San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

AMA Role and Activities in COVID-19 Response



The COVID-19 pandemic represents an enormous threat to public health and an extreme challenge to physicians. Now, more than ever, physicians need a powerful ally in patient care. The AMA’s COVID-19 response strategy provides a road map for our initiatives in an unprecedented pandemic scenario. The strategy frames the AMA’s response in three key areas:

 

  • Providing clear, evidence-based guidance from trusted resources, including JAMA Network, the CDC, WHO, state and local agencies and AMA subject matter experts.
  • Building an interface with physicians on the front line, allowing them to share their experience with other physicians, the government and key health agencies.
  • Removing obstacles to diagnosis and treatment through our Advocacy, CPT, PS2 and other initiatives.

 

We are acquiring many ideas and we filter them through the above three strategic channels (keeping in mind the overarching view of what it is the AMA does well). Since early January, we have closely monitored the global outbreak of COVID-19 and compiled up-to-the-moment information for physicians. Here are some examples of what we’ve done recently viewed through the lens of our COVID-19 response strategy:

 

 

  • Building an interface with physicians on the front lines
    • Speaking directly to power on behalf of physicians
    • Conversations and updates with our Federation partners and AMA Ambassadors
    • Learning from and sharing first-hand accounts of physicians on the front lines. Listen to JAMA Editor Howard Bauchner, MD interview Maurizio Cecconi, MD in Italy and NIAID’s Anthony Fauci, MD;  read how the Permanente Medical Group developed new approaches to preserve PPE. 
    • Listening to and answering questions from physicians on twitter, leveraging ambassadors to engage and spread the word, and will be conducting Twitter chats to answer physician questions and share experiences. 
    • Called on the Administration for $100 billion dollars to support front line health care personnel and providers.

 

  • Removing obstacles to diagnosis and treatment
    • AMA Head: Lack of protective gear for health care workers is ‘unacceptable’
    • AMA Calls on Administration to Use Every Lever to Address Protective Equipment Needs, Lack of Tests in COVID-19 Fight
    • Mobilizing a dramatic increase in the nation’s telemedicine capacity through its advocacy and publication of the Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice, a new resource to help physicians implement remote care.
    • Developed new CPT code for coronavirus.
    • Eased restrictions on the use of laboratory developed tests for COVID-19 testing to expand local access. 
    • Administration exercising flexibility in reducing regulatory burdens by allowing physicians to care for Medicare beneficiaries in States other than where they are licensed, waiving enrollment requirements and expediting enrollment, and waiving the requirement for Medicare patients for a 3-day hospitalization prior to covering skilled nursing facility care.  
    • Worked with HHS on the development of new recommendations for deferring non-urgent elective procedures that are consistent with recommendations of the American College of Surgeons. 

 

The AMA’s COVID-19 news and video coverage is promoted across the AMA website, email, Morning Rounds, all social platforms and Apple News. Since COVID-19 coverage began through March 18, nearly 390,000 users have consumed COVID-19 content from the AMA website, including nearly 17,000 clicks/referrals to JAMA and EdHub resources.

 

Resources

 

AMA Letters:

  • March 19 - Letter to Congressional Leaders re: urgent steps to help preserve viability of physician practices due to the demands of COVID-19.
  • March 18 - Letter to Seema Verma re: CPT code clarification in light of COVID-19 with remote physiologic monitoring and telephone evaluation and management.
  • March 16 - Letter to Michael Pence re: Request for assistance with shortage of personal protective equipment for health care professionals.
  • March 13 - Letter to Alex Azar re: Medicare assistance for solutions facing the nation with the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Sign-On Letters:

 

Press releases to date:

March 20:

 

March 19:

 

March 18:

 

March 17:

 

March 13:

 

March 10:

 

March 5:

 


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