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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Idaho Doctor's Offices Struggle During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Idaho businesses have had to shut their doors and layoff employees during the coronavirus pandemic. And though it is a health crisis, many medical providers are struggling just the same.

 

 

Idaho physician clinics have seen about a 60% reduction in revenue due to COVID-19. That’s according to a recent survey filled out by 150 clinics that represent more than one thousand physicians. 

 

“Physician offices are trying to do the right thing, and not bringing patients into the office and seeing the volume of patients they normally would,” said Susie Pouliot, the CEO of the Idaho Medical Association, which sent out the survey, along with Idaho Medical Group Management Association.

 

Seventy percent of practices surveyed reduced clinic hours and 60% reduced physician pay. Much of this stems from CDC guidelines that recommend stopping elective procedures and surgeries in order to conserve personal protective equipment.

 

There are a range of providers affected, Pouliot said, from emergency physicians to surgeons. 

 

“Primary care practices are really suffering," she said. "They, among other specialties, probably have the least amount of margin in their practices.”

Eleven practices that answered the survey said they might need to close their doors if revenues don't pick up again soon. This is worrying, said Pouliot, especially in Idaho where there's already a physician shortage.

More than 70% of the Idaho medical practices surveyed applied for federal Payroll Protection Program loans, but Pouliot isn’t yet sure how many have received that help. 

 

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

 

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