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National Trends in US Otolaryngology Surgical Volume During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in tectonic shifts in the delivery of American health care, including surgical care. In the early days of the pandemic, the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommended that surgeons “postpone nonessential surgeries and other procedures,”1 a recommendation endorsed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Emergency declarations by many states to suspend elective procedures resulted in an abrupt cessation of surgery in the US in March 2020.2 We sought to describe the resulting changes in US otolaryngology surgical volumes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Article Information

Accepted for Publication: December 9, 2020.

Published Online: February 11, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.5472

Corresponding Author: Anirudh Saraswathula, MD, MS, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 601 N Caroline St, 6th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21287 (asarasw2@jhmi.edu).

Author Contributions: Dr Saraswathula 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: Saraswathula, Stewart.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Saraswathula, Stewart.

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

Statistical analysis: Saraswathula.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Saraswathula, Stewart.

Supervision: Stewart.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
1.
US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS adult elective surgery and procedures recommendations. Accessed June 18, 2020. https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-elective-surgery-recommendations.pdf
2.
Wang  J , Vahid  S , Eberg  M ,  et al.  Clearing the surgical backlog caused by COVID-19 in Ontario: a time series modelling study.   CMAJ. 2020;192(44):E1347-E1356. doi:10.1503/cmaj.201521PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Re-opening facilities to provide non-emergent non-COVID-19 healthcare. Accessed November 17, 2020. https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-recommendations-reopening-facilities-provide-non-emergent-care.pdf
4.
Merrick  R , Walsh  S , Ford  J , Morling  J , Lee  ACK .  Winter is coming, and it is going to be tough: COVID-19 and winter preparedness.   Public Health. 2020;187:A1-A2. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2020.07.037PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
5.
COVIDSurg Collaborative.  Elective surgery cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic: global predictive modelling to inform surgical recovery plans.   Br J Surg. 2020;107(11):1440-1449. doi:10.1002/bjs.11746PubMedGoogle Scholar
6.
American Hospital Association. Hospitals and health systems face unprecedented financial pressures due to COVID-19. Accessed November 17, 2020. https://www.aha.org/system/files/media/file/2020/05/aha-covid19-financial-impact-0520-FINAL.pdf
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