For some more than others, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Still, medical practices remain at the center of battling the virus as they treat patients. They also face personal financial pressures like many of their American counterparts.

More than half of clinicians (55%) fear another wave of the virus. They are stressed because of potentially limited access to testing and personal protective equipment, according to a survey of 730 primary care clinicians in 49 states and Washington, D.C.

Caregivers say they are under severe stress (76%). Fifty-one percent worry they will have trouble accessing testing, and 59% say they have no PPE.

The Larry A. Green Center conducted the survey with the Primary Care Collaborative from May 15-18.

Along with these struggles, most clinicians (84%) indicate that their practice’s finances are in trouble, too, as they have reduced patient volumes, with 53% saying they want "payment of any kind at this point," the survey found. Patients are delaying and postponing chronic and preventive health concerns due to stay-at-home orders, clinicians report.

Because of the current conditions, physicians are facing similar struggles as others. Some say they'll try to sell their practices; others will close or retire.

Follow-ups for lung disease, hypertension, and diabetes is happening "very little" (58%) or "not at all" (2%). New symptom evaluation or acute injuries and accidents continues unchecked, however.

“We see a growing concern among clinicians about preventive and chronic care that isn’t happening, either because patients are putting off anything but the most urgent health concerns during the pandemic or because some preventive and chronic care needs are not amenable to digital health platforms,” said Rebecca Etz, Ph.D., co-director of The Larry A. Green Center.

According to the survey, 40% of primary care clinicians said they’ve laid off or furloughed staff, and 42% say staff has been out because of illness or quarantine.

Like many businesses that have been forced to pivot models because of a changing business environment, clinicians turned their attention to virtual care during the pandemic to care for patients remotely.

Telehealth isn’t the be-all-end-all, though. Eighty-four percent of clinicians measured in the study said they continue to encounter patients who struggle with virtual health.

"Front-line clinicians are in a double bind: They can take care of their patients without sufficient payment and personal protection from COVID-19, or they can abandon their patients. They choose to continue to serve, despite the hardships. It's inspiring," Etz added.

In a separate report featured by the American Medical Association, physician practices of all sizes state that they face financial problems caused by the countermeasures designed to mitigate COVID-19. Almost all (97%) of practices experienced a negative financial impact. Less than half of primary caregivers have enough patient volume and cash to stay open for the next four weeks. The AMA posted its update regarding the study on May 8.

These data were present in a webinar hosted by Henry Schein Medical, "Physician Practice Financial Sustainability During the COVID-19 Pandemic," and featured AMA experts. The AMA said the discussion focused on financial strategies and new federal programs available to physician practices to address the challenges brought on by COVID-19.