The Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center (WHAIC) has quantified and documented the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Wisconsin’s health care system in a new report
published this week.
The Valued Voice
will devote space to this report’s findings over the coming weeks to highlight the ongoing challenges COVID-19 has created for Wisconsin hospitals as they responded to the pandemic on multiple fronts while continuing to provide care to non-COVID patients as able and permitted.
“Throughout the pandemic, WHAIC has aided the state’s COVID-19 response by providing real-time data tools, dashboards and custom reports to help health care decision makers and stakeholders better assess the effect of the health emergency on the state’s hospitals, including daily updates to a COVID-19 dashboard
that has now been viewed one million times since it was first created in April 2020,” said WHAIC Vice President Jennifer Mueller. “This succinct report further illustrates through data, analysis and objective narrative the impacts of COVID-19 on Wisconsin hospitals, health systems and patients last year.”
WHAIC’s "COVID-19 Effects on Wisconsin Hospitals, Health Systems and Patient Care
" report captures the measurable effects of the pandemic on hospital service delivery during three distinct stages of the pandemic thus far: non-emergent care shutdown (April 1 – June 30, 2020); reopening of non-emergent care (July 1 – Sept. 30, 2020); and COVID-19 case surge (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020).
Summary data from the report, which will be given fuller context in future editions of The Valued Voice
include the following.
Impacts of three-month federal suspension of non-emergent care:
During the fourth-quarter COVID case surge, the majority of statewide inpatient volume was COVID-related, causing non-COVID care to plummet again:
- Non-emergent care and some diagnostics delayed
- Inpatient activity fell 19%
- Outpatient surgeries and procedures fell 45%
- Emergency department visits fell 30%
- $2.5 billion in lost revenue
- Care required by hospitalized COVID patients crowded out other care and severely stressed the state’s health care workforce
- Outpatient surgeries and procedures fell 13%
- Emergency department visits fell 20%
- Fear and stigma associated with COVID-19 deterred patients from seeking regular care
While more recent data show that hospital services are beginning to approach pre-pandemic levels, the long-term financial and health effects of cancelled or delayed regular care are significant.