The new fund will help family physicians to continue serving their community during the pandemic.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation has announced a new COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, according to a news release.
The release says that the money raised for the emergency fund will go toward improving family physicians’ ability to continue to provide safe, high-quality care to their patients both during the global pandemic and into the future.
"Donors and supporters have reached out to the Foundation, asking how they can help," AAFP Foundation President Julie Anderson, MD, says in the release. "Donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund can be designated to support specific Foundation programs or be applied to meet the most pressing needs of family physicians working on the front lines."
According to a recent survey from Piper Sandler, physicians in the states hit hardest by the coronavirus saw a 65 percent reduction in patient volume in the final weeks of March, with a continued reduction of 65 percent expected for the end of April, due to guidance recommending the cancellation or rescheduling of non-essential visits and elective procedures. The survey also found a large increase in the usage of telehealth options as a means to shore up some of the lost revenue and continue caring for patients.
The AAFP Foundation emergency fund may be able to help some practices adopt telehealth options, according to the release.
"We already see a clear need to support and enhance efforts by the AAFP to expand telemedicine services to small, independent and rural practices that lack the resources to implement this important service for patients," Anderson says.
The relief fund is part of a multipronged response to the ongoing pandemic that also includes emergency grants of $1,000 each to 49 free clinics across the country that have received grants from Family Medicine Cares, the AAFP’s humanitarian program, to purchase durable and non-durable equipment or assist with operating expenses, the release says.
Donations to the fund are currently being accepted and can be earmarked for specific areas such as Family Medicine Cares USA or telemedicine support, or to the greatest need at the time, the release says.
Donations can be made here.