We may think that only small businesses like restaurants and retailers have taken a financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the fact is small physicians around the country have reported a steep loss in revenues over time. Luckily, telehealth taking up the pitch has helped pick up at least a small portion of the slack. In a survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association, it has been revealed that among 724 medical practices being surveyed, 97% of them had a negative financial impact.
Although several steps have been taken, things do not seem to settle down due to the continuity of the vulnerability and make the condition of medical practice worse. There are certain factors that impact the healthcare practices in the COVID-19.
#1: People hesitating to come to clinics/hospitals
The continuous death toll in the USA since the mid of March 2020 has generated an astonishing panic among the people, due to which they have been hesitating to visit clinics or small hospitals for consultation with doctors directly. The impact of COVID-19 outbreak can be seen in people till now; therefore with high hesitation, people reduced visiting clinics for treatment or diagnosis. There are many cases where patients schedule an appointment the previous day but fail to visit the hospital during this COVID-19. This is one of the psychological reasons the revenue of healthcare was slashed.
#2: Pediatric patients go unfound
More than adults, there were several news mentioning that children should not be brought out of house, since many children may not have great immunity and may easily prone to the virus, parents who are supposed to bring their children for regular check-up did not turn up for consultation nor vaccination. Moreover, the focus of receiving payments was more on Medicare payments rather than Paediatricians, thereby resulting in loss of achieving even the regular cash inflow.
#3: Solo practitioners remained with closed signs
Most of individual practitioners reported that they had to close their clinics for more than six months due to the unrecoverable impact created by COVID-19. Particularly, plastic surgeons incurred an expensive state of living, where even they keep the offices closed, still it was quite difficult for them to bear the overhead costs such as phones, electronic medical records that too for a closed practice. It also impacted the employment of staff in clinics with who solo practitioners were managing efficiently before the pandemic. Despite telehealth, the regular functioning of majority of individual healthcare practices did not turn to a smooth workflow.
#4: Revamping to telehealth
With the instructions and extension of telehealth care for non-emergencies, by CMS, in the earlier days of pandemic, worked really well, and there has been a standard increase from 14% to 15% of all patient visits to telemedicine, which is a good number. Healthcare practices also reported that though telehealth is in existence even before pandemic, hardly 3 to 5 patients were using the facility. But now to protect them from the virus spread, unless it is an emergency or there is a need to visit the doctor in person, telehealth medicine suffices the health situation.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed healthcare practices down into the loss of revenue, yet has been helping in making practices more perfect than it they were earlier. Though telehealth is slowly growing as an upcoming trend, you cannot relax from challenges still. Especially, with the constantly changing codes for COVID-19 treatment and telehealth, many medical practices are finding it difficult to deal when it comes to claims processing and billing.
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