MSSNY Member Survey Shows New York Physicians Struggling Despite Recent Passage of CARES Act

Roseann Raia
Thursday, April 16, 2020

Like many businesses across the state, New York physicians have faced a devastating impact on their practices as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to physician survey results announced by The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY). A survey of its members confirms the significant impact of the COVID19 crisis on New York physicians and whether they are able to avail various relief funds available through the recently passed CARES Act approved by Congress. The bill was supposed to address the impact on small businesses, including physician practices.

 

“Our first priority remains to ensure that our patients, through the crisis, can continue to receive the care they need, but we need to know if our practices can keep their doors open for patients now and in the future.  With patients appropriately limiting their trips out of the house including to their doctor’s offices along with all elective procedures being suspended, the impact has devastated practices and the hundreds of thousands of the New Yorkers they employ,” said Art Fougner, MD, President of the Medical Society of the State of New York. “Many doctors are working alone or with a skeleton staff.  One physician wrote, ’letting go of my staff, knowing the hardship ahead for them, was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make. I pray they will return when this horrible scourge is over.’”

 

The survey results make clear that while the CARES Act provided some funding to make up these enormous deficits, it is not nearly enough to ensure the survival of many physician practices across the State of New York.  MSSNY thanks the New York Congressional delegation for their efforts to fight for relief funds for New Yorkers, but it is imperative they fight in the next relief package to preserve the viability of New York’s health care system, including physician practices. This not only critically important for doctors and their patients, but also for their dedicated employees—most of whom have been laid off, or furloughed, during this crisis.

 

Key takeaways from the survey include:

83% of respondents have had a reduction of more than 50% in the volume of patients visiting their practices.

80% have suffered a loss of revenue of more than 50% since the outbreak of COVID19.

More than a quarter have had to layoff, or furlough, more than 50% of their staff.

73% have applied for forgivable loans through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) Loan Program.

 

Very disturbing reports were also received from physician respondents that despite having applied for help as soon as the funds became available, they have received no assistance to date.

 

 “New York’s health care system, including physicians, shouldn’t have to face financial ruin, while working around the clock to save lives. The next package coming out of Congress must include specific funding to help preserve New York’s health care infrastructure, including physician practices,” Dr. Fougner continued.  We thank New York's Congressional delegation for all of their efforts, and urge them to continue to fight for a fair share of relief funds for New Yorkers. New York has shouldered the brunt of this crisis and we desperately need the fiscal attention we deserve.”