Impact of reduced elective ophthalmic surgical volume on U.S. hospitals during the early coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

Michael J. Fliotsos, Matthew J. Best, Matthew G. Field, Uma Srikumaran, Michael X. Repka, Fasika A. Woreta, Divya Srikumaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose:To estimate the financial impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related shutdowns on ophthalmic surgery performed at hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) in the United States.Setting:Nationally representative sample of U.S. hospital payment and cost data.Design:Retrospective review and economic impact analysis.Methods:The Nationwide Ambulatory Surgery Sample (NASS) was used to identify ophthalmic surgical procedures and associated charges, which were performed at HOPDs. The highest volume elective ophthalmic procedures were identified. The total hospital cost and payment amount was calculated for each procedure using the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Net facility income (estimated payments less OPPS rates) was determined for each elective surgical procedure category and stratified by hospital teaching status.Results:In 2017, elective cataract, strabismus, and keratoplasty surgeries were performed 1 230 992 times at HOPDs. The total cost of these elective surgeries was 2350 million U.S. dollars (USD), with a total hospital payment of 3624 to 3786 million USD. This led to an estimated net income of 1278 to 1440 million USD overall to U.S. hospitals in the NASS dataset from elective ophthalmic surgery (approximately 107 to 120 million USD per month), with a larger proportion performed in teaching hospitals.Conclusions:The cessation of elective ophthalmic surgeries at HOPDs during COVID-19 resulted in a significant loss of income for hospitals in the United States and teaching experiences for trainees at academic medical centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cataract and refractive surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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