Associations representing U.S. health insurers and healthcare providers on Thursday asked Vice President Mike Pence and
Congressional leaders to further reduce regulatory restrictions and step up additional emergency efforts to help them work to treat the
Coronavirus outbreak in the country more effectively.
The number of U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 11,000 on Thursday, despite more restrictions on businesses and communities
across the country, as testing increased in several jurisdictions. The COVID-19 death toll in the United States crossed 150.
The rise ininfections has healthcare professionals and insurers worried about coping with the surge in demand.
“It is absolutely essential for a coordinated government response to leverage the full force of the President’s national emergency declaration. Specifically, we recommend … mission-critical, time-sensitive actions to ensure that necessary resources are delivered to the communities most in need,” the health insurer and provider groups said in a letter to Pence and other leaders of Congress.
The groups have asked for a significant strengthening of existing capacity to treat patients while also facilitating quick construction of alternate areas to treat patients as hospital beds fill. “This includes modifying existing facilities in and around hospitals, quickly constructing temporary units where needed, making use of surplus government property, and increasing patient beds to prioritize critical patient needs,” they said.
They have also urged more relaxation to regulations to allow providers to work at top of license, practice across state lines and remove restrictions that limit in-home care when hospitals are not required, among others, to reduce the burden on the acute-care network.
The federal government has also been asked to “expeditiously move to spur massive, increased production, distribution, and access” to protective gear such as gowns, masks, gloves, testing kits, testing swabs, and respiratory machines.
Besides health insurers, the letter was co-signed by healthcare groups representing doctors, hospitals, nurses, specialty and post-acute facilities, clinical laboratories, biopharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and distributors.
Healthcare providers ask for $100 billion
Associations representing hospitals, physicians and nurses have asked Congress for $100 billion to address expenses related to theunexpected COVID-19 outbreak, as more personnel are required.
“There have been critical developments in several states that have revealed the seriousness of the funding need. Due to expenses to treat COVID–#19 patients, hospitals are currently losing up to $1 million per day. This loss may increase as the outbreak spreads,” a joint statement by the American Hospitals Association, American Medical Association, and American Nurses Association said.
The groups said healthcare providers have had to make “extraordinary efforts” to supply needed equipment. There is also a shortage of healthcare personnel due to lack of childcare and closure of schools and hospitals need help providing childcare for their staff members so they can come to work.
Besides, efforts to maintain supplies and inpatient beds have resulted in the postponement of surgeries that are not critical, resulting in financial hardship for many hospitals and physician practices. “Some facilities and practices are able to absorb significant losses for a period of time but others, such as rural facilities, are not”, they said.