COVID-19 has rocked the entire healthcare ecosystem and pediatric surgery is no exception. Some may think that because there have been fewer cases of COVID-19 reported in children compared to adults, pediatric surgeons would not be disrupted as much as their adult counterparts, but in fact COVID-19 is dramatically shifting the pediatric surgery landscape. Here are three ways that COVID-19 is changing pediatric surgery.
Mounting Margin Pressures
The pandemic has taken a toll on pediatric surgical volume. Elective surgeries were postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, not all of which will not be rescheduled.
This reduction in volume is exacerbated by a shift in payor mix as millions of children lost their health insurance during the pandemic. Rescheduled elective surgeries are likely to have a higher proportion of patients on Medicaid and a lower proportion of patients with employee sponsored health insurance as Medicaid/CHIP enrollment increased by 8.6% nationally between February 2020, right before the pandemic began, and September 2020 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2772537