Care in the COVID-19 Era: An Analysis of California Community Clinics

Abby Sears, OCHIN


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While COVID-19 has not yet created the overwhelming surge of cases feared by leaders of California’s health care delivery system, the pandemic is having unprecedented effects. Patients continue to put off routine and nonemergency care, primary care doctors are increasingly worried about the survival of their practices, and hospitals are experiencing a dramatic decline in emergency and inpatient visits.

OCHIN is a nonprofit information technology and research organization that serves a nationwide network of primary care practices, including 29 health care organizations in California. This issue brief uses OCHIN’s unique data sources to provide new information on how the COVID- 19 pandemic is impacting health and the health care system in California.

OCHIN’s providers are vital to underserved communities, collectively serving more than 1.3 million patients throughout the state. Their experiences and electronic health records data can provide new insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified existing health disparities in California, led to sizable decreases in in-person visits, and provided new momentum to the shift toward care delivered by phone or video, often referred to as telehealth.