Healthcare Operating Margins Remain Tight as COVID-19 Expenses IncreaseNovember 10, 2021
Understanding the EAPG payment methodology and its impact on reimbursementDecember 27, 2021
What happened when COVID-19 first hit the world?
When the novel coronavirus started spreading all across the globe, the healthcare industry labeled it as doom and gloom. It was mainly from a financial standpoint. The entire healthcare system became quite haphazard. Nonurgent surgeries were halted without any prior notice. Healthcare professionals wanted to put all their energy into treating the threat at hand i.e. COVID-19.
Patients were put under observation for longer than normal because doctors did not know how long it would take them to cure this virus. They were completely alien to what treatment was needed and how long it all would take. It also put the healthcare system into a financial tailspin.
However, despite such barriers, the healthcare industry did manage to stand back on its feet.
Profit margins for both nonprofit and for-profit healthcare facilities grew in 2020.
Hospitals were better at cost-cutting than they had expected. When it came to slimming down the expenses, some of the healthcare facilities showed remarkable results. All this would not have been possible without the help of the employees, teams, and workers. In addition, benefits from the federal governments were another reason for the operating earnings to get boosted. Around 20% of Medicare was added for people affected by the coronavirus.
What about insurance?
There were a lot of healthcare facilities that were worried that there would be a drastic change in people’s insurance coverage. It was because many people were laid off during the lockdown period and insurance is and was mostly associated with the people’s employers.
However, hospitals never saw that huge wave of people who reported not having an insurance plan. So, What does the healthcare industry look like in the wake of a pandemic?
There could be a permanent shift to the different sectors of the healthcare facilities.
Like the emergency department, for instance, intake volumes are now going to be lesser than usual after COVID-19. It is a trend that has emerged from the coronavirus. A lot of these patients were not even getting reimbursed for that care. So, maybe it is not entirely a bad thing.
In fact, we are noticing that healthcare executives are now trying to focus more on investing in urgent care clinics and ambulatory services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also dramatically changed how outpatient care is delivered in health care practices.
To decrease the risk of transmitting the virus to either patients or health care workers within their practice, providers are deferring elective and preventive visits, such as annual physicals. When possible, they are also converting in-person visits to telemedicine visits. For their part, many patients are also avoiding visits because they do not want to leave their homes and risk exposure. Also influencing both provider and patient behavior are the evolving local and state recommendations restricting travel and nonessential services.
In conclusion, The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the delivery of inpatient and outpatient care. Health care practices are continuing to defer elective visits, and modify their practices to safely accommodate in-person visits, and increase their use of telemedicine.