Mednax sees ‘meaningful’ decline in radiology volume during pandemic, revises revenue forecasts

Physician services provider Mednax said Wednesday that it’s seen “meaningful” declines in imaging volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic, with company officials revising forecasts to account for the deficit.

The Florida-based company said March 25 that imaging orders are falling short of past historical levels, with much of the reduction tied to nonurgent imaging. Mednax has also seen a “significant” impact on its anesthesiology and other office-based practices as patients cancel appointments and skip elective surgeries.

“Due to the rapidly evolving environment and continued uncertainties surrounding the impact of COVID-19 and the likelihood that this impact may materially affect the company’s near-term financial performance, Mednax is withdrawing its previously announced first quarter and preliminary full year outlook for 2020,” the Fort Lauderdale physician firm said in its statement.

Mednax added that such volume declines appear to reflect a deferral of imaging to a later period, “rather than a permanent reduction in demand for its services.” Leaders believe, given the “necessity and critical nature” of its care, the majority of deferrals will lead to a “backlog of demand in the future.”

In the meantime, company officials said they’re augmenting remote capabilities to allow affiliated radiologists to work from home, where possible. They’re also helping to consult third parties about the use of chest imaging to diagnose COVID-19, officials added.

“As a clinician-centric and clinician-led organization, it is in our DNA to run to the fire in times of crisis,” CEO Roger Medel, MD, said in a statement. “Our clinicians are on the frontlines of this pandemic, working tirelessly to help provide critical, life-saving care.”

While the physician firm’s balance sheet “remains strong” and none of its debt matures until late 2023, Mednax is also amending its $1.2 billion revolving credit line. This will allow for “additional interim financial flexibility during this challenging period,” the company said. As of Wednesday, Mednax had about $305 million in unrestricted cash on its balance sheet, including an outstanding balance of $320 million on the credit line with JP Morgan Chase, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

Last month, the company reported a banner year in its radiology division, tallying $500 million in revenue for 2019. Mednax also owns teleradiology giant vRad, which reported earlier this month that its seen a notable uptick in CT volume during the pandemic.