Friday Stats and More

According to the CDC’s COVID-19 cases in the U.S. website, which the FEHBlog tracks, the number of COVID-19 deaths topped 100,000 this week. Due to greatly increased testing rate, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is now greatly outpacing the number of COVID-19 deaths. For example, over the past week the number of confirmed cases has increased by nearly 150,000 to 1,719,827 while the number of deaths increased by 7,561 to 101,711. The basic infection mortality rate (as calculated by the FEHBlog) has dropped over the past week. That is good news. Also check out Avik Roy’s Forbes column analyzing COVID-19 deaths.

In last Monday’s post, the FEHBlog gently ribbed OPM for not extending the 2021 benefit and rate submission deadline from Sunday May 31 to Monday June 1. To the delight of the FEHBlog and those FEHB carriers bumping up against the May 31 deadline, the FEHBlog learned today that OPM has granted this grace period. Muchos gracias.

Here’s a link to an interesting Healio report on patient deferral of wellness and chronic care visits to their primary care doctors during the great hunkering down. It is easy to register for Healio.

Results of a survey conducted by the Primary Care Collaborative and the Larry A. Green Center showed that 81% of 736 primary care clinicians reported that they have limited their wellness and chronic care visits, and 70% reported that the patients themselves postponed these visits.

The survey also revealed that preventive services are down among primary care practices, with just 5% reporting cancer screenings, 10% reporting adult vaccinations, 12% monitoring cancer survivors, 14% reporting childhood vaccinations and 25% screening for violence and neglect.

On a related note Healthcare Dive reports

  • Virtual care use grew 1.6 times since the summer of 2019, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s COVID-19 National Pulse Survey. More than half of that growth has occurred since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Generation Z (35%) uses telemedicine the most, with millennials (30%), Gen Xers (21%) and baby boomers (15%) behind them.
  • The pandemic has changed several behaviors, the survey found. Alcohol consumption is up 23%, and smoking, vaping and non-medical drug use rose by 19%, 15% and 13%, respectively.

Finally, Becker’s Hospital Review brings us up to date on a, HL7 / FHIR healthcare data sharing collaborative known as the Gravity Project “that aims to standardize medical data used to identify social determinants of health.” Cool.

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