The Untold Costs of COVID-19
Throughout the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the major news story in both the medical field and daily news for much of 2020, and for good reason. What the news is missing is an accounting of the health impact the pandemic has had on people who are avoiding the doctor or the emergency room for other medical evaluations or treatments due to the fear of contracting COVID-19. The “non-COVID-19” treatment deficit is causing immediate health impacts, as well as an increased potential for further negative effects for years into the future.
Leaders of both the government and healthcare systems had suspended elective procedures for some time to help reduce hospital occupancy and slow the spread of the virus, which was the appropriate decision at the time. As the pandemic has evolved leaders have decided that elective procedures can and should resume to treat and prevent larger health issues. This announcement is welcome news for patients who have been waiting for these procedures to address both newly diagnosed as well as ongoing medical conditions. These procedural delays have not only caused worsening medical conditions but also a significant impact on the patient’s mental well-being as they struggle to cope with delayed treatments. These untreated conditions can spread to nearby organs or body parts and increase the overall level of pain you feel as well as cause more damage to your body that may need to be operated on at some point in the future. There is also a financial impact that must not be overlooked. Advancing, untreated conditions will most likely lead to a greater need for medical, pharmaceutical, and surgical intervention, increasing costs to the healthcare system and out-of-pocket costs to the patient.
Unfortunately, this change in policy to resume more elective healthcare procedures does not mean every needed elective procedure or screening will take place. Many Americans are still worried that visits to hospitals, outpatient centers, and doctor’s offices will lead to exposure to and potential infection from COVID-19. There is still a significant lack of knowledge regarding the protective impact of the exhaustive cleanliness and sanitation procedures adopted by healthcare facilities in specific response to the pandemic. Such measures are a direct attempt to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to patients while allowing patients access to potentially life-saving medical treatments and necessary preventative care.
Mobile Anesthesiologists is actively supporting efforts to reopen the entire healthcare system to address health needs while ensuring the community’s safety. We have taken every precaution to ensure that our patients, doctors, and staff are following all the current CDC guidelines. These range from complete access to and wearing of required personal protective equipment, thorough cleaning of our anesthesia equipment, and assisting the facilities we serve with enhanced cleaning of treatment areas in-between patients. We are also committed to ongoing symptom evaluation, from screenings up to 1 week prior to appointments to thorough symptom evaluation upon entering our offices. Our unwavering commitment to these precautionary efforts helps ensure the safety of our team members, our physicians, and most importantly the safety of our patients.
Safety, however, must extend beyond the immediate need of protection from the virus, to the overall health of the community. While COVID-19 remains at the forefront, we need to resume care to protect ourselves against other medical concerns. Patients shouldn’t have to choose between being protected from COVID-19 and receiving preventive care. Mobile has everything necessary to allow our clients and patients to provide and access both. We will do whatever is necessary to offer options to keep all of us safe and healthy both now and well into the future. We look forward to taking care of you and providing you the best care available through and past this epidemic.