• Family Physicians Support Bi-partisan Year-end Legislation That Provides COVID-19 Relief and Maintains Investments in Primary Care

    Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020

    Statement attributable to:
    Ada D. Stewart, MD
    American Academy of Family Physicians

    “The American Academy of Family Physicians applauds the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.R. 133). This package includes funding to support critical public health programs and $900 billion in new COVID-19 relief – funding that is critical to support the millions of Americans and businesses struggling to make ends meet due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This legislation makes important investments in COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution and provides additional funding for testing and tracing that are critical to getting the virus under control. Under the legislation, family physicians will see increased payments due to a rise in funding levels that account for the negative impact COVID-19 has had on primary care practices.

    “In addition, Congress is making substantial investments in the future primary care workforce through a long-term extension of the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education and rural training programs. We also applaud the inclusion of provisions that will allow hospitals, previously deemed ineligible, a new opportunity to start residency training programs. These policies will provide much-needed investments in the training of the primary care physician workforce.

    “While the AAFP applauds the passage of this legislation and recognizes the tremendous positive impact it will have on individuals, families and the country as a whole, we are disappointed that, in the closing hours of negotiations, some members of Congress successfully secured provisions that will further decrease funding to our already underfunded primary care infrastructure. The AAFP is dismayed by any action that would deliberately remove primary care financing provisions that stood to improve the health of millions of people.  
    “This agreement sets the stage for future conversations around the value of primary care. We look forward to working with the 117th Congress and the Biden administration to make sure that primary care is appropriately valued and resourced for the foundational role it plays in our health care system.”

    Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Stewart, contact Megan Moriarty, 800-274-2237, Ext. 6052, or mmoriarty@aafp.org.



    About American Academy of Family Physicians
    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 130,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest 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 and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.