COVID-19 and Federal Advocacy
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1. Where can I find the most recent information on COVID-19 relief legislative actions and other advocacy items?
2. What economic relief packages are currently available to our groups and practices?
- We are concerned both about anesthesiologist safety and protection as well as the financial implications that COVID-19 is having on anesthesia groups and practices. ASA Advocacy is working with Congress and the White House on appropriate aid and assistance to physicians. We are exploring legislative and regulatory avenues to provide much needed support.
- We have created a set of resources regarding economic relief for practices impacted by COVID-19. We realize that many practices and individuals are struggling financially as caseloads and patient populations have shifted. ASA Advocacy continues to seek economic relief via legislative and regulatory avenues for anesthesiologists and their groups.
3. What actions has ASA taken to advocate for anesthesiologists before the Administration?
The ASA has engaged the Biden Administration on a number of actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic:
- In January 2021, the ASA highlighted our members’ actions in leading and contributing to facility critical care services, deploying the well-established Anesthesia Caree Team led by Physician Anesthesiologists, maintaining essential surgical services, and finding local solutions to COVID-19 surges, patient care coordination and implementation of CDC guidelines.
- In March 2021, the ASA welcomed Xavier Becerra as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services and described our shared interest in addressing health equity and disparities, preserving Medicare beneficiary access to safe, high-quality anesthesia care, and supporting our frontline physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ASA has worked with other stakeholders to assist the Biden Administration’s implementation of the Executive Order on America’s Supply Chain to improve our supply chain and policy changes in the future.
In 2020, ASA worked with lawmakers and the Trump Administration to support anesthesiologists impacted by COVID-19, including sending several formal communications:
- ASA Urged Immediate Action to Secure PPE (PDF) in a Formal Letter to the Trump Administration
- ASA sent a correspondence to provide the FDA drug shortages team with additional information, sharing a comprehensive list of drugs that are of the most concern, including certain sedatives, opioids, neuromuscular blocking drugs, resuscitative drugs and reversal agents.
- ASA, along with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Hospital Association, Association for Clinical Oncology, and the American Medical Association, sent a communication to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting assistance with increased demand of controlled substances (PDF) (CII) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after, DEA announced it was increasing Aggregate Production Quotas available to pharmaceutical manufactuerers for the production of controlled substance medications.
- ASA President Mary Dale Peterson, M.D., MHA, FACHE, FASA, sent a communication to the White House formalizing key ASA recommendations to address top health concerns for anesthesiologists (PDF).
- ASA worked with Congress to ensure drug shortage provisions from legislation supported by ASA, the MEDS Act, were included in the March 2020 COVID relief package, the CARES Act.
- ASA received recognition that the work anesthesiologists completed in response to COVID-19 could be used as Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Improvement Activities.
4. What is the position of the ASA on the Strategic National Stockpile?
5. Does the ASA have any information on residents’ pay or student loan forbearance?
- We encourage residents to check with their individual lender. Information regarding loan forbearance can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.
6. Does ASA have any guidance about conserving drugs when faced with increased demand and imminent shortages?
- The ASA has been engaged with the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies, as well as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists on reducing medical waste. Physicians should also consider the ASA Committee on Critical Care Medicine recommendations for COVID-19 during times of drug shortages.
7. What priorities does ASA have for the 117th Congress related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic?
- The ASA continues to be engaged with Congress on a number of issues addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and response. Maintaining physician-led care, ensuring appropriate payment for physician anesthesiologists, and engaging Congresspersons on the equipment that front-line healthcare workers need (including access to personal protective equipment) to protect themselves, preserve patient safety, and treat COVID-19 patients are some of the priorites for 2021.
Viewers of this material should review these FAQs with appropriate medical and legal counsel and make their own determinations as to relevance to their particular practice setting and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. The ASA has used its best efforts to provide accurate information. However, this material is provided only for informational purposes and does not constitute medical or legal advice. This response also should not be construed as representing ASA policy (unless otherwise stated), making clinical recommendations, dictating payment policy, or substituting for the judgment of a physician and consultation with independent legal counsel.