Doctors Are Calling It Quits Under Stress of the Pandemic
Two years ago, Dr. Kelly McGregory opened her own pediatric practice just outside Minneapolis, where she could spend as much time as she wanted with patients and parents could get all of their questions answered.
But just as her practice was beginning to thrive, the coronavirus hit the United States and began spreading across the country.
“As an independent practice with no real connection to a big health system, it was awful,” Dr. McGregory said. At one point, she had only three surgical masks left and worried that she could no longer safely treat patients.
Families were also staying away, concerned about catching the virus. “I did some telemedicine, but it wasn’t enough volume to really replace what I was doing in the clinic,” she said.
After her husband found a new job in a different state, Dr. McGregory, 49, made the difficult decision to close her practice in August. “It was devastating,” she said. “That was my baby.”
Many other doctors are also calling it quits. Thousands of medical practices have closed during the pandemic, according to a July survey of 3,500 doctors by the Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit group. About 8 percent of the doctors reported closing their offices in recent months, which the foundation estimated could equal some 16,000 practices. Another 4 percent said they planned to shutter within the next year.