Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society supports the HEROES Act

Massachusetts Medical Society supports the HEROES Act

The Massachusetts Medical Society commends the members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation for their leadership on H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, and provides our strong support for the legislation.

Massachusetts physicians are facing grave challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physicians are finding it difficult to obtain essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment. The necessary stay-at-home orders, coupled with our patients’ fear of exposure to the virus, has led to physician practices seeing enormous reductions—up to 80-90%—in patient volume and revenue. As a result, physicians are worried they will have to shut their practices, which would reduce the care available to our patients immediately and after this crisis subsides.

The HEROES Act includes several provisions that would address these issues and will be critical for the Commonwealth’s medical community as we combat existing and ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. Our patients will have better access to care by the expansion of health care coverage, cost-sharing waivers, and broadband access. At-risk populations would be supported through provisions stipulating better demographic data, funding for mental and behavioral health, and support for programs addressing domestic violence and child maltreatment. Physicians would receive financial relief necessary to keep their doors open through student loan forgiveness and other direct funding, grants, and loans.

The legislation also includes beneficial relief for states, like financial support and increased Medicaid funding, that will help states meet their responsibilities on the forefront of this crisis. The bill’s provisions to bolster production and distribution of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies and improved testing and contact tracing programs will be critical as we move forward.

Again, we thank Massachusetts federal legislators for their work in ensuring protections for our patients and provisions for physicians are included in the next Congressional relief package. We will continue to work with Congress to provide relief for the medical community as it drafts subsequent legislation.

-Maryanne C. Bombaugh, MD, MSc, MBA, FACOG, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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