Nearly 55% fewer Americans seeking hospital care during COVID-19

Nearly 55% fewer Americans seeking hospital care during COVID-19

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | May 12, 2020
Business Affairs

A contributing factor is the 114% rise in uninsured or self-pay patients over the last 90 days from its previous 7% figure in January to 15% in May. The finding reflects the rise in the national unemployment rate, and such patients can expect to end up on Medicaid rolls, which will further strain state budgets.

This, along with stay-at-home orders and fears of contracting the virus, have led to drops in the number of people seeking both inpatient and outpatient care. Among these declines are patients needing treatment for congestive heart failure (55%); heart attacks (57%); stroke (56%); hypertension (37%); and diabetes (67%). The highest drop in patient visits were for services related to cataracts (97%); sleep apnea (91%); osteoarthritis (88%); and glaucoma (88%). A more than 75% decrease was also observed in volumes of patients seeking preventative wellness, gynecologic wellness and screenings, and GI benign neoplasms and polyps, including colonoscopies for the removal of polyps.

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“The data is clear that the initial relief package given to hospitals and healthcare providers will not be enough,” said Michelson. “More funding will be needed to ensure that they can keep their doors open to provide essential care for the communities they serve while still preparing and caring for COVID 19 patients."

Increases were observed in normal delivery (1%) and C-section (2%), as well as mechanical ventilation (24%) due to treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Strata aims to keep track of declines in care with the launch of the National Patient and Procedure Volume Tracker, which monitors volume changes in patients across 225 clinical care families and provides weekly updates.

It also has put together a COVID-19 Cost Capture Recovery Model for understanding the cost and revenue impact of the virus; a COVID-19 assumption tracker with a consolidated list of assumptions of health systems for building a financial forecast that accounts for COVID-19 impact; COVID-19 Starter Set Dashboards; and a COVID-19 Resources website.

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