Nearly half of healthcare practices furloughing staff, survey says


Medical group practices of all sizes and specialties have felt the direct and indirect financial impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new survey from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). Whether treating patients on the front lines or facing a massive decrease in patient volume, practices are struggling to stay afloat.

The survey, conducted April 7-8, found 97 percent of practices experienced a negative financial impact directly or indirectly related to COVID-19. On average, practices report a 55 percent decrease in revenue and a 60 percent decrease in patient volume since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

Additionally, several practices have already been forced to layoff and furlough staff in response to financial challenges amid COVID-19, the MGMA said. Many who have not yet laid off or furloughed staff will consider doing so if conditions persist of the next 30 days, the survey said.

Through April 8, 22 percent of survey respondents reported they had laid off staff. In the same period, 48 percent had furloughed employees. The survey projects that by May 8, if the COVID-19 situation hasn't improved, 36 percent of practices will have laid off staff members, and 60 percent will have furloughed them.

The survey received 724 applicable responses. Approximately 75 percent of respondents are part of independent medical practices and employ fewer than 50 full-time-equivalent physicians. The respondents belong to practices of all sizes and specialties, the MGMA said.