COVID-19 is alive and well in the U.S. In the last six days alone, COVID cases have increased by over 386,000. We never got over the first wave and here we go again with a dramatic rise in new cases in the majority of states across the country.
The previous surge, targeting the mid-Atlantic, Northeast states and west coast, had a dramatic impact across the country as a national healthcare emergency was declared and elective procedures were put on hold. Patients also began avoiding the emergency room and cancelling visits to their doctor for fear of contracting COVID-19. We never really got over the first wave with the pandemic laying bare many ills of the U.S.’s current healthcare system in spite of the heroic efforts of healthcare workers. This is likely only to get worse in foreseeable future.
COVID-19 + Fee for Service = Bad Marriage
What may turn out to be one of the biggest ills in healthcare is the current form of reimbursement. The predominant model, fee-for-service (FFS), only pays out when services are rendered. During this pandemic most healthcare services have been put on hold and thus no payment to providers. This has put tremendous economic strain on healthcare providers of all sizes, leading to significant cost controls including laying off or furloughing staff, cutting pay and benefits and in extreme cases, some smaller provider practices have simply closed…