All US volume metrics except births fell sharply in March
1Q20 volumes decline significantly as a result of COVID-19 impact in March
Our review of UBS Evidence Lab's 1Q20 data shows the complete volume picture of the 500-600 hospital sample for January and February and a small preview of roughly 100-120 hospitals reporting in March. Given the importance of March volumes, we equally weighted each month (by number of days) for this tracker’s version of quarter to date (QTD) volumes. QTD volume metrics decline significantly as a result of COVID, with outpatient (OP) and inpatient (IP) surgeries the most impacted falling 27.2% and 20.5% in March, respectively. IP admits declined 11.5% year over year in March with the most pronounced decline in Medicare admits (down 17.1% year over year). We believe this is indicative of seniors taking more precautions to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.
Data Reflects Elective Delays; Some States Starting Up
1Q20 data showed some initial impact from COVID-19 on surgeries and hospital volumes with total surgeries down 7.6% year over year, IP -9.6%, and OP -6.4%. In line with medtech preannouncements as well as a few full 1Q20 earnings results, we saw a material decline in surgeries across a significant part of America, mostly on scheduled procedures, but emergent cases were also impacted. This is largely driven by state government policies to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) ahead of an anticipated COVID surge. We expect Q2 numbers to be worse as many providers remain shuttered to normal operations, although some states are planning to allow elective procedures in the coming weeks