More than $23,000 per patient is the dollar cost that the Canadian Institute for Health Information says is the cost to treat COVID at hospitals across the country. Highlights of the study show that the cost is three times higher than a hospital stay for a heart attack or pneumonia, four times more than influenza and almost equivalent to a kidney transplant.
Saskatchewan NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat is calling for greater transparency from the government on the real cost of treating COVID.
“There has been a lack of transparency on this front, but we did see a recent study that talked about the average cost of a COVID hospitalization, this includes ICU admissions, being over $23,000. People are taking longer in hospitals, about twice as long as if you were hospitalized for pneumonia.”
The CIHI study also revealed about 1 in 4 hospitalized COVID-19 patients end up in the ICU, and 1 in 5 will die there.
The Saskatchewan government has budgeted over 6 billion dollars for health this year, with an extra $90 million for COVID.
Mowat says the opposition is unhappy with the level of transparency on the budget calculations for COVID, which they have been querying since the Spring.
“Essentially, what they did last year is they looked at what COVID cost us per month and then divided it out and just took an average and that’s how they budgeted for the future. So considering our hospitalizations are way up, I would expect that the health budget will also be up.”
Mowat says there is concern across the province over the government’s handling of the fourth wave.
“We’re hearing from folks all over the province that there is a tremendous amount of concern with how the fourth wave is being handled by this government. This is not just coming from folks who would typically criticise the government, we are hearing it from everyone across the board that they expect government to do more. They expect more from the health minister. They expect more from the premier and they are not living up to those expectations.”
Mowat adds for the last month, the opposition NDP has been calling on the legislature to be re-convened ahead of the next planned sitting on October 27th, in order to discuss the COVID situation.