Published In

Southern Economic Journal

Document Type


Publication Date



COVID 19 (Disease) -- United States -- Health Care


Using data generated through simulated patient calls to a national random sample of primary care physicians between February and July 2020, we examine the effects of the first wave of COVID-19 on the availability of the U.S. primary care physician workforce for routine new patient appointments. As states enacted stay-at-home orders, physicians overall became less selective by insurance, and there was a 7 percentage-point increase in acceptance of patient insurance. Telemedicine appointment offers increased 10.2 percentage points from near zero. However, relative to younger counterparts, physicians older than the sample mean (53.1 years) became 18.1 percentage points less likely to offer appointments and decreased their estimated appointment duration by 7.1 min. Compared to male physicians, female physicians became 10 percentage points more likely to accept new patients. These insights into appointment offers during the first wave of COVID-19 may help policymakers seeking to ensure an adequate physician workforce during future crises.


Copyright (c) 2023 The Authors

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Persistent Identifier

Included in

Economics Commons