Many private practices in the New York area operate on thin budgets. The coronavirus pandemic put even more strain on these practices as in-office doctor visits are no longer a safe option. Anelto is one company leading the way in Remote Patient Monitoring to bridge the gap of doctor shortages. One practice impacted by the pandemic is owned by Dr. Rafael Guillen who has seen his practice revenue decline drastically since March 2020.
Smaller Practices Are Under Threat
In 2016, primary-care doctors fielded more than 480 million patient visits, or 54% of all visits to doctors’ offices in the country, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. Primary care doctors, like Dr. Guillen, only receive a small portion of the overall health care expenditure in the United States. From 2016 to 2022, these physicians received less than 7%. With the cost of living also increasing during the pandemic, small practices can’t keep up. Patients are weary of visiting the doctor as they fear catching the COVID-19 virus should they be admitted to the hospital.
The federal government initiated a $175 billion relief fund to support healthcare providers facing financial pressure due to the pandemic, and providers based on 2019 Medicare payments received $30 billion. Unfortunately, practices like Dr. Guillen only received $397 because he doesn’t have many Medicare patients. He, and many other primary care physicians, had to apply for small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.
Major Business Model Changes Are Needed
Dr. Conrad L. Flick practices medicine at an independent clinic in Raleigh, NC. He noticed a 70% drop in patient volume almost instantly as patients become more fearful of visiting doctors and indoor spaces. With a profit margin of only 3 – 4%, a sudden 70% drop in patients spells trouble.
Dr. Flick transformed a section of the practice into a COVID-19 testing area so patients that show symptoms don’t run the risk of infecting others. He also transitioned to telemedicine, which brought back some patients who feel safer using remote patient monitoring services.
Remote Patient Monitoring Systems Roll Out Nationwide
The Medicare program has opened up to supporting telehealth use to deal with the coronavirus. The fund has agreed to cover telemedicine at around the same level as office visits for the duration of the national emergency. Sixty-two million senior citizens currently on the Medicare program would usually reach out to their doctors for short visits or if they have chronic illnesses. Luckily, those rules have changed and all patients on the Medicare program now have access to telehealth services including remote patient monitoring. These seniors can communicate and have a full visit with their doctor whether they’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms or not. This keeps all citizens safe and out of waiting rooms where the virus could spread.
One of the major attempts to flatten the curve is removing the pressure from the healthcare systems and hospitals treating severely ill patients. According to Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, the government is offering support and giving every tool they can to offer telehealth solutions for patients and practices. Although telehealth may not work in every situation, there are telltale signs that the industry is moving towards telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Learn more about Anelto’s remote patient monitoring services, contact us today.