Air Methods CEO JaeLynn Williams recently joined the Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA’s) podcast to discuss the unyielding trend of patients delaying care amid the pandemic. According to a recent study by Kaiser Family Foundation, almost half of all Americans say they or someone they live with has delayed medical care due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As Williams points out, many people have foregone or postponed critical healthcare needs due to fear of contracting COVID-19. Many patients who are most afraid of going to the doctor are those who need care most, such as those experiencing severe symptoms or pain.

“What the data is starting to show is that people are still suffering from life-threatening conditions – they’re just avoiding the ER visits. Chest pains, drug symptoms, enflamed appendixes, gall bladders, they’re all staying home out of fear,” Williams said.

As the U.S. heads into the fifth month of the pandemic with cases spiking across several states, we cannot yet see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s critical that patients seek non-coronavirus care again to avoid a massive backlog of unmet healthcare needs post-pandemic, and worse, a steep decline in population health.

JaeLynn continued, “It really does come down to patient education during this crisis to make sure that they understand that they should seek care, that it is safe to seek care and that healthcare providers are working diligently to invest and wear and take care of PPE and take care of our patients very safely.”

Listen to the full podcast episode here.