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Coronavirus: Study shows practice strain remains high

Article

While 60 percent of respondents reported an increase of COVID-19 cases, their level of strain remained mostly static.

A new survey shows that as COVID-19 coronavirus cases increase dramatically across the country, the amount of strain reported by physicians has stayed mostly the same.

The weekly survey, from the Larry A. Green Center and the Primary Care Collaborative, was performed from Oct. 16 to 19 and fielded 582 responses from primary care physicians.

It found that while 60 percent of respondents say they have seen a rise in COVID-19 illness in their area at least half of all respondents still report their level of unusual strain at a four or a five on a five-point scale. This has stayed relatively consistent over the past few weeks of the survey, according to a news release.

Throughout these weeks the number of respondents who reported their unusual strain as low, a one or two on the five-point scale, has ranged between 11 percent and 19 percent, the release says.

Despite this, only six percent of respondents say they are unable to pay some of their bills, only seven percent say that they would like to use more video-based care but can’t because of low reimbursements, according to the release.

The bigger obstacle to practices is, according to 35 percent of respondents, hiring new staff.

Respondents also say that their patients’ overall health has continued to suffer as the pandemic wares on. More than 85 percent of respondents reported that their patients’ mental health has decreased during the pandemic while 31 percent reported seeing a rise in patients suffering from addiction. An additional 37 percent of respondents say their patients with chronic conditions are in “noticeably worse health resulting from the pandemic,” according to the release.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health