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Global Pandemic Continues to Impact Non-COVID-19 Hospital Admissions

February 23, 2021

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases late last fall was accompanied by a decline in non-COVID-19 hospital care, according to a new analysis of hospital electronic medical records data.

This month, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Epic Health Research Network updated their report analyzing data for hospital admissions through December 5, 2020. The analysis provides more information about the impact of the pandemic on hospitals and “adds to our understanding of the extent to which people are continuing to delay or forgo care nearly one year into the pandemic.”

Among the key findings in the report:

  • Total hospital admissions dropped to a low point in early April 2020, to nearly 70 percent of predicted admissions, before increasing to at or above 90 percent of predicted rates since June 2020
  • During the pandemic's early days, hospitals in the northeast region had the steepest decline in non-COVID-19 admissions. The northeast had a higher level of non-COVID-19 admissions than any other region during the fall
  • As COVID-19 cases increased during November 2020, non-COVID-19 hospitalizations declined to about 80 percent of predicted hospitalizations by the end of the month

A decline in non-COVID hospitalizations during November “suggests that people may once again be delaying or forgoing care due to the pandemic,” the report notes.

The new analysis follows other reports evaluating the deep impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and patient care. A recent report from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons indicated that New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were significantly impacted during the pandemic, with a 71 percent decrease in overall volume of adult cardiac surgery. Nationwide, there was a 53 percent decrease in adult cardiac surgery volume compared to 2019.

Last year, HAP released a public service campaign emphasizing the importance of routine health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign highlighted the public health precautions hospitals have implemented to ensure patients can safely resume their routine health tests and screenings, scheduled surgeries, and other preventive care procedures. Maintaining this routine care is critical to patients’ overall health.

HAP continues to advocate for Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems as they provide outstanding care to patients across the commonwealth. More information about how hospitals and health systems are ensuring patient safety is available online.