Hospital earnings face cuts as coronavirus delays elective care

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Hospitals and patients are canceling or postponing elective procedures and appointments in preparation for a surge in patients infected with COVID-19, according to Market Watch.

So far the cancellations have been minimal, according to a March 10 survey conducted by investment firm Jefferies. The survey included 60 anesthesiologists, interventional cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons. However, Jefferies analysts said the delays will likely negatively affect hospital earnings in the first half of 2020.

One health system, San Francisco-based UCSF Health, is postponing up to 7,000 appointments a day, according to the report. Gina Intinarelli, PhD, RN, vice president of population health at UCSF, told Market Watch, "We're starting to create capacity by closing off certain elective surgeries, like rescheduling patients who can be rescheduled."

Another West Coast health system, Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health, told the publication it has plans to look into whether elective surgeries should be postponed but hasn't canceled any surgeries yet.

Jefferies said in a note that any losses will likely be made up.

"We believe delayed procedures will eventually be made up at hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers once COVID tapers," Jefferies analysts said in a note cited by Market Watch. "The net impact on healthcare providers should be modest for FY20, barring a full-blown pandemic."

More articles on healthcare finance:
North Carolina health system files for bankruptcy
Physician-owned hospital in Ohio closes
Texas medical group files for bankruptcy

 

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