April 22, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented threat to the viability of physician practices. The California Medical Association (CMA) today released the results of its COVID-19 Physician Financial Health Survey, which found that 95% of physician practices are worried about their financial health due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Practice revenue has declined by 64% since March 1, 2020, with 75% of practices experiencing a revenue decline of 50% or greater. The results highlight the immediate need for financial assistance.
In a period of 8 days, 3,246 physician practices responded to the survey – a record response rate. The survey results indicate significant practice viability concerns for physicians in all specialties and practice sizes.
Thousands of medical practices have closed their offices or furloughed employees as they abide by state guidelines and public health recommendations to cease elective and/or non-emergent services. The fallout from this crisis threatens to fundamentally alter California’s health care delivery system not just during the COVID-19 outbreak, but for years to come.
If policymakers do not take quick, decisive action to help medical practices it will be more difficult for all practices, but particularly small and medium-sized practices, to survive, bringing on a new wave of consolidation that increases health care costs and decreased patient access to care.
CMA estimates that more than 13 million Californians – up to 34% of our state’s population – could lose access to their physician unless state and federal lawmakers act quickly to ensure the financial viability of physician practices. Should California lose physicians, it will put more stress on our already overburdened health care system and we will find it impossible to meet the health care needs of California patients now, during and after the COVID-19 surge.
View the complete survey summary.