The results of a survey of primary care physicians could spell bad news for collection agencies that specialize in collecting healthcare debts as those offices suffer from the coronavirus pandemic.
The survey, conducted by the Primary Care Collaborative, revealed that nearly half of primary care physicians are unsure if they will have the financial resources to remain open and 20% of those surveyed believe they will have to close their doors in the next month if they do not receive some form of COVID-19-related economic relief.
The financial vulnerabilities facing primary care offices are spread across a number of categories. For example, 3% of offices will close because they do not have enough staff to remain open, while an additional 14% are unsure if they will have enough staff; 6% will close because they do not have enough cash on hand, while an additional 47% are not sure if they have enough money to keep the lights on; 10% have not received payment for video or e-based care, and 16% have not received payment for phone-based care; and low patient volume will be the reason 12% of offices close.
Among the 2,600 practices which participated in the survey are a mix of family medicine, pediatricians, internal medicines, and other disciplines.
Some of the responses focused on issues around how insurance carriers are reimbursing doctors who are seeing patients via phone calls and video sessions.
“Televisits are [happening] but we are not getting paid for them,” said one doctor in New Hampshire. “There needs to be a single standard across insurers rather than having a patchwork of complicated requirements designed to not pay us for our work.”