Patient volume at New York orthopedic group hovers between 70% and 80%; patients urged to resume care

Practice Management

The Bone & Joint Center in Albany, N.Y., saw patient volumes decrease by about half during the COVID-19 pandemic and still is seeing some reluctance from patients to resume care for orthopedic conditions, the Albany Business Review reported June 18.

Patient volume has increased, but it has been slow to return. The 39-physician practice is seeing about 70 percent to 80 percent of pre-pandemic volumes, with revenue continuing to take a hit, according to the report.

"They're not quite at the level of activity both clinically, and probably financially, as they were pre-pandemic," John DiPreta, MD, a surgeon at the practice, told the publication. "I think they are still trying to play catch-up to some degree."

During the height of the pandemic, The Bone & Joint Center furloughed about a third of its 270 employees, and physicians forwent salaries for a couple of months. Now, with its staff up to almost 300, the practice is focusing on reassuring patients that it is safe to receive care.

"I do think there's still a little bit of reluctance in some patients, perhaps in the older population," Dr. DiPreta said. "We're trying to reassure them that they can do so, that the risk of transmission or, certainly, getting sick is at its lowest."

Dr. DiPreta, president of New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is promoting the society's recent public health campaign, which encourages patients to resume orthopedic care. He said he believes some of the terms used during pandemic could have led to some confusion about surgeries that are elective versus essential.  

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