How Wuhan Virus Shutdowns Are Killing America’s Health Care System
From The Federalist:
The “elective” surgeries we can no longer perform are not “optional.” They are important surgeries that need to be done. “Elective” only implies a surgery can be timed conveniently for the patient. Examples include a biopsy for cancer, or an operation on a diseased organ. Delaying these procedures risks the long-term health of patients.
We expect many of these patients to disappear from our practice, becoming what we call “lost to follow-up.” This means that despite our attempts to get them back into our office, contacting them becomes impossible for any number of reasons. Many of them will resurface later — when their problem is more serious or even irreparable.
Meanwhile, patients with less serious problems have stopped coming in to see us, thereby putting themselves in grave danger of future harm. They have been frightened to the point of believing the risk of COVID-19 exceeds the danger of not treating new or chronic medical problems.
We’re determined to keep our practice open, but smaller practices will be unable to withstand this financial blow. Those that were forced to shut down may never reopen. Some practitioners will have no choice but to sell to hospitals, which already employ 65 percent of the physicians in the country. Hospital stakeholders stand to get even weightier, collecting medical practices at bargain basement rates. Other practices will disappear as many older physicians lose interest in forging ahead. This will be a gut punch to a system already struggling to ensure access to care.