As we enter the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, I know that so many of you are, like me, doing your best to continue doing your job, take care of patients, protect yourself and your colleagues and keep your doors open. Whether you’re a primary care pediatrician, a surgeon or a subspecialist, this pandemic has hit our profession hard.
This is why I am so proud to share that yesterday, the AAP reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with a bold, urgent and needed request: immediately distribute relief grants to pediatricians to help us stay open.
Our letter to HHS outlines the details, but we are asking for immediate financial relief through no-strings federal grants to general pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists or pediatric surgical specialists. This money would be a flat amount sent directly to individuals, whether you care for children on Medicaid or not and no matter your practice setting.
We recognize that this is just one small part of what you need to keep your doors open, but it’s an important part that we hope can make a meaningful impact. While we don’t know exactly when an announcement will be made, AAP leaders spoke with HHS yesterday to discuss this proposal and we are confident our views are being taken seriously.
And that’s not all we’re fighting for right now. We are also urging Congress and the Administration to offer stronger support for Medicaid, including more federal funding to states, payment rates at parity with Medicare, expanded eligibility, retention payments to physicians, and other policies to protect and improve Medicaid during this crisis. Take a look at our comprehensive summary of COVID-19 related federal and state advocacy activities.
Many of you are facing difficult, even unimaginable, financial challenges right now. I know many of you, like me, have had to furlough staff, reassure worried parents or make difficult diagnoses through telemedicine. We are all worried about the toll of missed pediatric appointments on short- and long-term child health. Some of us have colleagues or family members in critical condition with COVID-19. Some of us fear exposing our loved ones to the virus when we come home each day.
These are trying times, and while I cannot say for certain how or when they will end, I can tell you that we will get through it the way we always do, with our eyes on the children and our arms (virtually) around one another.
Sally Goza, MD, FAAP