Doctors’ Disappearing Incomes

Check this out.  What you will see is a very alarming article. Alarming why? Alarming because it describes the myriad financial problems that physicians, and hospitals and healthcare systems as well, are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The cause? Simple. No patients. No revenues. About the last thing patients want to do during a pandemic is to show up voluntarily at a medical facility.  

But the problems don’t stop there. When offices that have been closed due to lockdowns attempt to reopen, many are finding it difficult to get their staff to return. Staff members are frankly scared to get into close proximity with patients. AND. Many are living quite comfortably on the generous unemployment checks they are receiving.  

What doctors can do about this state of affairs varies by specialty. Primary Care Physicians, for example, have raced to develop their telemedicine capabilities. Plastic Surgeons, on the other hand, have few options open to them. Telemedicine doesn’t work very well in that specialty, and not too many people are looking for facelifts at the moment.  

The plot thickens. For those hospitals treating large numbers of COVID-19 patients, the expense of doing so is obviously huge, and reimbursement slow and uncertain. The perfect storm.

Bottom Line. This and other articles on similar topics are understandably predicting that some physicians, especially those in private practice, will “go under” as a result of all of this. And some hospitals will close. Some pundits have gone so far as to suggest that pharmaceutical companies should organize these practitioners and institutions into a new healthcare system. 

Is that the right answer? Is there an answer?  

Time will tell!

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