COVID-19 restrictions cost health care industry jobs and revenue

On March 19th, Gov. Walz “signed Executive Order 20-09, ordering health care providers to postpone elective surgeries and procedures, including non-emergent elective dental procedures, to focus health care capacity and equipment on responding to COVID-19 cases and other emergencies.” This has had a considerable impact on the health care industry. According to Star Tribune:

Fairview Health Services is one of the state’s largest nonprofit groups with more than 34,000 employees. Under the brand M Health Fairview, the health system operates 80 primary- and specialty-care clinics as well as nine hospitals including University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis and Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina.

Last year, Fairview posted an operating loss of $215.9 million on revenue of $6.12 billion. The results were worse than 2019, when the health system saw a smaller loss of $96.2 million on about $6 billion of revenue.

The losses in 2020 came despite growth in Fairview’s specialty pharmacy business, Batson said, as well as its PreferredOne health plans. The health system also benefited from one-time factors.

The losses were a combination of many things. But mainly they were due to the fact that government-mandated restrictions curtailed elective services effectively reducing hospital and clinic volumes.

A COVID-19 surge last spring followed by a resurgence in November drove operating losses last year at Fairview Health Services as the Minneapolis-based health system saw patients delay care amid diminished demand for nonpandemic services.

Like other health care providers, Fairview curtailed nonemergency services to preserve resources for pandemic patients last year. Overall, patient registrations for outpatient services slipped by 21%, according to a financial statement released this week, while inpatient admissions were off by 11%.

During the pandemic, the health care industry should have thrived– sick people after all demand health care services. What happened was the opposite, however. The health care industry faced a significant loss in employment – 9 percent between March and April 2020. It By wiping away the demand for some health care services, COVID-19 restrictions cost Minnesotans job and providers revenue. Not only that but the decline in screenings is expected to increase mortality for health issues like cancer.