Blog Post

Monitoring the COVID-19 Recovery: A Review of May CPT Volumes

Monitoring The Covid 19 Recovery May Cpt Volumes Web

With significant reductions in patient volumes continuing to affect healthcare organizations’ financial sustainability in the wake of COVID-19, ECG is conducting monthly assessments of provider productivity for participating organizations. In this longitudinal assessment, ECG is comparing 2020 WRVUs by month to the same period in 2019 for all participating organizations’ providers.

For physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs), we found an average 49% decrease in April 2020 WRVUs compared to April 2019. For May, this loss recovered to an average 33% decrease.

In May 2020, hospital-based physicians experienced the largest recovery, jumping from an average 39% decrease in volumes in April to a 16% decrease in May. For 9 of the 10 organizations assessed in May, hospital-based physicians experienced a decrease in volumes relative to May 2019, while one organization saw a nearly 60% increase in volumes.

All other specialty categories recognized an average 33% to 35% decrease in May 2020 WRVUs compared to last year. Figure 1 shows the WRVU variance for physician specialty categories as well as APPs across all specialties.

Figure 1: 2020 WRVU Volumes Compared to 2019 by
Provider Specialty Category and Month

A review of volumes by CPT code types indicates that in May, organizations saw the greatest decrease in medicine and ancillary CPT codes compared to 2019, averaging 39% and 38%, respectively. Figure 2 presents the WRVU variance by CPT code type for physicians and APPs.

Figure 2: 2020 WRVU Volumes Compared to 2019 by CPT Code Type and Month

ECG will continue to track WRVU performance trends to determine the speed at which healthcare organizations are recovering volumes lost from COVID‑19. We will update market trends as additional data is received. To participate in this free study, please contact Paige Ratliff at [email protected] or Maria Hayduk at [email protected].

Methodology: ECG calculated WRVUs for both comparator months utilizing CMS’s 2020 WRVU physician fee schedule. For CPT codes deleted from the 2020 schedule, ECG utilized the 2019 fee schedule. Only providers with productivity data in both comparator months were included in the analysis. (March included 4,306 physicians and 1,491 APPs. April included 4,100 physicians and 1,407 APPs. May included 3,531 physicians and 1,250 APPs.) Data was not adjusted for full-time equivalents. Market averages represent the average across participating organizations and are not weighted by number or provider type. Residents are included in APP counts.