MSDC and Partner Associations Send Mayor Letter on Physician Grants

Nov 30, 2020, 10:05 AM by MSDC Staff
MSDC and six other physician associations ask the District for PPE purchasing pools and operational grants during the public health emergency.

Today, MSDC and six other local physician associations sent Mayor Muriel Bowser a letter advocating for financial support for physician practices.

As a follow-up to testimony before the District Council and previous outreach, the letter (see below) outlines the major financial challenges physician practices experience during COVID-19. In light of the District's new grant program for small businesses, the associations listed below ask for similar relief: dedicated PPE purchasing opportunities and grant programs specifically for medical practices. The letter also notes that physician practices are major economic drivers, creating more than 21,000 jobs annually pre-COVID.

November 30, 2020
The Honorable Muriel Bowser
Mayor, District of Columbia
The John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mayor Bowser – 

We, the below medical associations, write today to urge you to ensure the health of medicine in the District. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all health care providers, but local physician practices face unique challenges in continuing serving patients in this environment. 

After the District moved into Phase 2, physician offices became more fully “open” and able to see some patients in person. However, volumes are down due to limited capacity to see patients, including the need for social distancing. Expenses have also risen due to increased PPE needs, increased cleaning costs, and in some cases increased staffing costs. 

Practices, already vulnerable due to the ongoing pandemic, will be forced to close under the pressure of rising cases. A recent Physicians Foundation survey of physicians nationwide found that 8% of respondents have already closed their practices, and that number is expected to increase as the months under this pandemic continue. Closed physician practices mean overwhelmed hospitals and fewer local healthcare options for residents.

Physicians are instrumental part of the District’s economy.  Before the pandemic, physicians in the District of Columbia directly supported 21,550 jobs, generating $3.4 billion in direct wages and benefits. Investing in the financial solvency of physician practices now is essential to the long-term health of our city, ensuring that necessary health care remains available in communities after the pandemic has subsided.

Our associations offer the following recommendations for your Administration to address these issues:

  1. Make available additional grant funding to help support practices that are doing poorly financially due to the pandemic
  2. Increase and name specific grants to medical practices to reimburse for PPE costs, especially with DC Health’s PPE requirements.
  3. Help small practices to purchase PPE through group ordering (specifically N95 masks that small practices cannot access due to low volume of order)

We thank you for your support of District medicine and urge you to address these issues immediately. Failure to do so will endanger the District’s diverse network on practices serving residents.

Medical Society of the District of Columbia
American Academy of Pediatrics, DC Chapter 
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District of Columbia Section
DC Academy of Family Physicians
Maryland/DC Society of Clinical Oncology
The Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia (MedChiDC)
Washington Psychiatric Society