On April 1, 2020, Thora Johnson and Celia Van Lenten were quoted in Modern Healthcare regarding the healthcare industry’s response to COVID-19. Healthcare has adapted quickly to match the unprecedented scale of the pandemic. While frontline workers have persevered, the virus has exposed the industry's vulnerabilities. Industry observers point to healthcare policies, mindsets, and behaviors that contributed to a global crisis as they brace for an expected wave of patients.
"We're facing almost a perfect storm here," said Johnson, noting that the number of inpatient beds has dropped since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which incentivized keeping people out of the hospital. "Many hospitals are already at capacity, so the situation is quite dire when we're anticipating a significant influx."
According to the article, the pandemic's peak will come on April 16, requiring the use of more than 260,000 total beds, nearly 39,000 ICU beds, and more than 31,000 invasive ventilators. The U.S. healthcare system will be short more than 84,000 total beds and nearly 19,000 ICU beds, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates.
Looking ahead, COVID-19 will likely shape healthcare facility design. While hospitals won't likely maintain extra beds to prepare for a once-in-100-year pandemic, they will likely be more flexible in their design to accommodate additional patients when needed, said Van Lenten.