Coronavirus practice guide, part 1: Financial steps to save your practice during the coronavirus outbreak

March 30, 2020

The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus is having a financial impact on private practices nationwide. Experts say that many practices are seeing a decline in patient volume as people try to avoid doctors’ offices unless they have no other choice, and that decline is expected to continue as the crisis broadens.

“This is especially true for primary care offices,” says Lisa Stevens Anderson, president of Equality Health’s Management Services Organization division, who oversees 1,200 primary care physicians. “They are the lowest paid on the physician spectrum and have the busiest offices. They are the ones during the initial phase that are the hardest hit as they try to adjust to the new normal and how to maneuver in this business environment.”

Right now, there are so many unknowns that keeping a practice profitable is a daunting challenge. If the crisis lasts for months, as many expect, it could threaten the viability of practices that were already struggling as patient volume continues to decline. Experts say practice leaders need to accept that their practice is most likely going to take a financial hit and start planning accordingly.

“This could have a major impact on each practice,” says Owen Dahl, MBA, FACHE, a medical practice management consultant. “Throw in an employee who gets the virus or has to stay home because of their kids, and it could become a major issue.”