Covid hospital stays costly

The estimated average cost of a hospital stay for COVID-19 is approximately $23,100, about three times more than for a heart attack and almost as much as a kidney transplant. This includes both intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU admissions in Canada (excluding Quebec, whose data was not included) according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

People who have COVID-19 remain in the hospital about twice as long as the average pneumonia patient (15 days and 7 days, respectively), and a larger proportion of them are admitted to the ICU and ventilated. The estimated total cost of COVID-19 hospital stays was almost $1 billion in 2020–2021, tripling between November 2020 and March 2021. Hospitalization with ICU admission is estimated to cost over $50,000 – more than 3 times the cost of a stay without ICU admission ($15,000).

“COVID-19 patients tend to be sicker and to have longer hospital stays. The data reinforces that the virus can cause a serious illness and not simply a bad flu” said CIHI’s Nathalie Robertson. “Almost 1 in 4 hospitalized COVID-19 patients are admitted to the ICU and 1 in 5 die in the facility.”

Before the pandemic began, Canadian hospitals (excluding Quebec and Nunavut) spent more than $55 billion in 2019–2020, with compensation the largest spending area at 64%, followed by supplies (11%).

The report looked at the cost of some 42,000 COVID hospitalizations in Canada, excluding Quebec.

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(2) comments


For example, since Quebec residents tend to be older it's plausible that they would die sooner and, as result, have a shorter hospital stay. If this were the case, then QC data would presumably lower the average cost per Covid patient and potentially render the "3x cost" finding innacurate.


It's a real shame this data doesn't include stats from QC, where ~41% of Canadian Covid deaths took place. The french-speaking province also had higher cases & deaths per capita than any other province. The little QC data published by the CIHI shows that QC patients older (39% are over 65 yo vs 26% Canadian avg). This isn't much to go on but it suggests that there are potentially significant correlations not being made. Until CIHI can include Quebec data, the conclusions one can draw with confidence are extremely limited.

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