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Impact of COVID 19 Pandemic on Health Care Utilization for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease

Author: Akshat Jain, Amie Patel, Udochukwo Oyoyo, & Seth Wiafe

Publication: Blood – American Society of Hematology

Date: 2021

Starting in March 2020, the coronavirus 19 disease (COVID-19) pandemic affected the United States (US) health care system. Many individuals were afraid to seek medical care due to fear of obtaining COVID-19; therefore, there was a high frequency of adults forgoing medical care. Chronic conditions including diabetes, COPD, mental health, and HTN outcomes worsened due to decrease in routine care during the pandemic. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic blood disorder that causes numerous complications including but not limited to vaso-occlusive crisis, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. Individuals who have routine follow up with a hematologist have been shown to have decreased hospitalizations, ER visits, length of stay, and opiate usage. The Inland Empire region of Southern California is one of the densest hot spots for patient’s living with sickle cell disease in terms of disease burden and health care utilization. Therefore, we evaluated how the COVID-19 pandemic affected health care utilizations with individuals with SCD in this area.

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