January 11, 2023

Effect of state order curtailing elective surgery on volume during COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, finds that the introduction and removal of Michigan’s executive order curtailing elective surgery during COVID-19 lagged behind the ramp-down and ramp-up of elective surgery volume.

Hospitals had already achieved a 91.7% reduction in case volume before the executive order was introduced. By the time the order was rescinded, hospitals were already performing elective surgery at 60.1% of pre-pandemic case rates.

The researchers estimate that a backlog of 6,419 procedures was created while the executive order was in effect. If hospitals had ceased elective surgery during this time, an additional 18% of patients would have had delays in their surgical care.

The findings suggest that executive orders may not effectively modulate surgical care and could contribute to unnecessary delays in surgery, the researchers say.

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