Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Primary Care Practices

Research highlights the need to strengthen primary care as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year.

Researchers examines how policymakers can learn from primary care providers’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic to better support community-based health providers.

  • The decisions by private insurers and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to increase reimbursement rates for telehealth services and the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program were widely cited by physicians as pivotal for enabling them to retain staff and remain open.

  • The federal Provider Relief Fund did little to help independent primary care practices as a majority of those dollars were directed to hospitals and large health systems.

  • Access to personal protective equipment has been a continual challenge for primary care providers, along with clinical hurdles associated with COVID-19 testing and the need to dispel unproven or debunked treatments among their patients.  

  • Physicians report that anxiety, burnout, and depression continue to negatively impact many primary care practices.

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