The Impact of Covid-19 on Physicians’ Practices: 32% Reduction in Collections Industry Wide vs 11.8% Reduction for Revele RCM Clients.
When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the US in March 2020, no industry was left unaffected, but its impact on the medical industry and physicians’ practices was like no other. Many medical providers have been struggling financially ever since the initial wave. As the profession raced to handle the greatest medical emergency of our lifetime, the quarantine meant that other nonessential medical issues and routine check-ups were delayed, with significant financial consequences on these practices’ financial health.
How significant? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
According to recent studies, America’s healthcare system collectively has lost $50.7 billion in revenue per month because of the pandemic. That’s because most healthcare facilities were unable to handle nonessential or non-Covid-related procedures as a result of social distancing requirements as well as patient anxiety. This loss was felt across the board: An AMA survey of physicians nationwide found an average drop in revenue of 32%.
The industry shed more than 1.4 million healthcare worker jobs in the pandemic’s first month. And while those numbers have come back, they remain stuck below pre-pandemic levels. The impact also varied significantly according to specialty. A study of Medicare physician spending showed a reduction of 6% for nephrology in the first six months of 2020, while physical therapy experienced a 34% reduction.
All of this arrived on top of the social and psychological impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers, who faced the risk of personal exposure to the disease, not to mention contending with the legitimate fear of infecting loved ones.
The switch to Telemedicine was a necessary development of the pandemic because it allowed patients to consult with their physicians at a time when in-person visits were not permitted or while patients did not feel secure about visiting their physician’s office.
Medicare spending on Telehealth skyrocketed from 0.1% of total Medicare physician spending pre-pandemic to more than 16% of total spending in April 2020. But even with the increased number of Telehealth appointments, physicians were still seeing fewer patients overall than before the pandemic.
The growth of Telehealth has benefitted patients and alleviated some of the financial pain for physicians’ practices. Historically there have been discrepancies in payment rates and qualifications for Telehealth versus in-person visits. When the pandemic first hit, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a waiver allowing Medicare to pay for Telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits. Notably, this policy change was subject to any existing regulations on the state level. According to the nonprofit Center for Connected Health Policy, most, but not all, private insurers followed suit, agreeing—though only on a temporary basis—to reimburse Telehealth visits at the in-person rate. Although these responses by the federal government and private payers are encouraging, the financial struggle for healthcare providers continues.
Revele RCM Clients Average Decrease in Revenue Much Less Than Overall Industry Average
An AMA survey of physicians nationwide found an average drop in revenue of 32%. However, the average drop in collections for Revele RCM Clients during the same period of time was significantly less at 11.8%. In other words, non-Revele medical practices experienced a decrease in collections almost three times worse than Revele's RCM Clients.
Under these trying circumstances, every dollar counts. That’s why RCM services provided by Revele can make a difference as illustrated during the recent crisis. Revele’s team of experts offers a full-service solution, helping physicians’ adjust to every challenge, including the unprecedented and sudden challenges created by Covid-19. Revele helped many of its clients pivot to Telehealth in a very short time frame. Furthermore, while new charges decreased for most, Revele was able to supplement Client's cash flow by turning old, denied claims into accelerated cash through use of Revele's proprietary AR resolution technology. With Revele’s Revenue Cycle Management services, you can spend less time worrying about revenue and more time doing what you do best — providing care.
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