MGMA Report Illustrates Differences in How Physician-Owned Practices and Hospital-Owned Practices Endured the Pandemic

Aug. 4, 2021
Medical Group Management Association recently published a report analyzing data from more then 4,000 organizations on the key trends of healthcare’s 2020 pandemic response

Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), headquartered in Englewood, Colo., published a new data report “illustrating significant differences in how physician-owned medical practices and hospital-owned medical practices weathered the pandemic and are navigating the economic recovery,” according to a press release.

According to the release, “The report, Medical Practice Ownership and COVID-19: A Tale of Two Recoveries, is based on the 2021 MGMA Cost and Revenue survey report, which analyzes data collected from more than 4,000 organizations reflecting a variety of specialties and practice types in the United States.”

Further, “This data report reveals key trends, paired with expert insights from industry leaders and MGMA member feedback, to evaluate the history of healthcare's 2020 pandemic response and guide practice leaders as they strategize for the post-pandemic future in 2022 and beyond. Healthcare organizations of all types shared many of the common concerns and challenges during the pandemic: concern for patient and staff safety, operational challenges created by social distancing, financial concerns related to shutdowns and higher costs, and increased rates of stress and burnout for healthcare professionals. However, despite those shared circumstances, the recovery has not been identical for all organizations.”

Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, M.D., president and chief executive officer of MGMA, was quoted in the release saying that "Physician-owned medical practices had bigger cost and revenue swings than their hospital counterparts largely driven by how they approached patient access, physician productivity, and operating costs. The findings in this report highlight the need for medical practice leaders to revisit their strategic planning as they continue pandemic recovery and set guiding principles for the future of practice management in 2022.”

Key insights from the report are:

  • All practice types reported decreases in productivity levels in 2020 vs. 2019. Yet, hospital-owned practices performed much worse, experiencing three times greater declines in productivity compared to physician-owned entities.
  • Hospital-owned practices experienced lower decreases in total medical revenue compared to physician-owned practices.
  • As businesses awaited federal relief programs, physician-owned practices turned to telehealth and other care delivery solutions to continue serving their patients at the time in-person medical visits were restricted.
  • Physician-owned practices experienced increases in operating costs more severely, as the need for COVID-19 safety measures rose, whereas hospital-owned practices saw the cost increases covered via higher-up organizational budgets or large-scale cost-cutting measures.
  • Merger and acquisition activity stalled at the beginning of the pandemic but has been accelerating, creating shifts in physician employment and compensation methods.

The full report can be found here.