Posted on May 29, 2020, 2 p.m.
The recent outbreak has caused a lot of confusion, as well as tension. In the recent months hospitals, health systems, and private practices have significantly reduced their inpatient and non emergency services in order to deal with COVID-19 patients. A recent poll suggests that the emptiness of medical centers may also reflect patient choice to delay seeking medical care.
48% of the American adults report that they or a family member has chosen to skip or delay medical care due to this outbreak, and 11% report that the person’s condition worsened as a result of the delay in care, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted May 13-18, 2020 involving 1,189 American adults.
Medical groups are noting a sharp decrease in emergency patients across the nation, and some including the American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, are publicly urging anyone who is concerned about their health or a family member’s health to please seek the appropriate medical care.
“Don’t sit at home and have a bad outcome,” said Dr. William Jaquis, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “We’re certainly there and in many ways very safe, and, especially with low volumes in some places, we’re able to see people quickly. Come on in, please.”
Jaquis is urging people not to skip going to an ER noting that the anecdotes that he has heard for people delaying seeking medical care have been alarming with patients suffering from heart attacks or strokes at home. He also wants people to remember the many safety precautions that hospitals and medical centers are taking to help curb the spread of this virus.
Even though a significant amount of Americans have delayed healthcare 86% report that their physical health has remained about the same as it was before the outbreak, and 7 in 10 of those who skipped seeing medical professionals expect to get care within the next 3 months, according to the poll.
40% of the American respondents report that stress related to this coronavirus outbreak has negatively affected their mental health. Women were more likely than men to report COVID-19 having a negative impact on their mental health, and those living in urban and suburban areas were found to be more likely to report this than those in rural areas.
Regardless of gender close to half of those residing in households that experienced income or job loss reported the outbreak having a negative effect on their health. 3 in 10 adults report falling behind on bills and having trouble paying household expenses, with 13% reporting having difficulty purchasing food, and 11% reporting having trouble paying for medical bills. Those who have had to skip meals or rely on charity or government food programs have increased, being higher in those households that have experienced income loss.
1 in 4 report they or a family member who are currently not enrolled will likely be turning to Medicaid within the next year, which is a federal state health insurance program for low income Americans. This program continues to show strong support among Americans with about three quarters of the respondents reporting that they would oppose any efforts made by their states to cut the program funding as part of cost reduction measures.
80% of the respondents report that they would also oppose cuts in spending on K-12 education, 75% police and safety, 60% social services, 55% higher education, 54% prisons and jails, 53% environmental protection. Transportation was the only area in which respondents supported state budget cuts.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.