Just like hospitals and health systems, physicians are taking a significant financial hit from COVID-19 and it may result in a rise in physician practice acquisition and consolidation as well as changes in physician compensation plans.
More than half of independent physicians reported concerns about whether their practices will survive during the pandemic, according to a recent McKinsey & Company survey.
The consulting firm surveyed physicians nationally in 2019 and again six weeks into the pandemic to gauge physician sentiment. Much had changed in that short time. In 2019, three-quarters of responding physicians said they preferred to join an independent physician group. Six weeks into the pandemic, nearly 90% of respondents said they would opt to join an independent group. Nearly 70% of respondents who said they were looking for a partner cited financial support as the primary reason.
If the current surge in COVID-19 cases continues and provider organizations are forced to cancel elective procedures, there could be additional negative financial repercussions for physicians, Dave Hesselink, a principal at the workforce consulting group SullivanCotter, recently told Modern Healthcare.
He notes that if hospitals and health systems are forced to cancel elective procedures due to another surge of the pandemic, they will be less likely to protect physicians financially. Some health systems already have started asking how to realign their compensation models now that volumes have dipped significantly, he adds.