America’s Doctors Are Facing a Financial Crisis — Patient Volume has Dropped through the Floor
Even though we are in the teeth of a crisis, overall patient volume has plummeted. Government officials have issued mandates canceling scheduled and elective care. Doctors are experiencing a massive decline in routine check-ups, non-emergency surgeries and other preventative care that keep their practices in business. Much like Main Street America, non-emergency doctors are closed for business.
Counterintuitively, emergency departments are also seeing lower volume than usual. COVID-19 cases are surging, but patients are battling a virus that often requires multiple days of care. Duration and intensity of care have spiked but overall, emergency rooms are seeing fewer patients. Of the patients they do see, a higher portion are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid, all of which reimburse for care at a loss to providers. Emergency departments are proud providers of the social safety net, but the loss of volume creates real challenges to long term viability.