Tens of Thousands of Health Care Workers Are Losing Their Jobs

The pandemic is affecting job security for the medical field in surprising ways

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readMay 1, 2020

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Photo: ADELART/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is a massive health crisis, and yet thousands of health care workers are losing their jobs. Altarum, a nonprofit research and consulting firm, reported that 43,000 health care jobs were lost in March — the greatest loss seen in three decades. Most of the layoffs have occurred for people working in non-hospital settings, like private practice doctor and dentist offices. (Vox has a good outline of hospital systems that have undergone layoffs and furloughs.)

“Physician private practices are an often overlooked and underappreciated casualty of Covid-19,” says Dr. Jeff Livingston, the CEO of Macarthur Medical Center, which specializes in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) in Irvington, Texas. “Independent practices function like all service industry businesses. Revenue generated by services rendered is used to pay the overhead. This includes physician salaries, but also rent, utilities, staff salaries, equipment leases, vaccines, and supplies.”

With few people coming in for routine evaluations and a ban on elective procedures, clinics can face sharp revenue declines. Livingston, who wrote a detailed feature on the issue that’s worth a

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Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that