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COVID-19 Elective Surgery Delays Cost Hospitals Billions

February 16, 2021

Researchers estimate that U.S. hospitals lost more than $22 billion in potential revenues tied to cancellations of elective surgeries because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study in the Annals of Surgery.

In the spring of 2020, many states ordered hospitals to pause elective surgeries – a substantial source of hospital revenues – in order to devote resources of staff and beds for the care of COVID-19 patients. To calculate the losses incurred because of those delays, researchers used data from a nationwide sample of elective surgical cases from 2016 – 2017 to forecast the impact from March 2020 to May 2020 on hospitals’ revenues across the country.

The researchers also calculated that it would take a median of one to two years for many hospitals to recover from those revenue losses.
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