Primary care physicians already have a lot of competition from retail clinics, urgent care clinics and telehealth services that cater to consumers. Now they're facing a new threat from the "virtual primary care plans" that insurance companies have launched recently. These are health plans that prioritize virtual visits with doctors hired by telehealth services over in-person visits to primary care doctors. For years, some insurance companies have been offering online urgent ...

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Primary care is in trouble again. Last summer, as government assistance programs expired or wound down, primary care practices across the country were struggling to stay afloat because of lost business. By October, patient visits had rebounded in most specialties. But by mid-November, as COVID-19 surged everywhere, primary care physicians reported that they faced critical staffing shortages and limited resources,
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The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent drop in patient visits have led some observers to conclude that primary care physicians would be better off financially if they were capitated than if they were paid fee for service. If they received a fixed amount of money per health plan member per month, they’d have a guaranteed income stream regardless of how many patients came to their offices. However, a growing number ...

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A recent report by Merritt Hawkins, the physician recruiting firm, includes two key revelations about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on physicians: Merritt Hawkins’ searches on behalf of prospective employers have dropped by 30 percent since March 31, and up to 35 percent of practices in some markets might soon close because of their unsustainable financial losses. As of late May, visits to physicians—both in-person and ...

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