What Is the Impact of COVID-19 on Medicaid Utilization?

COVID-19 is impacting the U.S. healthcare system in unprecedented and complex ways. Some segments of the healthcare system are responding to a surge of patients with COVID-19 and experiencing higher costs. Other sectors of the healthcare system are seeing a different impact: fewer patients seeking care due to social distancing and limits on elective procedures. A new blog from the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) explores early insights from Medicaid leaders on healthcare utilization during COVID-19 and lays out the questions Medicaid directors are still trying to answer. The blog post notes two items that involve FQHCs:

  • Social distancing and the closure or limited capacities of outpatient practices reduced Medicaid service use in many categories in March and April, including primary care services at federally qualified health centers. Depending on the state and service category, declines ranged anywhere from 10 to 90 percent.
  • Service utilization may be slowly increasing. A few states are seeing an uptick in service use, which may be the result of more telehealth adoption, as well as easing of social distancing measures and increased access to personal protective equipment for providers. For example, one state saw an uptick in primary care services at community health centers, likely because of telehealth adoption.

The full blog post is available here.