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Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on volume and surgeon professional fees generated by emergency general surgery procedures.

  • Ali, Aman B1, 2
  • Shaikh, Asad1
  • Maghami, Nima3
  • Zia, Mahnoor1
  • Wolf, Dwayne A4
  • Bonville, Daniel J5
  • 1 Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA.
  • 2 Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 15 Parkman Street, Wang 460E, Boston, MA, 02114, USA.
  • 3 Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY, USA.
  • 4 Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, 1861 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, TX, 77054, USA.
  • 5 Department of Surgery, University of Houston, HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, 22999 US-59 N, Suite 252, Kingwood, TX, 77339, USA. [email protected]
Published Article
Surgical Endoscopy
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2022
DOI: 10.1007/s00464-022-09168-z
PMID: 35296948


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of healthcare in the USA. In early 2020, most states issued orders to stop non-emergent elective surgeries. This contracted the overall revenue generated by the hospital systems. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on volume has not been well studied but effects on surgeon professional fees generated remains unexplored. The goal of this study was to assess if COVID-19 pandemic has affected surgeon professional fees and revenues generated from emergency general surgeries. This is a retrospective review to compare surgical case volume in 2019 and 2020. We obtained our data from a tertiary care referral center database. Data were collected from February to April of 2019 and 2020, corresponding to the duration of statewide ban on non-emergent surgical cases. We used the most reported current procedural terminology (CPT) Code for each surgical procedure to calculate the surgeon professional fees generated. We calculated the percentage difference in surgeon professional fees between 2019 and 2020 for comparison. There was a statistically significant decrease in daily emergent operations between 2019 and 2020 time periods (6.13/day vs 4.64/day). There was a statistically significant decrease in hospital admissions for appendicitis, cholecystitis, diverticulitis, skin and soft tissue infections, small bowel obstruction and GI bleed. Additionally, a statistically significant decrease in number of appendectomy, cholecystectomy, sigmoid colectomy with anastomosis, small bowel resection, operation for incarcerated and reducible hernia procedures was observed. There is a decline in surgeon professional fees generated in 2020 compared to 2019 for all emergent surgeries. When compared to 2019, we observed an increase of 238 more inquests in February to April of 2020, which is the same time period when we noticed a significant decrease in hospital admissions and procedures for emergency general surgery. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted surgical case volumes in 2020 compared to 2019. This includes both emergent and non-emergent cases. There is a need for more broad cost analysis which considers hospital expenditures and cost benefit analysis. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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