How Is COVID-19 Shaping the Healthcare Industry In the USA?
At some point, the COVID-19 will be gone for good, but it has already affected the healthcare sector to a significant extent.
At the moment, hospitals and physicians, who are primarily dealing with COVID-19 cases, face two major challenges:
- A large number of patients can’t afford the treatment.
- An indefinite postponement of non-emergency care has robbed the hospitals of one of their biggest revenue sources.
If the threat of COVID-19 lingers for months, it is likely to cause dreadful aftereffects on an already ravaged healthcare industry. Recent trends indicate that healthcare organizations are reacting to the reduction in elective and primary care by cutting down staff that is tied to those services. Numbers say it all—by April, more than 2 million people lost jobs in the healthcare industry.
Since salaries make up almost half of the cost of primary care services, solvency has been controlled with furloughs. However, the bitter reality stands that bills need to be paid, and there’s no feasible route that can decrease the remaining costs.
Rural healthcare institutions have it worse; their profit margins are considerably lower than their urban counterparts. This especially rings true for the South, where approximately 100 hospitals were shut down in the last decade. Small primary care and specialty offices struggle from the same vulnerability due to their dependence on primary care physicians.
After normalcy hopefully returns by the fall or at least in 2021, small and large businesses can consider unification. This can become the norm because smaller hospitals need capital, whereas physicians want greater job security, which they can find in larger hospitals. Many in the industry are collaborating on COVID-19, so merging them can be only a matter of time. Moreover, many of the doctors and staff have lost their lives during the ongoing pandemic. Hence, adding more physicians and nurses would be the need of the hour.
The proliferation of COVID-19 has triggered an explosive growth in the telemedicine sector. In March, the Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, Ohio) completed nearly 60,000 telemedicine for visits. Other trends that have changed the healthcare practices is the broadening of clinician license—they can practice in more states.
The COVID-19 has already made deep inroads into the healthcare industry of the U.S. The only question is: how much more change can one expect?
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