Free2Care Coalition Asks 10 COVID19 Stimulus Priorities
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We are living in unparalleled times. All that we have known and come to rely upon as a society has been indelibly altered. We are confident that brilliant medical experts across the globe will find a resolution for the COVID19 pandemic. Just as this virus has tested our limits as physicians, patients, healthcare systems, citizens, families and governing bodies, it has also alerted our nation to the vast deficiencies in our current capabilities. We have reached previously unknown limits regarding safety, liberty and transparently delivered medical care.
The very fragile nature of our corporatized Healthcare system, layered in both government and corporate obstacles to patient care, has been cracked open and is visibly lacking. These glaring deficits must be immediately rectified or we will never survive further insult. We must keep our society healthy and moving forward. Unprecedented alliances with those who work on the front lines must be forged and steps must be taken now to heal the American Healthcare System. Without immediate intervention, including transparency and policy change, we will be unable to proceed in any fashion similar to that of times prior to the pandemic.
For these reasons, more than 3 million physicians, medical care experts, and patients have joined together, in a grassroots coalition named FreeToCare, to present real solutions. We implore you to include these 10 priorities in the 4th stimulus bill for the COVID 19 pandemic. These simple nonpartisan elemental changes can result in a more prepared and functional system. We ask:
1. Congress shall translate into codified law the “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First Executive Order” of 2019. (Give patients transparency for their medical care costs)
2. Congress shall create transparency in training of all clinicians by adopting H.R. 1427 the “Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act” and by Requiring States to provide Board of Medicine oversight to all those whose scope of practice meets the definition of the State’s practice of medicine. (Give patients transparency in clinician training)
3. Create transparency for all group purchasing organizations (GPOs). Contracts and payments must be transparent in light of vast shortages of PPE, medications, and medical devices. Strike “physician owned” before “group purchasing organizations” under the “Physician Payment Sunshine Act”. (Transparency in negotiated contracts for medication and supplies at all levels).
4. Congress must subscribe to “Sunshine for All”. Create and promote transparency in all segments of the supply chain from pharmaceutical/medical device companies all the way to the consumer with regard to their pricing and contracts. (Give patients choice and competition for their medications, hearing aids, pacemakers, etc.)
5. Reform Health Saving Accounts (HSAs) to expand utilization for patients. (Give patients control over their own money)
6. Congress shall pass H.R. 856 the “Physician Pro Bono Care Act of 2019” to allow physicians to improve care for those in rural communities and recipients of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). (Physicians should be able to donate care and services to all patients)
7. Congress must pass legislation that allows privacy and agency of patients’ own records and physicians’ credentials. Congress must translate into law the March 2020 HHS Health IT Interoperability rules. (Patients and physicians own their information and records)
8. Surprise Billing legislation must promote pure arbitration without benchmarking and price-fixing of any kind. (No benchmarking when resolving the Surprise Billing issue)
9. Repeal the moratorium prohibiting physicians from owning hospitals. Congress must pass into law H.R. 3062 the “Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2019” (We must allow physician-owned hospitals again)
10. Protect all physicians and medical professionals from unnecessary litigation during the emergency period. Apply the The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act Declaration to the March 27, 2020 CARES Act section 3215. (Protect healthcare clinicians from predatory and frivolous lawsuits during the COVID19 Pandemic and recovery)
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