A survey from Bain & Company shows new concerns arising daily for frontline healthcare workers fighting Covid-19. Nearly 60 percent of frontline healthcare workers surveyed are concerned that their organizations are not fully ready to provide elective services again, citing a lack of patient and provider testing and insufficient PPE as the most common barriers to successfully managing the return to elective care.
Meanwhile, the survey shows growing concerns from clinicians over the financial stability of their employers and increasing expectations around pay cuts. Roughly 40 percent of providers are expecting to see their compensation cut for the next three months (May, June and July), up from the 30 percent who expected pay cuts in April. Frontline providers, including primary care providers, point to a reduction in shifts or hours as the primary driver behind changes in wages, while 40 percent of specialists point to cancelled elective procedures.
These are the findings in the third Covid-19 Front Line Pulse Check, a special edition of Bain & Company’s sixth annual Front Line of Healthcare report. The report surveyed over 360 physicians and nurses nationwide, once in March and twice in April, to highlight the evolving sentiments and needs of those fighting Covid-19 on the front lines.
“The perspectives we are hearing from frontline providers indicate a high degree of apprehension about the coming months,” said Joshua Weisbrod, a partner with Bain & Company and head of the firm’s Americas Healthcare practice. “As healthcare organizations seek to resume elective procedures, it will be critical to monitor preparedness, listen to physicians’ needs, and deploy a wide range of resources wisely to continue to support clinicians in a new normal.”
Bain & Company’s study also shows rising concerns from providers about their own mental health, particularly from New York City, the epicenter of the Covid-19 crisis in the US. More than 15 percent of clinicians in New York rank burnout or mental health sustainability as a top concern. Faced with demanding work environments and looming pay cuts, providers point to virtual behavioral health sessions and support groups as the top resources for maintaining their own emotional wellbeing.
Despite the gravity of these findings, the survey results suggest a few areas for cautious optimism. As the Covid-19 caseload curves flatten, frontline provider concern over their own health and safety is dropping—from 76 percent of frontline providers being “very concerned” in the last week of March, to 47 percent in the last week of April. This trend is consistent across US geographies, except for in New York, where the frontline remains the most concerned. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, cities that have been successful in flattening their curves, concern levels have dropped by more than half over the last month.
“After our third bi-weekly survey of frontline clinicians, it is promising to see some improvement in sentiment toward their own physical health and safety,” said Michael Brookshire, a partner with Bain & Company’s healthcare practice and co-author of the report. “However provider concern is spiking around topics like burnout, mental health and financial stability. It will be important to address these issues next and provide frontline workers with effective options, such as virtual counseling visits, clinician support groups and flexible working conditions.”