Healthcare jobs declined by 1.4M in April as physician practices shed 243,000 jobs

The number of healthcare jobs declined by 1.4 million in April, led by a major decline in jobs in physicians' and dentists' offices, according to government figures.

The healthcare sector has been slammed by the COVID-19 pandemic due to a steep drop in patient volume. Hospitals have also been hit hard financially by the cancellation of elective procedures, which may resume.

The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday found dentists' offices had the most losses with 503,000. Physicians' offices lost 243,000, and other healthcare practices had 205,000 losses.

Overall, the unemployment rate for the U.S. rose from 10.3% to 14.7%, the highest monthly increase in the history of the federal government’s monthly jobs reports.

RELATED: Physician groups concerned about financial shortfall for treating patients with complex health needs

The employment data are the latest piece of evidence to underscore the massive financial crisis facing primary care physicians and hospitals.

A recent survey found 89% of clinicians reported large decreases in patient volume, and another 57% say less than half of their visits in the last week could be reimbursed.

The Trump administration has given physicians and healthcare workers more flexibility to adopt telehealth, and use of the practice has exploded.

But key questions remain about reimbursement, especially from commercial payers.

President Donald Trump has signed into law $175 billion in funding to help providers, but some groups say much more is needed to plug the massive hole created by COVID-19.