Reopening the U.S. Health System
Tracking the Pandemic, Reopening Readiness and Health Services Utilization
Institute Report
Jun 18, 2020

About the report

As more states begin to relax restrictions to reopen local economies, the need for a quantitative measure of readiness is essential to make objective, fact-based decisions. This report features a new Reopening Readiness Index (RRI) based on five factors (see exhibit 6) to provide a systematic way to assess a state’s progress and level of readiness to reduce restrictions and their associated social and economic impact. 

The findings suggest there are risks of resurgence of COVID-19 by further relaxing restrictions, especially due to the lack of effective contact tracing programs. At present, only thirteen states reach an aggregate score of 90 or more against an index level of 100 points and only three of those states - New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey - meet or exceed that score, due in large part to high levels of testing and low current reproduction rates.

The report also provides evidence that people are slow to return to using key health services. The new Health Services Utilization Index (HSUI) measures the utilization of five key health services — including doctor visits, elective procedures and new prescriptions — as a signal of revival for the health system. The findings suggest that the revival of the U.S. health system, outside of treating COVID-19 cases, will take more time. 

Topics covered in this report include: tracking the COVID-19 pandemic and state reopening in the U.S., reopening readiness index, health services utilization index, and the combination of these two indices.

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