Changes in Elective and Urgent Surgery Among TRICARE Beneficiaries During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Alexander M. Crawford, Harry M. Lightsey, Grace X. Xiong, Jamie Ye, Catherine M. Call, Alysa Pomer, Zara Cooper, Andrew K. Simpson, Tracey P. Koehlmoos, Joel S. Weissman, Andrew J. Schoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 is known to have altered the capacity to perform surgical procedures in numerous health care settings. The impact of this change within the direct and private-sector settings of the Military Health System has not been effectively explored, particularly as it pertains to disparities in surgical access and shifting of services between sectors. We sought to characterize how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced access to care for surgical procedures within the direct and private-sector settings of the Military Health System. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated claims for patients receiving urgent and elective surgical procedures in March–September 2017, 2019, and 2020. The pre-COVID period consisted of 2017 and 2019 and was compared to 2020. We adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, medical comorbidities, and region of care using multivariable Poisson regression. Subanalyses considered the impact of race and sponsor rank as a proxy for socioeconomic status. Results: During the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no significant difference in the adjusted rate of urgent surgical procedures in direct (risk ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97–1.03) or private-sector (risk ratio, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.97–1.02) care. This was also true for elective surgeries in both settings. No significant disparities were identified in any of the racial subgroups or proxies for socioeconomic status we considered in direct or private-sector care. Conclusions: We found a similar performance of elective and urgent surgeries in both the private sector and direct care during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, no racial disparities were identified in either care setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2397-E2404
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume188
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

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