April 10, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Alex Azar Sr. on Monday, April 6, 2020. Dr. Azar practiced ophthalmology on the Eastern Shore for over 40 years and taught medical students at Johns Hopkins for 20. He received the Allan D. Jensen Part-Time Faculty Teaching award in 2011, nominated for the award by medical students attending the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Azar was also Board Certified in Preventive Medicine and is listed in the guide to America's Top Ophthalmologists. He was the first health care professional appointed to the Maryland Health Care Access and Cost Commission by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

He served as president of the MedChi, Maryland State Medical Society, 1996-1997 and was on the board of directors of The Center for a Healthy Maryland, the board of the local YMCA, the TLC board and the board of the Wicomico Humane Society and the board of Horizons at The Salisbury School. He was also active in the Greater Salisbury Committee and was a 32nd degree Mason.

Dr. Azar’s son, Alex Azar II, is currently the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017.

Azar is preceded in death by his wife, Wilma, and survived by his children, Alex Azar II and Stacy Azar Dunne, as well as multiple grandchildren.

Check the AAO and MedChi websites for the most current information. For archived versions of these updates visit the MSEPS website.

Stay Safe & Healthy
Renee Bovelle, MD
MSEPS President
Dear MedChi Members and Maryland Physicians:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today the immediate disbursement of $30 billion to hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers. This disbursement is the first installment of the $100 billion allocated by Congress for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security (CARES) Act. 

Earlier this week, MedChi joined with the American Medical Association and 136 other medical societies  to call for the immediate disbursement of funds to health care providers  . We are grateful to HHS for answering our call for support.

The disbursements are calculated in direct proportion to health care providers’ total amount of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) spending in 2019. All facilities and health professionals that billed Medicare FFS in 2019 are eligible for the funds. These funds are grants that do not have to be repaid. Within 30 days of receiving the payment, providers must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment. The portal for signing the attestation will be open the week of April 13, 2020 and will be linked from     hhs.gov/providerrelief  .   

MedChi will continue to advocate for economic relief for physicians and health care facilities. We have been promised an announcement from CareFirst, Maryland’s largest carrier, sometime in the next week. We applaud  Medical Mutual’s pandemic credit and payment date extension  announced earlier this week. And we continue to pressure Medicaid for additional relief.

If you need assistance with economic and business issues, please reach out to MedChi today. We can help answer questions on  federal and state loans and grants  and help you to understand your options in this difficult time. Our COVID-19 Resource Center includes  business resources  .

Gene Ransom
MedChi CEO
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**As of 5 p.m. on April 6, Commerce is no longer accepting new applications for its COVID-19 Relief Grant and Loan Programs.**

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