November 8, 2021

ACS: Hospitals sustained huge financial losses during COVID-19 because of postponed elective surgery

Editor's Note

Two studies presented at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress 2021 find that postponement of elective surgical procedures from March to May 2020 because of COVID-19 disrupted surgical care at US hospitals and took away a large portion of hospitals’ total income.

Results of one study found that a 2-month suspension of elective surgery cost a single university healthcare system 42% of its net revenue for 5 months. A total of more than $99 million of net revenue was lost from all surgical departments and $58 million from the department of surgery—with a median net revenue loss of $636,952 per month, per division.

The second study found that nationwide, hospitals lost $1.53 billion from missed elective pediatric surgical procedures alone, with children’s hospitals delaying or canceling more than 51,000 procedures.

As some hospitals are again delaying some elective surgical procedures, the researchers say their findings show the need for better long-term planning to prevent further shutdowns and to ensure that patients have access to the surgical services they need.

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