The 7 most pandemic-resilient surgical specialties

The COVID-19 pandemic had a number of wide-ranging effects on the healthcare industry. Medicare physician fee spending in ASCs saw a 90 percent drop in actual versus expected spending in April 2020, by far the largest decrease for any place of service, according to a November 2021 American Medical Association report.

The seven surgical specialties with the mildest hit in Medicare physician fee spending were able to maintain 88 percent of their expected totals, on average.

Here are the seven surgical specialties that saw the smallest negative impact in Medicare physician fee spending in 2020, according to the AMA:

Medicare Specialty

2020 expected spending (in millions)

2020 actual spending (in millions)

Impact (in millions)

Impact %

Vascular surgery

$1,209

$1,128

-$81

-7%

Thoracic surgery

$355

$316

-$39

-11%

Pain management

$519

$455

-$64

-12%

Neurosurgery

$810

$709

-$101

-13%

Anesthesiology

$2,030

$1,739

-$291

-14%

Plastic surgery

$366

$313

-$53

-15%

Hand surgery

$247

$210

-$38

-15%

 

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