enhanced Recovery After Surgery 

ACOG has issued timely and comprehensive guidance for clinical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to COVID-19 specific guidance, ACOG continues to publish and update clinical information.  

During my Presidential term, I will work with Mark Genesen, MD and other experts across medical fields to identify opportunities to encourage widespread implementation of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery pathways.

Presidential Initiative – Personalized Women’s Care 

The Task Force on Personalized Women's Care has subdivided into three subgroups: one to identify areas to focus on and develop products, if not already available; one to focus on technology and tools to aid our members; and one to focus on implementation. 

Enhanced Collaboration 

ACOG CEO Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, FACOG, and I met with presidents and CEOs of ACGME-approved subspecialties to establish regular meetings aimed at enhanced opportunities in collaboration.

In addition, I joined ACOG leaders for a meeting with the leadership of Mexico’s Federación Mexicana de Colegios de Obstetricia y Ginecología and Canada’s Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to define areas of common interests and collaboration. 

Please Join Me: Town Halls

Because the in-person Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting and the Annual District Meetings were cancelled, I have been looking for other ways to interact with our membership. I am working with ACOG districts allow for updates from the national office and Q and A sessions with members at some of the upcoming virtual ADMs. I look forward to speaking with you!

I want to hear from you, our members, about your needs and how ACOG can serve you.  Please feel free to email me at president@acog.org with any feedback or perspectives.