April 2, 2020 / Dr. Farzad Mostashari
Last month, the newly designated CEO of the American Academy of Family Physicians issued a dire warning in a single tweet. “The front lines are crumbling,” he wrote. He was talking about the tens of thousands of small primary-care practices across the country. These small businesses, he noted, staples of their communities for decades, desperately “need money for supplies and operations” amid the COVID-19 crisis.
On March 27, President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion-plus stimulus bill into law. The package provides $290 billion for individual and family payments, more than $25 billion to passenger airlines, $12 billion for housing assistance, but zero funding specifically dedicated to independent medical practices that are on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, and on the verge of going out of business.
By all accounts, we are merely in the opening salvo of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., and already our defenses are falling apart. Many thousands of Americans rely on independent family physicians, and if we do not act boldly and quickly to save them, we risk eviscerating the heart and soul of healthcare in communities nationwide.