The AUA joined the Alliance of Specialty Medicine (ASM) in responding to a Request for Information (RFI) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding an initiative to strengthen primary health care. The AUA and the Alliance of Specialty Medicine included information on the role of specialists in primary care, making COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities permanent, supporting the physician workforce and improving the Medicare payment system. A copy of the letter is attached.
The letter urges HHS to support the partnership between primary and specialty care, particularly as it relates to ensuring continuity of care. The AUA and ASM urge HHS to consider requiring federally regulated health plans to expand their networks and establish network adequacy standards to increase access for patients in need of specialty care. Narrow-network provider plans hinder effective coordinated care and limit specialty and subspecialty physicians available for physician referrals.
The letter also:
- Urges HHS to work with Congress to establish permanency for many telehealth flexibilities authorized during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Urges HHS to work with state Medicaid programs and private payers to adopt policies similar to that of traditional Medicare and reimburse providers at the same rate as face-to-face services.
- Urges support of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 834/H.R. 2256) to address workforce shortages in specialty care by improving the Graduate Medical Education system and increasing Medicare-supported residency slots.
- Calls for stabilized Medicare physician payments and improvements to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) to offer more clinically relevant participation pathways for specialists.
The Alliance of Specialty Medicine represents more than 100,000 specialty physicians across 15 specialty and subspecialty societies. The AUA is a foundational member of the Alliance and works to align specialty physicians on issue important to urology.