AAFP Joins Four Other Medical Organizations Calling on Congress to Fully Fund Response to Zika

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 26, 2016

Leslie Champlin
Senior Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The American Academy of Family Physicians joined three other medical organizations calling on the leaders of Congress to immediately pass legislation that would provide the greatest possible amount of funding for research, prevention, control and treatment of Zika.

Despite congressional work on the Zika issue, little progress has been made on appropriating funds that are “necessary to fully and robustly respond to the Zika virus,” the letter says. “It’s imperative that the House and Senate reach an agreement without further delay.”

Legislation to fund a national response to the Zika virus has come to a virtual standstill over the source of funding. A bill passed by the U.S. Senate would provide $1.1 billion in new money to pay for the research, vaccine development and public health response to the virus. The U.S. House bill would provide $622 million.

However, that funding should not come at the expense of other equally vital and important health initiatives, according to the letter.

“We urge, therefore, that you and all members of Congress—without delay—enact legislation that would provide the highest funding level possible that is commensurate with the seriousness of this public health threat caused by the Zika virus,” it concludes.

The AAFP joined the American College of Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics in signing the letter. The most recent communication is among several other congressional communications about Zika. In April, the AAFP joined 67 other medical organizations to urge new emergency funding to fight the virus. A second joint letter was sent to members of the Senate on May 13.

Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).