WASHINGTON, D.C.—As the nation braces for a widespread outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, today the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) sent Congress and other policymakers a series of key policy changes necessary to mitigate the impact and spread of the virus in the U.S.
ACEP’s recommendations center around three main objectives: providing access to care for those infected or suspected infected; securing an adequate health care workforce; and ensuring adequate resource allocation. Among the specific policy changes, ACEP recommends:
- Implementing alternative testing centers for faster, more cost-effective testing while freeing up hospital capacity for those who need it most and allowing those who test positive to self-quarantine;
- Ensuring full coverage of testing and diagnosis by payers without patient cost-sharing;
- Prioritizing availability of personal protective equipment for emergency workers and other frontline personnel responding to the outbreak;
- Ensuring the production of medications and supplies relevant to COVID-19 is prioritized and that they are distributed directly to needed sites of care; and
- Increasing transparency of the supply chain for these products to better identify and proactively address potential shortages.
As anticipation grows for more widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in the U.S., emergency physicians are on the frontlines of caring for those affected. As the national medical society representing emergency medicine, ACEP is the preeminent source for clinical, advocacy and emergency patient guidance. ACEP is producing a series of resources and checklists for emergency departments and the public to keep our health care workers and patients safe. You can visit www.acep.org/coronavirus for ACEP’s policy recommendations and the latest clinical guidance for emergency care teams.