The American journal of managed care;
26(10 Spec No.):
OBJECTIVES: Typically, a community-based specialty practice is prepared for a limited public health crisis that is driven by a natural disaster or a localized environment event. This article describes the unexpected impact that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had on community-based specialty practices across the United States, especially oncology practices. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted an electronic national survey of community-based specialty practice administrators to determine the impact of COVID-19 on their practices and their ability to manage through a global pandemic. The 22-question survey focused on an initial observation period of March 15, 2020, to May 15, 2020, compared with a second period of May 16, 2020, to August 15, 2020. RESULTS: Oncology practices accounted for 46% of the 155 specialty practices that participated in the survey. Overall, 57% of respondents saw at least a 30% decline in total patient volume and/or financial impact during the initial observation period, compared with a 38% decline for the oncology practices. More than 70% of all practices experienced improvement after May 15, 2020, with at least 60% improving regardless of specialty. The initial decline was primarily driven by declines in new patient volume and procedures. Approximately 62% of practices anticipate a moderate-to-significant impact on patient outcomes over the next 12 months. The impact expected was slightly higher in retina and ophthalmology practices than oncology. CONCLUSIONS: Although unexpectedly impacted in delivering care for their patients, specialty practices generally and oncology practices especially have been resilient by leveraging federal funds and adopting operational enhancements.