Direct and Coalition-Based Advocacy Embraced During National Pandemic
Since the beginning of March, agilon health has initiated or signed onto four letters urging Congress, HHS and CMS to take steps to protect the viability and longevity of independent physician practices during the COVID19 emergency. Furthermore, Ron Kuerbitz, CEO of agilon health has directly engaged with the Assistant Secretary of HHS and has provided a view into the increasingly precarious financial position of our practices in an effort to spur the government to take quick action.
The tenets of the advocacy campaign have included:
- Low/no interest loans and stipends to sustain independent physician practices
- Parity for telehealth visits, in terms of payment and risk adjustment
- Stoploss protection for physician-affiliated risk bearing entities
- Relief for providers engaged in MSSP ACOs, CPC+ and other risk programs; exceptions for all quality programs, including Medicare Advantage
It’s been rewarding to see the administration respond to our advocacy efforts. The government is making funds available for physician practices through grants, loans and accelerated Medicare payments. Telehealth visits are now reimbursed at the same rate as in-person visits. The Medicare Advantage Star program cut points can be adjusted for poorer performance during 2020.
Advocacy efforts continue, with the primary focus on positioning our partners to access the funds earmarked for the $100B Public Health & Social Security Emergency Fund that is being administered by HHS. To that end, agilon health enabled 17 partner practices to submit letters to their congressional leaders and HHS with detailed information on the impact COVID19 has had to their practice visit volumes and ability to keep their staff employed.