Salary report also details clinicians’ experiences with COVID-19 so far, what they expect this winter and more.
LocumTenens.com recently released its 2020 Physician and Advanced Practice Salary Report. The report details the average salary of permanently employed physicians and advanced practitioners across 17 different specialties and explores clinicians’ thoughts on a second wave of COVID-19, patient misinformation about the virus and more. Fielded in September of 2020, the salary survey results complement two other surveys recently conducted by the company. The COVID-19 Physician and Advanced Practitioner Survey was conducted in June of 2020 with the goal of better understanding what healthcare practitioners think of the current and future state of the healthcare industry, and a consumer survey was conducted in September of 2020 with the goal of determining how patient visits have shifted throughout the pandemic. Together, the three surveys provide a comprehensive picture of the current state of the healthcare industry.
The 2020 Physician and Advanced Practice Salary Report details whether clinicians believe the United States will be better prepared for another wave of COVID-19 this winter, especially considering typical cold-weather respiratory illnesses are likely to compound the effects of the novel coronavirus. More than 60% of respondents were either unsure or did not believe the country would be better prepared. Those who do believe we will be better prepared cite more knowledge about prevention and treatment protocols, enhanced safety measures and adequate equipment, including PPE, and the utilization of telehealth to help prevent the spread of the disease. Those who do not believe we will be better prepared expressed concern about many people becoming complacent and not social distancing.
Also of interest is the report’s findings on clinicians’ employment status and job outlook amid COVID-19 concerns. According to the COVID-19 Physician and Advanced Practitioner Survey fielded in June, 54% of respondents indicated their healthcare facility was impacted by furloughs, layoffs or both. To follow up, LocumTenens.com asked respondents whether they were furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19 as part of the salary survey and found 24% had been, but 38% of those respondents had been hired back by the same employer. Notably, 21% turned to locum tenens employment, with reasons including being able to work safely during the pandemic via telehealth or wanting to travel to COVID-19 hotspots to serve where their assistance was most needed. Almost 30% of respondents to the survey conducted in June were working as locum tenens clinicians or independent contractors exclusively due to the pandemic.
How has the pandemic affected clinicians and patients?
The pandemic has tremendously affected employment trends for physicians and advanced practitioners, but it has also affected employment trends for the general population. In September, LocumTenens.com surveyed consumers to determine the impact the pandemic has had on their preventive and emergency care patterns and found although they are returning to normal, they are still heavily impacted by so many people recently losing healthcare insurance because they lost their jobs. Twelve percent of Americans say they lost healthcare insurance due to the pandemic. At the time the survey was fielded, the national unemployment rate was at 8.4%. Men were more likely to say they lost healthcare insurance than women, and people between the ages of 30 and 44 were most impacted.
Patients not having healthcare insurance could potentially overwhelm the emergency care system and hospitals, having a major impact on the healthcare industry as a whole and especially the facilities responsible for the care of those who do not have anywhere else to turn. Emergency departments are the only healthcare facilities required to treat patients whether they have healthcare insurance or not, so when patients who have lost access to healthcare due to the pandemic need somewhere to turn, that is where they go. This could overburden emergency departments already struggling to accommodate patients who have COVID-19 and patients who have developed emergent conditions by delaying elective procedures because of the pandemic.