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Ophthalmology, GI among 5 largest CMS spending drops during early days of pandemic

A new report from the American Medical Association lists ophthalmology and gastroenterology in the top five largest drops in CMS physician spending during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report found that in the first six months of 2020, the total estimated reduction in Medicare physician spending associated with the pandemic was $9.4 billion, a 19 percent drop. 

CMS spending on physician services dropped as much as 57 percent below expected pre-pandemic levels in April 2020. Spending partially recovered from the April low, but was still 12 percent less than expected by the end of June 2020.

These five physician specialties saw the biggest drops in Medicare physician spending:

  1. Ophthalmology: 29 percent drop
  2. ENT: 28 percent drop
  3. Gastroenterology: 25 percent drop
  4. Dermatology: 24 percent drop 
  5. Pathology: 23 percent drop

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