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Admissions to Veterans Affairs Hospitals for Emergency Conditions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Educational Objective
To understand how COVID-19 has affected Veteran Affairs Hospitals for Emergency Conditions
1 Credit CME

Anecdotal reports suggest hospitalizations, including for emergency conditions and elective procedures, have declined during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.1 Reduced hospitalizations for conditions requiring timely treatment may have significant public health consequences.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest health system in the US. The VA has ensured continuously available treatment for emergency conditions and canceled elective procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.2 This study evaluated changes in the number of admissions to VA hospitals overall and for 6 common emergency conditions during the pandemic.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Aaron Baum, PhD, Department of Health System Design and Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029 (aaron.baum@mssm.edu).

Accepted for Publication: May 22, 2020.

Published Online: June 5, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.9972

Author Contributions: Dr Baum had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: All authors.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Baum.

Drafting of the manuscript: Baum.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Baum.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Schwartz.

Supervision: Schwartz.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Baum reported receiving consulting fees from the American Board of Family Medicine outside the submitted work. Dr Schwartz reported being employed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

References
1.
Rosenbaum  L .  The untold toll—the pandemic’s effects on patients without Covid-19.   N Engl J Med. Published online April 17, 2020. doi:10.1056/NEJMms2009984PubMedGoogle Scholar
2.
COVID-19 response plan—incident-specific annex to the VHA high consequence infection (HCI) base plan. Published March 23, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.va.gov/opa/docs/VHA_COVID_19_03232020_vF_1.pdf
3.
Fihn  SD , Francis  J , Clancy  C ,  et al.  Insights from advanced analytics at the Veterans Health Administration.   Health Aff (Millwood). 2014;33(7):1203-1211. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0054PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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