Outpatient visits bounce back
Outpatient visits have returned to their pre-pandemic levels after declining by nearly 60%, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.
Why it matters: The massive drop-off in people seeking medical care was bad both for providers and for patients, many of whom delayed care for conditions that may have worsened.
Yes, but: Visits vary by age, provider specialty and insurance type.
- Visits by young children still are still well below the baseline.
- And while dermatology and adult primary care visits are substantially up, behavioral health and cardiology visits remain down.
What we're watching: Telemedicine visits initially surged, but have since dropped off. However, they're still above pre-pandemic levels, and experts predict that this may be a lasting side effect of the pandemic.
Related: As people return to their doctors, health insurers will have to start paying claims again.
- UnitedHealth Group's profit in the third quarter dipped 10% as people sought health care at rates "more closely approaching normal," executives said on an earnings call yesterday.