February 23, 2021, 12:40 pm News Staff — In a Feb. 17 letter to President Joe Biden, the AAFP and its fellow frontline physician organizations delivered comprehensive recommendations advocating for robust vaccination efforts and improved health care coverage and availability during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Group of Six coalition — which also includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Psychiatric Association — called on the White House to focus on six high-priority issues.
Citing a January 2021 Primary Care Collaborative survey indicating that 89% of primary care clinicians intend to get vaccinated, the groups wrote, “It is essential that steps be taken immediately to ensure that primary care and other community-based physicians are prioritized and able to get vaccinated.”
The groups also called for community-based practices to be included in vaccine distribution plans, noting that 71% of medical practices last month reported they were unable to obtain COVID-19 vaccine for their patients. Continuity of care should in turn be maintained with policy ensuring that all vaccinators, including retail clinics and pharmacies, communicate with a patient’s primary care team.
To build and improve on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the groups urged that the administration follow its recent health care–related executive orders by
Noting that Medicaid affords essential health care coverage to more than 75 million Americans, the groups urged action beyond the recent executive order requiring agencies to identify unnecessary barriers to Medicaid or ACA coverage. The letter recommended that the White House, working with Congress,
“Immediate action is needed to address critical women’s health issues; reverse harmful women’s health policies; and advance policies that protect, enhance and promote the health of women and families across the country,” the letter said, noting that such steps remain important in safeguarding the physician-patient relationship. The groups advocated for
“Our nation is facing a significant shortage of primary care and mental health physicians,” the groups warned. To reinforce and diversify the health care workforce, the letter called on the administration, working with Congress, to
“It is critically important to put patient care first by reducing unnecessary administrative burden,” the groups wrote. Among the five actions the letter urged under this heading were calls to streamline or eliminate prior authorization and to reissue requests for information for a December 2020 CMS proposed rule that spanned a broad range of related policy proposals but was closed to public comment after less than 30 days.