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Physician Practice Interruptions in the Treatment of Medicare Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the practice of medicine across the US. The majority of physicians—especially those practicing in outpatient settings—saw visit volume fall in March of 2020, only returning to prepandemic levels in September.1

In response, many physicians reported practice interruptions, with some expressing intent to retire or close their practice.1,2 We analyzed Medicare data to assess physician practice interruptions and provide preliminary evidence on whether those interruptions suggest early retirements or exit from medical practice.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Hannah T. Neprash, PhD, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St SE, MMC 729, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (hneprash@umn.edu).

Accepted for Publication: September 9, 2021.

Published Online: September 20, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.16324

Author Contributions: Dr Neprash had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Both authors.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Both authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Neprash.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Both authors.

Statistical analysis: Neprash.

Obtained funding: Chernew.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Neprash reported receiving grants from Arnold Ventures. Dr Chernew reported receiving grants from Arnold Ventures; receiving personal fees from American College of Cardiology, American Medical Association, and GI Roundtable; holding equity in Virta Health; serving as chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission; and that he is a partner in, and holds equity in, V-BID Health Equity.

Funding/Support: This research was supported by Arnold Ventures.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: Arnold Ventures had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Disclaimer: The views presented here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Arnold Ventures, its directors, its officers, or its staff.

References
1.
Mehrotra A, Chernew ME, Linetsky D, Hatch H, Cutler D, Schneider EC. The impact of COVID-19 on outpatient visits in 2020: visits remained stable, despite a late surge in cases. Commonwealth Fund. Published February 22, 2021. Accessed July 29, 2021. https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/2021/feb/impact-covid-19-outpatient-visits-2020-visits-stable-despite-late-surge
2.
2020 Survey of America’s physicians: COVID-19 impact edition. The Physicians Foundation. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://physiciansfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2020-Survey-of-Americas-Physicians_Exec-Summary.pdf
3.
Primary Care Collaborative. Quick COVID-19 primary care survey. Larry A. Green Center. Accessed July 29, 2021. https://www.green-center.org/covid-survey
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