June 5, 2020 / Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor
Hospital emergency departments are seeing steep declines in the numbers of patients they’re treating, and April was an especially rough month. In fact, from April to 2019 to April 2020 there was a 42% decline in emergency department visits, according to data published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s had a direct impact on hospital finances as facilities have lost millions in ED revenue at a time when many are still treating high numbers of COVID-19 patients.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
Those who use the ED as a safety net because they lack access to primary care and telemedicine might be disproportionately affected if they avoid seeking care because of concerns about the infection risk in the ED, the data suggests.
Mid-April saw the largest dip overall, but low ED numbers persisted into May, with 26% lower utilization found in the last full week of that month.