Declines in patient visits during COVID-19 shutdowns projected to cost U.S. primary care $15 billion in revenue by year’s end, study shows

Harvard Medical School
24-Jun-2020 10:00 AM EDT, by Harvard Medical School

Newswise — Primary care practices are projected to lose more than $65,000 in revenue per full-time physician in 2020, following drastic declines in office visits and fees for services from March to May during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study led by researchers in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School.

The lost revenue adds up to a shortfall of $15 billion to primary care practices across the United States, according to the analysis published June 25 in Health Affairs.

The researchers caution that losses would balloon substantially if there is a second viral peak later in the year or if the reimbursement rates for telehealth visits revert to pre-COVID levels.

The study was led by Sanjay Basu,  director of research and population health at Collective Health and a faculty affiliate in the HMS Center for Primary Care, Russell Phillips, director of the center and professor of global health and social medicine at HMS, and Bruce Landon, HMS professor of health care policy. 

“For many primary care practices, particularly those serving the most vulnerable populations, these losses could be catastrophic, with many practices being forced to close,” Basu said.  “This could weaken the U.S. health system dramatically at a time when we need it to be at its strongest.”

“ Our prior work shows that primary care saves lives, and loss of primary care practices will translate to lives lost across the United States,” Phillips said. 

To calculate the projected financial losses on operating expenses and revenues, the researchers simulated the impact of the pandemic on a variety of practices analyzing both visit volume and visit type, among other variables. They then compared the anticipated revenues, expenses and losses under several scenarios, including a second shelter-in-place order in November and December as well as reverting back to the significantly lower prepandemic levels of provider reimbursement for telemedicine visits.

Once the most acute threat of COVID-19 subsides and the pandemic winds down, primary care in the United States will have to absorb the brunt of long-term COVID-19 care and management, testing and vaccination, the team said. The primary care system must also be equipped to meet the piled-up needs of the population and return its attention to the major chronic medical conditions that collectively will determine the health of Americans for many years to come, they said.

“The coronavirus pandemic highlights the fragility of the primary care system,” said Landon, noting that “over half of primary care practices remain small and physician-owned and these independent practices have limited access to capital and other support that could help them weather the pandemic.”  

The researchers said their findings and the looming growth in primary care use underscores the need for a financial boost to the primary care system.

“The coronavirus pandemic is a pointed reminder of the importance of primary care to our society. Primary care is critical to limiting the spread of the virus, in treating the comorbidities that can make COVID-19 so deadly and in helping people navigate the social and psychological challenges of social distancing and of living with the pandemic,” Phillips said.

While legislation proposing financial aid to hospitals has already been introduced in Congress, independent primary care practices have yet to receive significant financial help, the researchers said.

Additional collaborators on the study include colleagues from the American Board of Family Medicine.

The authors report no external funding for this study.

DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00794

 




Filters close

Showing results

1120 of 2916
Released: 13-Aug-2020 1:05 PM EDT
Additive Manufacturing for COVID-19
Materials Research Society (MRS)

A new Prospective article—Additive Manufacturing for COVID-19: Devices, Materials, Prospects and Challenges—published in MRS Communications, looks at these critical supply issues and provides an overview of 3D printing and how coupling the tools in additive manufacturing (AM) and advanced materials has provided a viable alternative for rapid production and distribution of PPEs and medical devices.

Newswise: Busting Up the Infection Cycle of Hepatitis B
Released: 13-Aug-2020 12:50 PM EDT
Busting Up the Infection Cycle of Hepatitis B
University of Delaware

Researchers at the University of Delaware have gained new understanding of the virus that causes hepatitis B and the “spiky ball” that encloses the virus’s genetic blueprint. They examined how the capsid—a protein shell that protects the blueprint and also drives the delivery of it to infect a host cell—assembles itself. Scientists believe that the capsid is an important target in developing drugs to treat hepatitis B, a life-threatening and incurable infection that afflicts more than 250 million people worldwide.

Newswise: 240097_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 12:05 PM EDT
Stay-at-home orders significantly associated with reduced spread of COVID-19, study finds
Brown University

Across the globe, COVID-19 has infected more than 18 million people to date and has killed hundreds of thousands -- and the United States has been hit especially hard.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:45 AM EDT
COVID-19 Symptom Tracker Ensures Privacy During Isolation
Georgetown University Medical Center

An online COVID-19 symptom tracking tool developed by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center ensures a person’s confidentiality while being able to actively monitor their symptoms. The tool is not proprietary and can be used by entities that are not able to develop their own tracking systems.

Newswise: Support for telehealth and mobile health monitoring rises since COVID, study says
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:25 AM EDT
Support for telehealth and mobile health monitoring rises since COVID, study says
University of Alabama Huntsville

Support for telehealth and mobile health monitoring has risen among healthcare workers and consumers since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study. Dr. Emil Jovanov, a pioneer in the wearable health monitoring field from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), participated and was a coauthor.

Newswise: Americans actively engaging in collectivism as financial buoy, experts say
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:25 AM EDT
Americans actively engaging in collectivism as financial buoy, experts say
University of Notre Dame

Karen Richman, University of Notre Dame director of undergraduate studies at the Institute for Latino Studies, and her colleague, found that many people in the U.S. are relying on informal networks of family and friends to stay afloat in a recent study.

Newswise: 240116_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:20 AM EDT
Researchers identify a protein that may help SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly through cells
Colorado State University

Eric Ross and Sean Cascarina, biochemistry and molecular biology researchers at Colorado State University, have released a research paper identifying a protein encoded by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that may be associated with the quick spread of the virus through cells in the human body.

Newswise: 240119_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:05 AM EDT
Public health consequences of policing homelessness
University of Colorado Denver

Two weeks ago, Colorado State Patrol troopers began clearing out nearly 200 residents from homeless encampments that surround the Colorado Capitol.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 10:35 AM EDT
Age discrimination seen @Twitter during #COVID19 pandemic
University of Michigan

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm for age discrimination on social media.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 10:15 AM EDT
New COVID-19 Model Reveals Need for Better Travel Restriction Implementation
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

More strategic and coordinated travel restrictions could have reduced the spread of COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic, data confirms. The conclusion, available in preprint on MedRxiv, an online repository of papers that have been screened but not peer reviewed, stems from new modeling conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Showing results

1120 of 2916

close
1.21145