In May 2023, the Department of Health & Human Services officially ended the COVID-19 federal public health emergency (PHE). After more than three years of social and business disruptions and more than 1.1 million deaths, the pandemic appears to have run its course and the nation has returned to its pre-COVID posture.
During the height of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to close or instituted remote work to minimize interpersonal, direct contact while the nation became familiar with the concept of social distancing. Healthcare organizations had similar mandates and were required to adopt new standards for patient contact and to protect staff and patients from the disease. While healthcare organizations were required to change their internal and external operations, many suspended elective procedures to focus staff and resources to COVID-19 patients, further disrupting care delivery and affecting patients and providers.
MGMA annually surveys medical practices of all types and publishes the results in the MGMA DataDive. Recent MGMA DataDive data sets have provided significant insight into how the pandemic impacted medical practices, as documented in several MGMA Connection articles which revealed that most specialties experienced substantial declines in physician productivity during 2020, along with corresponding reductions in physician compensation.1,2,3,4 The articles described how some physician specialties — principally primary care — were much less affected by the pandemic than the surgeons and medical subspecialists, and that the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic affected those in independent practices much more than their peers in practices that were part of a hospital or health system.