One in five in U.S. report delayed health care during pandemic

Waiting room.


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Roughly 20 percent of U.S. adults who were polled about health care during the coronavirus pandemic said that they or their household members delayed receiving medical care or were unable to get care at all due to the crisis, according to a recent study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and National Public Radio.

“We were really shocked,” said Mary Gorski Findling, lead study author and senior research associate at Harvard Chan School, in a Jan. 6 article in Verywell Health. “It was much higher than we expected. It’s concerning when we ask people, why aren’t you getting care? People are saying their doctor’s office wouldn’t see them, canceled their appointments, or they don’t feel safe there.”

Among those who said they received delayed care, 57 percent said they experienced negative health consequences.

In other findings, a majority of households that include people with chronic conditions reported cutting back on care. And one in seven adults reported that household members delayed or were unable to get an elective procedure, with 54 percent reporting negative health consequences because of it.

Other authors of the study included Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and professor of health policy and political analysis, emeritus, and John Benson, senior research scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management.