December 03, 2020
ASA Applauds Introduction of Legislation Recognizing the Risk and Work of Anesthesiologists and Critical Care Physicians During COVID-19
On November 17, Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA-5) introduced ASA-endorsed legislation, H.R. 8756, the COVID Health Care Provider Assurance Act of 2020, which would ensure adequate and accurate payment under the Medicare program for physicians who provide care for patients during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The bill, which was conceptualized with ASA input, aims to compensate physician anesthesiologists and critical care physicians for the hazards and additional work involved in the care of COVID-19 patients.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES), a milestone national COVID relief law, was passed by Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. The law included over $2 billion in funding for economic and public health relief. Among the provisions included in the CARES Act were Medicare hospital payment enhancements which granted hospitals a 20% add-on payment for their treatment of Medicare COVID patients. The payment add-on was reserved only for hospitals. The law included no additional payment for frontline physicians who care for Medicare COVID patients.
In response, ASA has advocated for Congress to recognize the role of physician anesthesiologists and other health care professionals who are on the front lines of our nation’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and at a significant increased personal risk of infection while providing critical care and anesthesia services. The COVID Health Care Provider Assurance Act was originally described as “CCASPR” and included as a key advocacy issue during this year’s Legislative Conference, when ASA members were encouraged to express support for this source of economic support for physician practices. ASA does not expect H.R. 8756 to advance in the closing days of the 116th Congress but will be considered by policymakers as discussions about the next round of COVID relief legislation take place.
ASA strongly thanks Representative Riggleman for introducing the COVID Health Care Provider Assurance Act of 2020 and urges Congress to include provisions of this legislation in future COVID relief bills.