ALERT: Opportunity to Help ALL patients access Direct Care with latest Coronavirus aid bill

Update 3/22/2020: It appears that the flawed language has been removed from consideration! Now it is time to ask the Senate to ADD good language from S. 3112, the Personalized Care Act.

Please contact your Senators ASAP with the following request: Please include S. 3112, the Personalized Care Act in the upcoming bill to address the Coronavirus epidemic. Allow all patients to use Health Savings Accounts for direct care arrangements with their trusted doctors, without unnecessary red tape and limits on patients’ options.

Phone numbers for all Senators and the email addresses of their healthcare legislative staff can be found at: bit.ly/senfull2020

Empowering patients to access low cost, high quality medical care, from independent physicians is more urgent than ever!


Tell Congress to Remove Flawed Direct Primary Care Language from Emergency Legislation

Dear AAPS Members and Friends,

Earlier this week we alerted you to provisions in the House coronavirus relief bill that are harmful to small medical practices and all small businesses.  The bill was made slightly less bad before it ultimately passed and was signed by the President.

You can read more about the changes and impact for small businesses here:

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/senate-to-vote-soon-on-coronavirus-paid-leave-mandate.aspx

Now the Senate is working on a third bill related to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. 

A 247-page draft of the bill is now online here:
https://www.republicanleader.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CARES%20Act%20Final%20-%20Mar%202020.pdf

It has a number of health policy related items tucked into it, for instance a temporary suspension of Medicare sequestration payment reductions.  It also has provisions easing FDA regulations that may impede timely care, and requires that “each provider of a diagnostic test for COVID-19 shall make public the cash price for such test on a public internet website of such provider.”

One immediate concern about the latest bill is that it contains flawed language (Sec. 4403) intended to fix the incompatibility of Health Savings Accounts and Direct Primary Care caused by current IRS law and policy.

A solution for this problem is needed, but the Senate language mirrors problematic policies from past versions of related legislation.

For instance:

1. The bill caps patients’ “aggregate” direct primary care fees at $150/month. Most DPC fees are well under that amount but imposing price controls on care paid for from HSAs would be a dangerous precedent.  And the cap also limits the flexibility of physicians and patients to tailor agreements based on individual patient needs. 

2. The bill limits DPC agreements to “primary care practitioners as defined in section 1833(x)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act.” It also imposes other limits on the types of care that can be included in agreements. These limitations are unwise and also improperly limits the options of patients and physicians.

3. The bill adds DPC to the the section of IRS code that lists types of insurance eligible for payment from HSAs. Labeling DPC as a type of insurance, or type of coverage, is not the right way to correct the flaws in the IRS code and increases the risk of overregulation of innovative DPC practices.

Here’s what you can do:

1) Ask your Senators to remove Section 4403:

Please call your Senators ASAP and ask them to“Remove Sec. 4403 from the 3rd coronavirus bill and replace it with S. 3112, the Personalized Care Act.  Sec. 4403 overregulates innovative direct care arrangements that are increasing patient access to low cost, high quality medical care. This flawed language will do more harm than good. Congress instead should enact S. 3112 and allow all patients to use Health Savings Accounts for direct care arrangements without unnecessary limits on patients’ options.”  

You can find your Senators’ phone numbers at: 
https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

2) Next call your House members and tell them the same thing!

Contact info at https://www.house.gov/representatives or Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121

3) Finally call President Trump to warn him about this bad provision and ask him to demand Congress remove it:

White House Phone #:  (202) 456-1111.

White House Contact Form: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Please share this alert and encourage others to call. Thank you!

LabCorp and Quest Announce Availability of COVID-19 Testing

Quest Announces: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing now available

As the world leader in diagnostic information services, Quest Diagnostics is committed to fast action on emerging health threats for which laboratory testing can provide critical insights aiding response.  Quest Diagnostics is now able to receive COVID-19 specimens and perform testing. The Quest Diagnostics test for COVID-19 is now available nationally. Patients should be prioritized for testing of COVID-19 if they meet the CDC criteria, including those who may have been exposed to the virus or had contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, who show signs and symptoms (eg, fever, cough, difficulty breathing), or who live in or recently traveled to a place where transmission of COVID-19 is prevalent.

Details: ‬‪https://www.questdiagnostics.com/home/Covid-19/

LabCorp Announces: The LabCorp 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), NAA test is available for ordering by physicians or other authorized healthcare providers anywhere in the U.S.

LabCorp continues to perform its 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) test and to increase test capacity for patients who should be tested. We are working closely with the CDC, FDA and others on a swift response to address this public health crisis. Our team is proud to play an important role as part of an industry consortium that is working every day to meet the growing demand for national testing. Our utmost concern is for the safety of the public, patients, healthcare service providers, and our employees. LabCorp is now able to perform several thousand tests per day and is rapidly adding new equipment and staff to create additional capacity. We continue reviewing all opportunities to expand testing at LabCorp lab facilities across the country.

The LabCorp 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), NAA test is available for ordering by physicians or other authorized healthcare providers anywhere in the U.S.

Details: https://www.labcorp.com/tests/139900/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-naa