Almost 400,000 surgeries (of all types) were cancelled each week during the 12-week COVID peak this spring.
In North America, almost 1.2 million orthopedic surgeries were cancelled – the vast majority in the US. Across all countries, the orthopedic cancellation rate was 82%, the highest percentage of any type of surgery.
Assuming a 20 per cent increase in baseline surgical volume, the researchers estimated:
it would take countries a median of 45 (range 43–48) weeks to clear the backlog of operations resulting from 12 weeks of disruption due to COVID…
While surgical procedure volumes undoubtedly increased this summer, news reports indicate elective procedures are once again being postponed
and many other states.
Implication – claim durations are going to increase as patients requiring surgery are back on the waiting list.
Even after elective procedures return, many patients will face weeks of therapy before they recover and return to full functionality.
Which leads us to PT.
The good news comes from MedRisk, a physical medicine management firm. Their annual Industry Trends Report
shows post-surgical PT ramped up quickly this summer – after the COVID peak. (MedRisk is a consulting client)
The company also opined that the delay can complicate recovery because patients become “de-conditioned” while waiting months for surgery, although the delay can be mitigated by “pre-conditioning” patients with pre-surgery PT.
What does this mean for you?
These times are different and require different approaches to ensure rapid and complete recovery. “Pre-conditioning” may help your patients come out of surgery in better shape and feeling stronger…yes it’s different, and new, and a bit uncertain – but these times demand flexibility and creative approaches.