In-person visits to physician practices declined by more than 65 percent in April, according to John Wilson, president of HSA PrimeCare. The American Hospital Association reported estimated losses of $202 billion—from lost revenue and COVID-19 expenses—for hospitals and health systems from March through June.
“In most cases, for both hospitals and physician practices, the volumes are back to 80 percent to 100 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels,” said Wilson.
Now that medical office buildings have weathered the COVID-19 shutdowns, they’re back doing brisk business thanks to pent-up demand for medical services—and in spite of telehealth. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of telehealth across all patient ages. Further fueling this trend, according to Wilson, the federal government has extended payment and policy to support access to telehealth.
CMS reported before the pandemic approximately 13,000 beneficiaries received telemedicine in a week. During the last week of April, 1.7 million beneficiaries received telehealth services.
“I see telehealth as a net positive, not a competitive risk or threat to medical office building investment,” said Alan Pontius, senior vice president & national director of the office and industrial division at Marcus & Millichap. “Telehealth appointments can convert to in-person appointments. It’s a way for doctors and health systems to build relationships with patients. It builds efficiency into the system.