Health Aff (Millwood). 2020 Sep 24:101377hlthaff202000980. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00980. Online ahead of print.
Hospital admissions in the US fell dramatically with the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, little is known about differences in admissions patterns among patient groups or the extent of the rebound. In this study of approximately 1 million medical admissions from a large nationally representative hospitalist group, we found that declines in non-COVID-19 admissions from February to April 2020 were generally similar across patient demographic subgroups and exceeded 20% for all primary admission diagnoses. By late June/early July 2020, overall non-COVID-19 admissions had rebounded to 16% below pre-pandemic baseline volume (8% including COVID-19 admissions). Non-COVID-19 admissions were substantially lower for patients residing in majority-Hispanic neighborhoods (32% below baseline) and remained well below baseline for patients with pneumonia (-44%), COPD/asthma (-40%), sepsis (-25%), urinary tract infection (-24%) and acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), -22%). Health system leaders and public health authorities should focus on efforts to ensure that patients with acute medical illnesses can obtain hospital care as needed during the pandemic to avoid adverse outcomes. [Editor's Note: This Fast Track Ahead Of Print article is the accepted version of the peer-reviewed manuscript. The final edited version will appear in an upcoming issue of Health Affairs.].