A study released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Medical Society found since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March, the number of medical procedures performed by doctors in the state has plummeted, layoffs are widespread and the use of telemedicine has soared.
The survey, conducted to gauge the economic challenges physicians and hospitals are facing during coronavirus outbreak, generated responses from 983 doctors in 55 Pennsylvania counties.
“My physician colleagues are concerned about the long-term impact of COVID-19,” said Dr. Lawrence John, a Pittsburgh-based family physician and president of the president of Pennsylvania Medical Society. “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that these medical practices, and hospitals remain financially stable, so that patients have access to follow up on health concerns that they had put off because of the pandemic. We do not want to replace one health crisis with another health crisis.”
Survey findings included:
- 56% of doctors said the number of procedures performed at their facility dropped by at least 76% since the pandemic began in March.
- While the use of telemedicine jumped from 13% (before the pandemic) to 86%, 27% report telemedicine reimbursement as “difficult” or “very difficult;”
- 12% said their medical practice has either temporarily or permanently closed; and
- 20% have less than a week’s worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) in stock.
On the topic of layoffs and furloughs, 76% of the doctors surveyed said they have reduced clerical staff; 69% have reduced nurse staff, 49% have reduced nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants, and 43% have reduced physicians on staff.
The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Medical Society collaborated with Rockpointe Corp. of Columbia, Maryland, and several other state medical societies for the survey.
Visit the article in the Philadelphia Business Journal HERE.