Faced with unprecedented circumstances due to COVID, as well as uncertainty about the future, what can primary care providers do to stay afloat financially and continue caring for patients?
On March 3, Susan Coker, the practice administrator of Tri County Internal Medicine in suburban Atlanta, and Kelly Stopek, the practice’s medical director, left for a vacation in Costa Rica. When they returned a week later, Coker recalls, “the world had changed.” COVID-19 had arrived.
“Since March 10, we’ve spent 90% of our time on COVID-19 in some form,” Coker says, adding that the practice began seeing a “dramatic decrease” inpatient visits following President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration a few days later. Through the end of April, patient visits were 50% to 60% of what they’d been pre-pandemic, and the practice’s revenues were poised to take a similar hit. “If your charges aren’t coming in, then the payments won’t be there either,” she says.
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