News: Non-COVID emergency department visits fell for all acuity levels during pandemic, study finds

CDI Strategies - Volume 15, Issue 24

Research published in Health Affairs found a 35% reduction in emergency department (ED) visits during the COVID-19 pandemic at BJC HealthCare, a St. Louis-based health system, HealthLeaders reported. 

Declines in ED visits during the pandemic have been widely reported across the country. Patients have reported avoiding ED visits due to fear of contracting COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, and decreased childcare options linked to school closures.

The new research examined data from more than 1.2 million ED visits for non-COVID-19 conditions from January 2018 to June 2020. The research included assessing whether decreases in ED visits were associated with insurance status or race, HealthLeaders reported.

“These findings suggest a need to inform the public of health conditions that require timely ED care and to improve access to alternative, lower-risk settings of care, especially for populations with social or medical risk factors,” the research article’s co-authors wrote.

Editor’s note: To read HealthLeaders’ coverage of this story, click here. To read the full research findings, click here. To read about another study on ED visit reductions, click here.

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