Hospital Volume Recovery Sluggish Despite More Outpatient Visits

By Jacqueline LaPointe, Rev Cycle Intelligence
June 3, 2020

Driven by an uptick in outpatient visits, hospital volume is rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. But volumes are still well off 2019 levels as patients continue to avoid inpatient and ED care.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a dramatic reduction in hospital volumes and consequently revenues, but the providers are slowly starting to recover as patients seek more outpatient care, according to new data.

Hospital visits overall are starting to trend upward, an updated TransUnion analysis of over 500 hospitals revealed this week. The update showed that hospital visits, which in this analysis included outpatient, emergency department (ED), and inpatient services, were down between 20 and 40 percent between the weeks of March 1st and May 10th compared to pre-COVID-19 volumes. This is up from the 33 to 62 percent declines between the weeks of March 1st and April 12th.

The recent upward trend was driven by significant increases in outpatient visits, the authors stated.

Outpatient hospital visits bottomed out during the week of April 5th as communities made the decision to shelter-at-home and cancel or postpone all elective, non-emergent services. However, the updated analysis found that hospital outpatient visits were down just 31 percent the week of May 10th versus 64 percent about a month prior.

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