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Large Losses Anticipated for Primary Care Practices in 2020

Loss of gross revenue over 2020 due to COVID-19 estimated at $67,774 per full-time physician

stethoscope with a dollar sign

MONDAY, June 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care practices are estimated to lose more than $67,000 in gross revenue per full-time physician over the course of 2020 due to COVID-19, according to a report published online June 25 in Health Affairs.

Sanjay Basu, M.D., Ph.D., from Collective Health in San Francisco, and colleagues estimated the potential impact of COVID-19 on operating expenses and revenues of primary care practices using a microsimulation model incorporating national data on primary care utilization, staffing, expenditures, and reimbursements.

The researchers estimated that over the course of 2020, primary care practices would be expected to lose $67,774 in gross revenue per full-time physician (difference between gross revenue with COVID-19 and anticipated gross revenue in the absence of COVID-19). To neutralize the revenue losses caused by COVID-19 among primary care practices, the estimated cost would be $15.1 billion at a national level. If COVID-19 telemedicine payment policies are not sustained, this could more than double.

"We anticipate large, meaningful reductions in revenue for primary care practices as a result of COVID-19, which may result in sufficient financial adversity as to threaten practice viability should practices be unable to secure sufficient funding through either fee-for-service or capitated payment mechanisms," the authors write.

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