Patients Fled Primary Care During COVID-19

Stateline: If Dr. Erica Swegler, a solo primary care doctor in Austin, Texas, hadn’t gotten her bank to delay payments on one of the loans she had taken out to open her practice five years ago, she said, “I would have been out of business in April.”

Likewise, she’s sure she would have had to close if she hadn’t also received a $36,000 federal Payment Protection Program coronavirus loan to carry her over a couple of months while her patients stayed away in droves. Ditto if Medicare and Medicaid hadn’t relaxed rules to allow for compensation and better reimbursement rates for telehealth visits with patients, including telephone consultations.

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