The Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) is an advocacy organization comprised of the major national voluntary and professional societies concerned with digestive diseases. The DDNC’s mission is to work cooperatively to improve access to and the quality of digestive disease health care in order to promote the best possible medical outcome and quality of life for current and future patients.
With the current COVID-19 crisis impacting our nation, the DDNC wishes to provide helpful resources for our community, and to support effective policy measures during these trying times.
The CARES Act stimulus package includes provisions to support non-profit organizations such as emergency loan programs, summarized by the National Council of Nonprofits.
As Congress continues to pursue policies to address the coronavirus pandemic, the DDNC recommends that the following measures be put in place immediately to benefit our health care systems and patients during this crisis:
Protect Health Care Workers and Facilities
Increase funding for and access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so health care workers can provide care as safely as possible. This includes an urgent need to activate the Defense Production Act in order to provide adequate PPE for health workers and first responders on the front line in the battle against COVID-19.
Support hospitals, health care practices, ambulatory surgery centers, and other health care facilities that have been financially devastated by the crisis as they provide care to patients, including small businesses that are subject to increased costs associated with the care of COVID-19 patients and lack needed equipment such as PPE.
Bolster Continuity of Care
Require all public and private health insurance providers to temporarily suspend prior authorization and step therapy requirements.
Ensure health insurance is continued through the duration of this crisis for everyone financially impacted by the virus, including furloughed workers, the unemployed, and those otherwise unable to afford health insurance premiums.
Urge all public and private insurers to reimburse for telehealth at adequate levels.
Provide patients and providers with the flexibility to choose the site of the patient’s infusions based on their local resources, including by temporarily waiving site specific infusion authorization, providing temporary coverage for out of network infusions, and making it easier for patients to switch the delivery mechanism of their treatment from an infusion to a self-injectable if deemed medically appropriate by the patient and provider.
Limit patient cost-sharing for infusions, including home infusions, to ensure that the patient can afford their treatment.
Require all payers to allow the provision of an emergency supply of medications and medical supplies, such as ostomy supplies and catheters that patients rely on daily, by relaxing restrictions on the timing of refills and permitting amounts to at least the CDC-recommended extra 30-day supply standard to prevent disruption and ensure patient safety and health.
Invest in Emergency Preparedness
Invest in research and public health interventions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other agencies to ensure a vigorous federal pandemic team is in place both now and in the future.