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Medical care plunged in pandemic’s early days, studies show


Fotolia Dive Brief:

A new study of one the nation’s busiest public hospitals in the Western Journal of Medicine concluded that COVID-19 led to a massive drop-off in emergency department visits during the first few weeks of the pandemic.

A second survey by researchers at The Commonwealth Fund found that COVID-19 also interfered with Medicare enrollees’ access to healthcare services, and a majority are managing multiple chronic health conditions.

The new data suggest that providers still have a substantial way to go toward achieving pre-COVID-19 levels of normal encounters with their patients.

Dive Insight:

COVID-19 has been among the biggest disruptors to healthcare delivery the United States has ever encountered. Now a year into the pandemic, academic studies are making its actual impact clearer.A study of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center’s emergency department conducted by the USC Keck School of Medicine found that ED visits slowly but steadily plummeted after state and local officials issued stay-at-home orders. It compared patient data from between January and May of 2018, 2019 and 2020.Although the first nine weeks of ED volume were essentially unchanged from 2018 and 2019, volumes began to sink quickly after that. ED volumes dropped 50% in week 16 […]

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