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Pandemic puts physician practices in financial straits: 3 groups hit hard

Physician groups have incurred significant financial losses due to elective case restrictions, putting many on the brink of insolvency.

Three practices facing major financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Harmony Surgical Center in Fort Collins, Colo., will be at serious risk of permanent closure if it can't reopen by June 1, owner Rebecca Craig, RN, told Stateline in late April. The center is down to 10 to 12 patients a day, from the normal 80 to 90 a day. Nearly all of the ASC's employees are working half their normal hours — or less. Many of the practice's independent surgeons have had to lay off staff or scale back their hours as well.

2. Spokane, Wash.-based ophthalmologist Talmage Broadbent, MD, said in an April 23 report that his physician-owned private practice could fold if Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's bans on non-urgent medical and dental procedures were extended for too long.

3. Olympic Anesthesia in Bremerton, Wash., was also devastated by the suspension of elective procedures. As of April 25, the practice's surgical volumes were limited to one-fifth of the normal load. Two of the practice's 15 anesthesiologists retired early, two became part-time employees and all of the group's providers had their pay cut in half. Four staff members were laid off.

"Even with that, we're still going to be in the hole pretty soon," anesthesiologist Brian Nyquist, MD, told The Seattle Times.

More articles on surgery centers:
Life after ramp-up: How COVID-19 will change ASCs forever
3 ASC nurses join COVID-19 front lines in New York
4 hospitals, health systems opening ASCs

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