As of mid-to-late 2022, health care utilization had bounced back to levels on par with those seen at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the utilization of some non-COVID health care services remained below expectations based on pre-pandemic trends, according to a recent Peter-KFF Health System Tracker analysis. The number of hospital discharges in the third quarter of 2022 was 9.1 million, or 700,000 discharges below the pre-COVID quarterly average in 2018-2019.
The share of adults who visited a doctor in the last 12 months (83.1%) recovered in 2022 after dipping in 2020-2021, but did not reach the percentage seen in early 2019 (85.3%). Similarly, emergency care utilization saw a rebound last year, yet remained below prepandemic levels. The number of physician encounters per person, however, did rebound to 2019 levels as of the third quarter of 2022.