More than 850 osteopathic physicians, medical students and affiliate leaders came together at this year’s virtual DO Day on March 7 – 8 to enhance their advocacy and leadership skills and advocate for critical legislation that impacts the osteopathic profession and the patients they serve. After receiving training, many DO Day advocates met with their members of Congress to advocate for the following legislation and health policy:
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act
This legislation supports suicide prevention training in health professional training programs, increases awareness and education on suicide and mental health concerns among health care professionals, and helps support mental and behavioral health among those working on the frontlines of the pandemic.
The Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act
This bill helps alleviate the unrelenting fiscal demands of the pandemic by postponing a 2% cut to Medicare reimbursement for physicians during the public health emergency.
Additional Funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program
Advocates urged Congress to provide additional funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program (THCGME) in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Through your sustained advocacy engagement, we are pleased to announce that your efforts paid off. Congress included $330 million in additional funding for the THCGME program in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that was signed into law on Thursday, March 11.
Though our efforts should be celebrated, Congress has yet to act on the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act or the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act and we need you to contact your lawmakers.
Tell Congress to Address Physician Burnout
Physicians experience the highest suicide rate of any profession in the United States and COVID-19 has exacerbated the stress and burnout that have been a longstanding challenge for the medical profession. The burden of losing both patients and colleagues, operating in conditions previously considered unfathomable, and managing the stress of potentially transmitting a deadly virus to family and friends are challenges that anyone would need help with. Congress has an obligation and an opportunity to provide the healthcare workforce with the support it needs and deserves.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Providers Act, named for an emergency physician who died from suicide after dealing with the stress of treating COVID-19 patients, would help address physician burnout by funding new programs to study the issue and train health care professionals in evidence-based strategies to reduce burnout. Using our Advocacy Action Center, write and Tweet your members of Congress and tell them to co-sponsor and support the passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (S. 610) today!
Tell Congress to Address Cuts to Physician Reimbursement
Payments to physicians for Medicare claims will be cut by 2% after March 31 if Congress does not act to stop it. As you know, the health care system continues to face a severe financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Osteopathic physicians around the nation, including many in rural and underserved areas, are struggling to keep their practices open due to increased expenses and reduced revenue resulting from the pandemic. Allowing an additional cut to physician reimbursement will only exacerbate the crisis. Using our Advocacy Action Center, write and Tweet your members of Congress and tell them to co-sponsor and urge the passage of legislation that would prevent cuts to Medicare payment!