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May 5, 2021

Changes in Medicare Physicians Spending During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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A recent report from the AMA summarized the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the spending and use of Medicare physician services through the first half of 2020. That report found that spending declined as much as 57% in April of 2020.

Key findings include:

  • The recovery in use of Medicare physician services continued but spending was still 8% less than expected at the end of September 2020.
  • In total, spending from the start of the pandemic through September was $11.5 billion or 16% below expected.
  • Telehealth accounted for 5.2% of Medicare physician spending from July to September of 2020, down from a peak of over 16% of spending in April 2020.
  • The use of telehealth continues to be largely concentrated in a handful of service categories including established patient office visits, telephone calls, and mental health services.

Click here to learn more about which providers and settings were most affected by the pandemic and the shift to telehealth.