Long-term Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Industry, Including Vaccine Misinformation

With infection rates once again trending upward, research suggests some COVID-19 survivors face months or potentially years of devastating complications. As healthcare experts begin to study the long-term impacts of “post-COVID syndrome,” it is likely health systems will be dealing with the after effects for decades, according to a report published by Fitch Ratings.

Jeff Lagasse, Healthcare Finance associate editor and author of the report, explains that it is nearly impossible to determine the magnitude of these effects. He notes that since conditions are likely to develop over time, there is no reason to anticipate these issues will directly impact the credit profiles of the issuers in the U.S. healthcare system.

There will, however, be a need for outpatient capacity to grow resulting from the long term effects of COVID-19: Heart, lung and kidney damage associated with COVID-19 will likely require costly care, such as regular scans and ultrasounds. Lagasse goes on to state, “The expansion of the healthcare system over the long term will likely exacerbate traditional pressures on operating performance, such as tight labor and wage markets for experienced staff, rising pharmaceutical expenses and supply costs in general.”

Battling COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

At MLMIC, we remain cognizant of the impact that COVID-19 has had on our insureds, their staff and their loved ones. As we continue to support the healthcare system, we recognize the rising Delta variant and its impact upon communities with a high unvaccinated population. We continue to battle vaccine hesitancy and hear ongoing misinformation that discourages individuals from getting vaccinated.

Here are some recommendations for physicians, their practices and other healthcare facilities:

How physicians can encourage the vaccine

  • Regularly share clear and accurate information with people to make sure they understand the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated so they can make informed decisions.
  • Help healthcare personnel feel confident in their decision to get a Covid-19 vaccination and help healthcare providers answer their patients’ questions.
  • Engage communities and individuals in an equitable and inclusive way to ensure that people have opportunities to ask questions and get clear, accurate information about the Covid-19 vaccine.

What to do when patients refuse the vaccine

  • It is important to start from a place of empathy, listen to their concerns and leave the door open for future conversations.
  • Speak to the benefits of the vaccine.
  • Document attempts to encourage vaccination. Patients who decline and become infected can otherwise say it was never offered.
  • The CDC has resources that address vaccine hesitancy, including these tips for how healthcare teams can build patient confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.

Additional measures to mitigate COVID-19 spread

  • While vaccines are being administered, the CDC continues to recommend these guidelines for slowing the spread: wearing masks, staying at least six feet apart from others, avoiding crowds, keep your social circles small, and washing hands well and often.

MLMIC has also assembled several COVID-19 resources on our website and will continue to keep policyholders informed of pandemic-related developments.

Further, our insureds have access to MLMIC’s toll free 24/7 Legal Hotline: (855) FAKS-LAW (1-855-325-7529). Our experts are available to help you address the challenges that may arise as you continue to care for patients throughout the nationwide response to the coronavirus emergency.