Doctor with tablet

Latest surge cited as reason for delays.

Hospitals continue to experience challenges from the latest wave of COVID patients; over 750,000 patients were hospitalized last week, with many facilities having no beds. Countless reports appeared describing patients sent hundreds of miles away for care.

While the surge is far below last year’s numbers, it is prompting delays in surgeries and other ambulatory and elective procedures, a large boon to facility and industry revenue. A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute presents concerning numbers reflecting the racial and ethnic care divide, and the organizations caring for these populations:

  • Over 1 in 10 non-elderly adults delayed or went without healthcare in March/April 2021, from fear of virus exposure;
  • Close to 1 in 10 parents delayed or did not obtain care for their children;
  • Hispanic/Latinx and Black adults, and those with lower incomes, delayed care at higher rates:
    • Hispanic/Latinx and Black adults delayed or did not get care 16.2 and 13 percent of the time, respectively, versus white adults at 8.7 percent.
  • Adults with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level were more likely than those with higher incomes to avoid care; 14.9 percent versus 8.2 percent; and
  • Adults with multiple chronic health conditions were more likely than adults with no conditions to report unmet care needs: 16.7 percent versus 7.6 percent:
    • As our Monitor Mondays audience is aware, chronic illness care is associated with 86 percent of the $3.8 trillion price tag for national health expenditures; that’s the rate for 2019, which CMS anticipates will hit at least $7.2. trillion by 2028.


For families with children under 19 years of age:

  • A total of 9.2 percent of parents reported that they delayed or forgone at least one type of care for their children in the past 30 days, due to fear of exposure to coronavirus; and
  • Parents with family incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level were more likely than those with higher incomes to report delaying or forgoing care for their children (12.3 percent versus 6.5 percent).

This week’s Monitor Mondays survey asked our listeners, how much have ambulatory surgeries and elective procedures been impacted by the latest COVID wave at their facility or agency? As long as organizations are forced to manage more patients than expected, the ripple effect will be evident; the survey results appear here.

Programming Note:

Listen to Ellen Fink-Samnick’s live reporting on the social determinants of health every Monday on Monitor Mondays, 10 Eastern.

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