The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on many small businesses nationwide – and that includes physician practices.
The just released Survey of America’s Physicians reveals the damage COVID-19 has done to physicians and how it has affected their patients. The survey is conducted biennially by SDAHO Enterprises endorsed business partner, Merritt Hawkins, on behalf of The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit seeking to advance the work of practicing physicians and help them facilitate the delivery of high-quality health care to patients. Begun in 2008, the survey is sent to hundreds of thousands of physicians nationwide.
Eight percent of physicians have closed their practices as a result of COVID-19, totaling approximately 16,000 practices, according to the survey. An additional four percent of physicians, about 8,000, plan to close their practices in the next 12 months.
A primary cause of these practice closures is financial. The majority of physicians (72 percent) have experienced a reduction in income over the last four months. Of these, 56 percent have seen reductions of 26 percent or more, which are not sustainable for more than a few months.
When physician practices close or patient volumes decrease, the ripple effect extends to hospitals. Merritt Hawkins’ data show that physicians, on average, generate $2.4 million in net revenue on behalf of their affiliated hospitals. Physicians are the economic engines of healthcare. When they slow down, the entire healthcare system slows down.
The majority of physicians surveyed believe that the pandemic will be long-lasting and will have significant effects on how physicians practice and how healthcare is delivered. Eighty-six percent believe that COVID-19 will not be under control until after January, 2021.
Other findings include:
- 43 percent of physicians have reduced their staffs as a result of COVID-19.
- 12 percent – approximately 100,000 physicians — have switched to a primarily telemedicine practice.
- 59 percent said the pandemic will result in fewer independent physician practices
- 50 percent said hospitals will exert more control over the organization and delivery of healthcare as a result of the pandemic.
- 59 percent said opening public places presents a greater risk to patients than prolonging social distancing.
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Senior Marketing Consultant
SDAHO Enterprise was developed to pursue valued services and increase non-dues revenue. Overall goals and objectives of providing revenue to supplement SDAHO strategies and providing support and benefit to members.