Support for Community Based Medical Practices and Clinics
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
The Medical Society of New Jersey is requesting support for community based medical practices, facilities and clinics during the Emergency Order for COVID-19 response. Physician practices are under significant financial strain as they continue to provide routing medical care during the COVID-19 crisis. Maintaining access to necessary patient care is necessary to prevent existing health conditions to worsen thereby putting more strain on hospitals.
Keeping community based practices, care facilities, urgent care and clinics operating will provide more capacity at our severely stressed hospitals.
Virtual Visit Parity
All payers must pay for care delivered during a virtual visit at the same rate as an in person visit. The State of New Jersey and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have already taken this step. Self-funded ERISA plans must do the same.
Paying practices for care delivered virtually will accelerate the adoption of virtual care platforms and thereby increase social distancing while delivering necessary healthcare services to the community. Until more personal protective equipment becomes available, we should continue to support virtual visits.
Coverage expansion should be accomplished to cover services delivered by telemedicine, telephone or other remote means. Medical Liability carriers should post explicit guidance to their insureds to provide increased flexibility in delivering healthcare services remotely to both existing and new patients during the course of COVID-19 emergency declaration and for a reasonable time after its conclusion.
Ambulatory Care Facility Tax
New Jersey should defer the collection of the Ambulatory Care Facilities Tax for the remainder of 2020 and possibly beyond. This would allow non-hospital facilities to continue to fund operations, maintain staffing and to remain open and available to reduce pressure on hospitals. The Ambulatory Care Facilities tax is a substantial burden on operations as the centers reduce elective procedures.
Low Cost Loans
Low cost federal disaster loans are available to physician practices. NJ Small Business Development Center has links to various SBA COVID-19 forms.