Blog | Physician Relationships

COVID-19-induced revenue issues and staffing challenges causing some PCP practices to close their doors

Blog | Physician Relationships

COVID-19-induced revenue issues and staffing challenges causing some PCP practices to close their doors

  • More than 25% of physicians surveyed in mid-October by the Larry A. Green Center and the Primary Care Collaborative say they had inadequate access to COVID-19 testing while 14% say they lack appropriate PPE, according to a recent Healthcare Dive article.
  • Those physicians are also struggling to replace practice members and fill open positions, according to the article.
  • Among those surveyed, 27% say they have lost practice members due to early retirements or illness, while 35% say they cannot fill open staffing positions, Healthcare Dive reported.

A Nov. 17 Healthcare Dive article reporting on a mid-October survey of 582 physicians from the Larry A. Green Center and the Primary Care Collaborative states, “More than a quarter [of survey respondents] say they had inadequate access to COVID-19 testing while 14% say they lack appropriate personal protective equipment.

“Those physicians are also struggling to replace practice members and fill open positions,” according to the article.

“… Many personnel are actually leaving medical practices," said the article. "Among those surveyed, 27% say they have lost practice members due to early retirements or illness, while 35% say they cannot fill open staffing positions.” 

The survey also included responses to questions about how patient access to care and health have been impacted by the pandemic. My colleague Rich Daly does an excellent job of analyzing those answers in this article.

Takeaway

The survey further reinforces what we’ve been hearing about the fragility of independent primary care providers (PCPs). If Congress passes another COVID-19 relief bill, which includes an additional PRF appropriation, that will address the PCP’s short-term financial issues. This assumes legislation is passed soon and additional funds are distributed quickly, which isn’t a safe assumption, given talks still appear stalled (or non-existent as of the week of Nov. 16).

However, the staffing issues — particularly early retirements — are a longer-term issue that will likely put additional pressure on some practices to sell to health systems, health plans or private equity groups. If health plans use this as an opportunity to either acquire or more closely align with physicians, it will likely accelerate the transition to value-based payment.

About the Author

Chad Mulvany, FHFMA,

is director, healthcare finance policy, strategy and development, HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office.

Sign up for a free guest account and get access to five free articles every month.

Advertisements

Related Articles | Physician Relationships

Column | Cost Effectiveness of Health

Expense increases offset physician practice productivity and revenue gains

Physician groups across the country saw productivity and revenue improvements in the second quarter of 2021 compared with both the same period in 2020 and pre-pandemic levels seen in Q4 2019, according to Kaufman Hall’s latest Physician Flash Report. However, significant increases in expenses and continued high levels of physician investment compared with the pre-pandemic period remain areas of concern.

Article | Analytics

How human capital analytics can help providers attract and keep top talent

Many healthcare workers have considered leaving the field after the COVID-19 pandemic. One company provides details on how to motivate the qualified employees with more than just compensation, benefits and rewards.

Cost Effectiveness of Health

Maintaining the equilibrium of the physician enterprise amid rapid change is a matter of balance

To ensure the proper functioning of the physician enterprise, hospitals and health systems must establish a balance among three dimensions: The clinicians’ productivity, the capacity to provide patients with access to care when they need it, and he volume of existing and potential patients in the market.

Blog | Strategic Partnerships Mergers and Acquisitions

Report finds fewer than a third of physicians continue to practice independently

About 70% of physicians were employed by health systems or corporate entities such as private equity firms and health plans at the start of 2021.