COVID-19 pandemic endangering private practices

Vermont private practice clinicians are petitioning state legislators to pass financial relief measures to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, the VT Digger reports.

What you should know:

1. Michael Lyons, MD, of White River Junction, Vt.-based White River Family Practice, averaged a caseload of 70 patients per day before COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated his practice. On March 27, for example, the practice saw just eight patients.

2. Now Dr. Lyons is petitioning the state for financial relief. In a letter to state officials, he wrote, "Independent primary care practices in Vermont will collapse if you do not provide relief and payment reform immediately. We will soon run out of cash to pay our staff."

3. Independent physician organization Health First said private practices keep around a week to two months of cash on hand. At Dr. Lyons' practice, the four physician-owners stopped taking a salary, and even though the practice has shifted to telemedicine, he predicts it only has enough cash to pay salaries for four weeks.

4. After the cash is depleted, Dr. Lyons said his practice will survive on any grants and loans it can secure.

5. Relief may be on the horizon. The federal government passed the CARES Act, which would grant practices two months of operating funds with stipulations tied to employment.

Read the entire breakdown here.

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