After more than a month of not performing elective surgeries, healthcare providers are losing a significant amount of revenue.
The pause on elective surgeries was meant to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and allow hospitals to prepare for a major influx of infected patients.
An anesthesiologist from Stanford cited that 41% of cases in Wuhan were likely acquired from hospitals, which is reason enough to reduce the number of people coming into healthcare facilities.
The dramatic impact on revenue
As a result of pausing elective surgeries, the healthcare industry seems on the brink of disaster. Plummeting revenue, compounded by higher costs for supplies like personal protective equipment, has led health care executives to take drastic steps like cutting payroll to try to keep their lights on as they fight the pandemic.
The Department of Labor’s March jobs report showed a loss of nearly 43,000 health positions, the sector’s worst month in at least three decades. And those numbers are from mid-March, before most closures and stay-at-home orders took effect.
According to a Medical Group Management Association survey, nearly half of medical practices have temporarily furloughed staff, while another 22 percent have permanently laid off employees — a situation that is expected to get even worse in the next month.
The road to recovery – resuming elective surgeries
On Sunday, April 19, 2020, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued their initial set of guidelines for re-opening facilities for elective procedures. Jointly, the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and American Hospital Association put out a joint recommended roadmap for resuming elective surgeries after COVID-19 on April 17.
The guidelines provided a phased-in approach to restarting elective procedures. Included in the guidelines is the ability to regularly screen for COVID-19 amongst patients and care providers.
Fifteen states have already announced plans to begin the phased approach by the end of May. These 15 states account for roughly 30% of the total United States population. The remaining states are still evaluating the guidelines and applying them to their current plans of restarting elective procedures in their states.
Amongst some of the elective surgeries being evaluated to restart are for non-emergent, yet time-sensitive procedures, like cancer surgeries and biopsies. These procedures will drive molecular lab volumes to increase as they are phased in over the coming months.
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