WHAIC Data Show Effects of COVID-19 on State Hospitals
Part Four: COVID-19 Case Surge (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020)
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
This week, The Valued Voice
focuses on the COVID-19 case surge in Wisconsin in late 2020, when rampant virus spread caused hospitalizations to spike dramatically, straining the entire health system. During this time, health systems were severely stressed and COVID-19 patients supplanted, or “crowded out,” other health care services.
A Real Surge:
- Health systems severely stressed, with 76 hospitals reaching peak capacity in November
- Hundreds of patents ready for discharge to nursing homes had to remain in hospital beds due to nursing home intake restrictions
- Waiting rooms and ambulance bays converted for patient care in some places
- ICU beds at or near capacity in parts of the state
- Many hospitals experienced serious workforce shortages
- Staff overwhelmed with patient surge
Non-COVID Care Plummets, Again:
- Outpatient surgeries and procedures fall 13% compared to 2019
- Emergency department visits fall 20% compared to 2019
- Fear and stigma associated with COVID patients in hospitals deterred patients from seeking regular care
Health Impact: As COVID-19 cases climbed, inpatient volume was down 9% and never did return to 2019 levels, again delaying certain kinds of care and increasing long-term health risks.
Hospital Impact: Hospital COVID-19 patients requiring inpatient and/or intensive care increased dramatically, which crowded out other non-COVID health care services and created significant staffing challenges.
This story originally appeared in the May 20, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter