8 things to know about orthopedic surgeons and the coronavirus

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Here are eight key facts about orthopedic surgeons and practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. There are around 35,700 orthopedic surgeons in the U.S., according to SK&A, practicing at around 11,500 medical sites. The southern states have the highest concentration of orthopedics while the western states have among the lowest.

2. Almost half of orthopedic surgeons prefer practices with three to 10 physicians, while 30 percent are in groups of more than 11 physicians.

3. Daily patient volume for orthopedists is 50 patient visits per day for 39.3 percent of practices; another 32.6 percent see more than 101 patients per day.

4. Orthopedic surgeons earn an average of $482,000 annually, according to Medscape, with self-employed orthopedists earning an average of $505,000 per year. However, some practices including Philadelphia-based Rothman Institute have surgeons that are foregoing income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Among orthopedic surgeons who own their own practices, 49 percent own a solo practice while 50 percent are owners in a group practice. Several orthopedic practices around the country are transitioning to telehealth visits amid the COVID-19 pandemic and canceling elective, non-essential procedures. This is having a significant impact on practice revenue.

6. Around 33 percent of orthopedists use physician assistants in their practices and 29 percent use nurse practitioners. Some physician groups have begun furloughing staff or assigning them to different responsibilities while physical locations for the practice are temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

7. There are around 720,000 knee replacements and 330,000 hip replacements performed each year, according to Healthgrades. However, the federal government and many state officials have asked surgeons to delay elective procedures, including non-essential orthopedic surgeries, so resources can be diverted to treat COVID-19 patients. The precaution also limits the spread of COVID-19.

8. Orthopedic device companies are looking for new ways to partner with surgeons and practices during the period when they ramp back up after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Moody's expects to see slow growth due to the negative impact of postponing elective procedures, but it projects the procedures will be made up in the latter half of the year. The firm also sees robotics playing a big role in orthopedics going forward

More articles on orthopedics:
Massachusetts orthopedic group halts physician pay, furloughs employees due to the coronavirus: 4 details
Rothman surgeons drop pay to avoid employee layoffs, shift to telemedicine: 4 details
16 COVID-19 diagnoses with ties to orthopedics, spine

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