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COVID-19 recovery: Physician compensation and productivity’s slow road back to pre-pandemic normalcy

Insight Article - June 20, 2022

Benchmarking & Forecasting


Data Analytics & Reporting

Provider Compensation

As COVID-19 hospitalization rates have declined and public health restrictions have been lifted, businesses are resuming operations and individuals are shifting from their “new normal” to something more akin to pre-pandemic normalcy.

While COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths peaked in early 2021, 2020 is considered the height of the pandemic’s effect on businesses due to government restrictions on in-office work, requirements for social distancing, and the share of the population that self-quarantined to avoid infection. The pandemic’s effect on businesses of all types also was most prominent in 2020, as many businesses closed, instituted remote work, or changed their business model from in-person contact to internet sales. 

Medical groups and hospitals had similar mandates which substantially affected how they interacted with patients, as many healthcare facilities had to redirect resources from elective procedures to refocus staff and resources on COVID-19 patients.

The effect of COVID-19 in 2020 on physician compensation and medical group operations was described in two MGMA Connection articles — one describing how productivity declined and practice expenses increased during 2020,1 the other how practices responded to the pandemic-imposed restrictions to preserve their economic viability.2 The articles focused on how some physician specialties, principally primary care, were much less affected by the pandemic than the surgeons and medical subspecialists who faced severe limitations as hospitals closed operating suites and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). 

MGMA’s annual survey results from medical practices of all types, published via MGMA DataDive, provide significant insight into how medical groups responded to the pandemic. The recently released 2022 MGMA DataDive Provider Compensation (featuring 2021 compensation and productivity data) helps detail how, in 2021, independent practices recovered differently than their peers in practices that were part of a hospital or health system.

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About the Author

David N. Gans
David N. Gans MSHA, FACMPE
Retired senior fellow, industry affairs MGMA

David N. Gans can be reached at


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