EHRN: Many Adult COVID-19 Patients Continue Seeking Medical Care for 6 Months or More

EHRN: Many Adult COVID-19 Patients Continue Seeking Medical Care for 6 Months or More

Abstract: COVID-19 related health care utilization persists in a subset of patients for 180 days or more after their initial diagnosis.

Definitions and guidance regarding the evaluation and care for patients with “Long COVID,” post-COVID conditions or PASC (post-acute sequalae of COVID-19) continues to evolve.1 We sought to describe health care utilization over time after an initial COVID-19 diagnosis. For the purpose of this analysis, follow-up after a health care claim with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis was divided into three timeframes including a ≤30-day acute period and 2 subsequent post-acute periods of 31-90 days and 91-180 days.2,3

We analyzed claims data of a large national insurer covering adult commercial (18 to <65 years) and Medicare Advantage (≥65 years) members in 2020. To describe utilization patterns over time, we first identified a patient’s initial health care claim coded with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis and further categorized patients by month of initial diagnosis and age group. From 20,768,078 adult members, we identified 264,849 individuals with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis and at least one day of enrollment between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.4 This analysis relied on an initial confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis as coded on health care claims, and therefore patients and utilization may be missing (e.g., patient presents with post-COVID symptoms but never received a COVID-19 diagnosis), and medical details and actual care delivered is unknown.

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