April 12, 2021

Financial impact of canceled elective surgeries estimated at $22.3 billion

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, estimates the national revenue loss because of cessation of major elective surgeries during COVID-19 to be $22.3 billion.

Sensitivity analysis finds that the recovery time to market equilibrium once elective surgeries fully resume is influenced by pre- and post-COVID-19 capacity utilization.


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Median recovery time is projected to be 12 to 22 months, with lower pre-COVID-19 utilization linked to fewer months to recovery.

Rural and urban nonteaching hospitals may face increased financial risk, which may exacerbate care disparities.

If patient demand is slow to return, hospitals should focus on marketing of services, and if hospital capacity is constrained, capacity expansion may be beneficial, the authors say.

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