Coronavirus response: AAFP details four policies to assist primary care physicians

March 17, 2020

The AAFP detailed their policy recommendations to the Coronavirus Task Force ahead of a meeting set for Wednesday.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) outlined four ways to support primary care physicians as they take on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that is bringing the world to a halt.

The AAFP's recommendations were released in a letter to the Coronavirus Task Force ahead of a planned meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

"Family physicians are putting their lives on the line for their patients in nearly every community in our country," the letter reads. "We are resolved and resolute in our dedication, but need assistance.”

The four recommendations detailed in the letter are:

  • Identify ways to secure and distribute personal protective equipment to frontline physicians. This issue needs to be of the highest priority for the manufacturers, distributors and the Administration, as the lack of PPE for health care providers is directly contributing to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

  • Ensure that as COVID-19 tests become available, there is a coordinated plan to distribute those tests equitably to all practice sites and that testing is made available to physician practices in rural and smaller settings whose patients are similarly in need. Most patients will seek care from their local physicians, and it would be a huge mistake to prioritize distribution of test kits to hospitals and large retail settings only.

  • Establish a grant program that would extend financing to solo/small group primary care practices for the purposes of implementing telemedicine technology in their practices, and prioritize those practices that are independent and located in rural or other underserved communities. Telemedicine has been identified as priority strategy for approaching the screening and triaging of patients who believe they are infected with the COVID-19 virus.

  • Work with Congress to secure reauthorization and funding for the Community Health Center Program and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program. This emerging public health crisis has underscored the damages incurred by the historic underfunding of our primary care and public health infrastructure. These two programs are rising to meet the needs of communities struggling with this pandemic.

For more coverage of the Coronavirus outbreak, click here.