The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a public health emergency requiring significant changes in obstetric and gynecologic health care delivery to minimize the risk of transmission to healthy patients and health care workers. Although these changes are necessary, they will differentially affect patients in a way that highlights and exacerbates existing inequities in health care access and outcomes. Socially vulnerable groups are already disproportionately affected by COVID-19 infection and more likely to experience severe morbidity and mortality. Some reasons for this include a limited ability to practice risk-reducing behaviors such as physical distancing, higher prevalence of chronic medical conditions, and less access to medical care. Additionally, the structural changes now taking place in health care delivery have negatively affected the ability of socially vulnerable groups to obtain necessary obstetric and gynecologic care, which may lead to poorer outcomes. As physician–leaders enact new policies to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis, it is important to consider the potential for exacerbating existing health inequities and to be proactive in creating policies that promote equity.
ACOG: Examining Inequities Associated With Changes in Obstetric and Gynecologic Care Delivery During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic