Providers

COVID-19 Ongoing Impact: Community Practice Survey Follow Up

The SamaCare Team

The SamaCare Team

We published the results of a survey we conducted back in April asking community healthcare practices across the country about the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and how they have responded. We recently fielded a second survey from the same composition of practices — provider specialty healthcare practices with as many as 3 providers all the way to 100+, largely in ophthalmology and oncology — to gauge how the landscape has (or hasn’t) changed as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The key takeaway from our second survey wave: the impact of COVID-19 on specialty practices has improved over the past three months, but the future remains uncertain. 

Overall actions taken

On a positive note, since April there has been a significant reduction in the percentage of practices who indicated temporarily furloughing staff or reducing hours, or laying off staff (down from 45% and 25% to 19% and 15% respectively. This may be due to the 81% of practices who indicate they have used CARES Act PPP loan funding to maintain operations. As of April, 61% of practices indicated they had applied for but had yet to be approved for PPP loans. Results from this second survey wave seem to indicate practices have seen success getting approved for PPP loans. 

There has also been a significant shift in practices who indicated “postponing or cancelling non-urgent or non-emergent visits” possibly indicating practices have begun to reopen while taking precautionary measures (ex. 100% of practices have increased frequency of sanitization measures). 


Impact on patient volumes

In our first survey wave, we asked practices how COVID-19 has impacted their overall volume of patients. We repeated this question in our second wave, but also asked practices how COVID-19 has impacted new patient acquisition. Compared to April, practices were more likely to see patient volume at half or more of their usual load, with 15% of practices indicating they are seeing normal patient volumes — compared to none of the practices in the first wave of this survey. 

In addition, the majority of practices (59%) reported 76-100% of expected new patient visits, a positive, but of course not conclusive, statistic for patient access to specialty healthcare providers. 


Outlook

When asked how negative repercussions to their practice has changed in the past three months, 80% of providers confirmed that things have become somewhat better. However, when asked to predict when things will return to “normal” for their practice responses were mixed. One-third of providers indicated things have already returned to normal, while another 26% believe things will return to normal this year, and 41% indicating they do not expect things to return to normal until 2021. While geographical trends in our data were not statistically significant to report on, directionally, providers in the Northeast and Rocky Mountains were unanimous in indicating things have already returned to normal for their practices suggesting there may be some geographic differences in perspective. 



Providers

COVID-19 Ongoing Impact: Community Practice Survey Follow Up

The SamaCare Team

The SamaCare Team

We published the results of a survey we conducted back in April asking community healthcare practices across the country about the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and how they have responded. We recently fielded a second survey from the same composition of practices — provider specialty healthcare practices with as many as 3 providers all the way to 100+, largely in ophthalmology and oncology — to gauge how the landscape has (or hasn’t) changed as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The key takeaway from our second survey wave: the impact of COVID-19 on specialty practices has improved over the past three months, but the future remains uncertain. 

Overall actions taken

On a positive note, since April there has been a significant reduction in the percentage of practices who indicated temporarily furloughing staff or reducing hours, or laying off staff (down from 45% and 25% to 19% and 15% respectively. This may be due to the 81% of practices who indicate they have used CARES Act PPP loan funding to maintain operations. As of April, 61% of practices indicated they had applied for but had yet to be approved for PPP loans. Results from this second survey wave seem to indicate practices have seen success getting approved for PPP loans. 

There has also been a significant shift in practices who indicated “postponing or cancelling non-urgent or non-emergent visits” possibly indicating practices have begun to reopen while taking precautionary measures (ex. 100% of practices have increased frequency of sanitization measures). 


Impact on patient volumes

In our first survey wave, we asked practices how COVID-19 has impacted their overall volume of patients. We repeated this question in our second wave, but also asked practices how COVID-19 has impacted new patient acquisition. Compared to April, practices were more likely to see patient volume at half or more of their usual load, with 15% of practices indicating they are seeing normal patient volumes — compared to none of the practices in the first wave of this survey. 

In addition, the majority of practices (59%) reported 76-100% of expected new patient visits, a positive, but of course not conclusive, statistic for patient access to specialty healthcare providers. 


Outlook

When asked how negative repercussions to their practice has changed in the past three months, 80% of providers confirmed that things have become somewhat better. However, when asked to predict when things will return to “normal” for their practice responses were mixed. One-third of providers indicated things have already returned to normal, while another 26% believe things will return to normal this year, and 41% indicating they do not expect things to return to normal until 2021. While geographical trends in our data were not statistically significant to report on, directionally, providers in the Northeast and Rocky Mountains were unanimous in indicating things have already returned to normal for their practices suggesting there may be some geographic differences in perspective.