June 16, 2020 / Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor
Hospital and physician spending has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic — so hard, in fact, that in April it reached its lowest point in more than a decade.
A recent Altarum analysis shows that, due to the cancellation of elective procedures and low patient volume, tanking healthcare usage has contributed to a 24.3% decline in spending over a 12-month span, hitting a low of $2.88 trillion in April. Hospital care spending dipped from $1.25 trillion to $746 billion during that time.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
Hospital spending and physician and clinical services spending fell by 40.7% and 40.9%, respectively, while dental services declined by 60.8% year over year. As in March, spending declined in all major personal healthcare categories except nursing home care and prescription drugs, which rose 6.3% and 5.1% year over year, respectively.
Interestingly, the prescription drug rate is down from 14% in March, when patients may have been stocking up over concerns such as stay-at-home orders.