Bailey: Keep Up the Fight Until Pandemic Ends

Speaking to colleagues in her home state, American Medical Association (AMA) President Susan R. Bailey, MD, rallied the Texas Medical Association House of Delegates to stand behind and fight for their physician colleagues “until the last day” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bailey, a Fort Worth allergist/immunologist, addressed the house on Friday morning at TexMed 2021, praising physicians’ performance in the face of the pandemic and noting the hardships it has introduced for doctors everywhere. She also lauded a recent major win for medicine on national advocacy: legislation in Congress, signed by President Joe Biden in April, that extends the suspension of the Medicare sequestration cuts through the end of 2021. Those reductions, which have been delayed several times, would mean a 2% cut to physician payments.

“The AMA will continue working with our federation partners to offset additional payment cuts that hurt physicians at a time when we can least handle it,” Dr. Bailey said.

A recent AMA survey illustrated the financial toll COVID-19 has taken on doctors. In the survey, she noted, eight in 10 physicians said their revenue had dropped from the same point the year before. Telehealth played a critical role as a “lifeline” during the pandemic but didn’t fully offset doctors’ revenue losses, she added; 64% of physicians said they were spending more on personal protective equipment while also having difficulty acquiring it.

Dr. Bailey advocated for bringing “more physician practices into the fight” to end the pandemic. AMA believes access to COVID-19 vaccines for frontline physician practices should be expanded, she said, adding that vaccine rollout strategies thus far have overlooked far too many independent practices.

“Physicians play an important role as vaccine ambassadors for our patients,” she said. “And studies show that a strong recommendation from a doctor or health care professional is a key factor in encouraging vaccination. In short, if we trust it, our patients will trust it.”

Last Updated On

May 17, 2021

Originally Published On

May 17, 2021