The likely economic impact of fewer elective surgical procedures on US hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: To help control the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, elective procedures have been cancelled in most US hospitals by government order. The purpose of this study is to estimate national hospital reimbursement and net income losses owing to elective surgical procedure cancellation during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Methods: The National Inpatient Sample and the Nationwide Ambulatory Surgery Sample were used to identify all elective surgical procedures performed in the inpatient setting and in hospital-owned outpatient surgery departments throughout the United States. Total cost, reimbursement, and net income was determined for all elective surgical procedures. Results: The estimated total annual cost of elective inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures in the United States was $147.2 billion, and estimated total hospital reimbursement was $195.4 to $212.2 billion. This resulted in a net income of $48.0 to $64.8 billion per year to the US hospital system. Cancellation of all elective procedures would result in estimated losses of $16.3 to $17.7 billion per month in revenue and $4 to $5.4 billion per month in net income to US hospitals. Conclusion: Cancellation of elective procedures during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has a substantial economic impact on the US hospital system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-967
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery (United States)
Volume168
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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