Interview Synopsis

COVID-19 – impact on the US hospital system

  • Multi Asset
  • Healthcare
  • North America

America now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. But with an insurance-based, decentralised healthcare system, the outbreak’s effects here could play out very differently from elsewhere. To understand more about these impacts, Third Bridge Forum sat down with a former VP from HCA Healthcare Inc.

COVID-19 and America’s healthcare system: what’s the prognosis?

The specialist started the Interview by outlining how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting various hospital services and the US healthcare system. As cases are unevenly distributed across the country, some regions are preparing for a spike in patient numbers, whereas “in the northeast and in the west… it’s really become all COVID, all the time”. Moreover, the pros and cons of decentralisation were covered.

Many elective procedures, which “form a significant portion of the margin of hospitals”, are being delayed as a result of COVID-19 and its impact on the US healthcare system. When they will be resumed is uncertain: “what level of subsidence do we need in order for patients to feel comfortable choosing a hospital as the location for their elective procedure, and are we going to get past that this year?” It is also unclear what locations they will choose, as people might not feel comfortable being treated in the same places as COVID-19 patients.

A number of medium to long-term consequences were also discussed. For instance, there are some aspects of the healthcare system that could see greater uptake as a result of the outbreak. One example is telemedicine. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have recently relaxed rules around providing remote healthcare and what can be called a hospital. Another area that could expand is ambulatory surgery centres.

How a potential recession and higher unemployment could affect hospitals, as well as if there will be any different impacts on for-profit and non-profit entities were also covered. The Interview ended with the specialist discussing what happens in the next 12-18 months, when demand returns to hospitals after the COVID-19 pandemic. “What kind of things can you do creatively, so when all these people show up, and they say, “Hey, we want our care,” how do you find ways to say yes to them?”

To access all the human insights from Third Bridge Forum’s COVID-19 – Impact on the US Hospital System Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

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