Delayed Care During Pandemic - What you Should Know
Covid-19 has made us realize many things, but the importance of universal access to affordable care has become the focal point. The disparities that have become evident with the number of cases skyrocketing have opened our eyes to the privilege offered by the health plans.
But another topic that has captured the attention now is the danger of postponed health care services. The experts are now urging people to focus more on preventive care since it can lead to dire consequences.
What is Delayed Medical Care?
With the people staying at home due to pandemic safety concern, numerous regular checkups and cancer screenings have been avoided or postponed. This is now estimated to increase the morbidity and mortality of both the acute and chronic diseases.
The fear of people contracting the virus during hospital visits is one of the major reasons for the delaying or avoiding timely medical care. Because of the concerns about COVID-19, about 41% of the adult U.S. citizens delayed their medical care. By June 30, last year, 12% of people who require emergency care and 32% of people requiring routine care also avoided their treatments.
Delayed health care has been more prevalent among people with disabilities, people with two or more underlying conditions, women, and people of color. While some of the appointments are cancelled by health care providers in favor of rerouting services to COVID-19 patients, most have voluntarily dropped out in fear of encountering the virus.
Consequences of delayed health care
The delayed health care and routine checkups result in delayed diagnosis of any health condition. Later the diagnosis is, more severe the outcome becomes. Here are some statistics which show the steep drop in the level of screenings in various health areas.
• The newly diagnosed cardiovascular disease dropped about 30% last year from the pre-pandemic levels.
• Diagnosis of diabetes was down about 40%
• Colon cancer screening was down about 25%, and cervical cancer to about 15%. The National Cancer Institute expects about 10,000 preventable cancer deaths over the next decade owing to the pandemic-related delayed screenings.
• Paediatric visits were down to about 27% from pre-pandemic levels, and the vaccine doses also fell dramatically
Rise of Telehealth
Telehealth served to be the savior for most people, but there is a limit to the care that can be provided from a screen. Telehealth cannot accomplish what regular checkups and screenings do. Also, 90% of the total telemedicine visits were audio-only visits.
Telehealth also faced disparities in its use, with the white respondents frequenting it more than the people of color. This might be attributed to the incongruity in the income, education, and access to health care of these individuals. Language barrier was also one of the reasons for this discrepancy in access to telehealth.
Before we go
As per experts, the pandemic effect on healthcare will continue even after COVID-19. Keeping health as the main focus, make sure to get vaccinated and then attend your regular checkups. If you have any doubts about insurance cover to these checkups or updating your insurance plan, our insurance agent can help you. With over 60 years of expertise in the insurance field, we can offer you with the best solutions.
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