In COVID-19 Era, More Patients Appear to Fall Through Cracks

Several months into a pandemic that has fundamentally changed American life, researchers are just starting to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. health care system. During an Oct. 19 webinar hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, experts attempted to shed some light on that wide-ranging impact while underscoring that the effects of the crisis are still evolving.

Michael Kleinrock, a research director at the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, said one of the questions he’s most often asked is “when are we going to start catching up” from the missed doctor visits, delayed surgeries and other types of health care utilization deferred by patients during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Although utilization has bounced back from the significant drops it saw in the spring, based on IQVIA’s analysis it hasn’t yet completely returned to normal levels, he pointed out, “so we’re not catching up.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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