4 in 10 say COVID-19 reduced their access to care, CDC survey shows

Dive Brief:

  • Nearly 40% of people have had reduced access to medical care because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research and Development Survey published this week.
  • About 48% said they had reduced access for any reason, including the pandemic. The largest age range to report not receiving planned care because of the novel coronavirus was those aged 45 to 64 at nearly 42%, according to the survey, which gathered data from June 9 to July 6.
  • A separate CDC RANDS survey found that nearly 37% of people said their provider now offers a form of telehealth, compared to about 14% who said it was offered before the pandemic.

Dive Insight:

Healthcare organizations have been pushing for people to return to receiving routine medical care at hospitals and doctors’ offices. While such services were shut down in many areas during the end of March and April, providers say they can now safely deliver care.

They also emphasize that deferred care can lead to complications that are more dangerous and costly to treat.

Providers have implemented measures such as mask requirements, temperature checks and waiting room redesigns to help mitigate potential spread and put patients at ease.

Still, the survey suggests people are clearly not able to get all the care they think they should have.

Dental care had the most reduced access due to the pandemic with a quarter of respondents flagging that area. Nearly 13% said they had less access for vision care or a regular checkup, while urgent care was barely affected.

More than 30% of people with one or more chronic conditions reported reduced access, along with 44.4% with diabetes, nearly 37% with asthma and about 33% with hypertension.

The telemedicine survey jibes with other research showing skyrocketing use of virtual care as people avoid traditional settings.

About a quarter of respondents said they scheduled a telemedicine appointment. Those aged 65 and over, a group at high risk from COVID-19, were most likely to schedule one (32%), followed by those between 45 and 64 (27%) and those between 18 and 44 (18.8%).