Sunday, March 16, 2014

How much does your hospital stay cost?

The Canadian Institute for Health Information has a fabulous website where you can compare costs by province, or individual city hospitals. How well Canadian hospitals are performing is important, as we should know how much we should spend, vs. how much individual treatments cost the system, and how much the government is willing to spend.

Here is their data per province:

They estimate that 72% of costs are for salaries, which is a good thing. We pay the best to deliver the best, specialists earn more. According to the Ontario Sunshine list (reporting earnings over $100,000 per year) pathologists earn around $350,000 or more, but OHIP pays other physicians directly, not through government tax dollars. The big issue here, are the salaries paid to CEOs compared to front line workers, such as the lowly paid (and educated) personal support workers (gr. 12 education) and nurses (College degrees, B.Sc., or more educated Nurse Practitioners). [See: What is the difference between a PSW, RPN, RN, and NP?]

I'm not sure the purpose of this data, since specialty and teaching hospitals have different costs. We should know what healthcare costs us, as this helps taxpayers make good decisions, politicians should not be trusted to cut taxes, when costs are only rising.

Big hospitals surely have lower per patient costs than smaller ones in small hospitals. That's what I would have thought, but comparing Ottawa Hospital (with big teaching hospitals; CHEO, uOttawa Heart Institute, etc.) is higher than my regional Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital
Here I have compared, from top to bottom, Ottawa Hospital, B.C., Ontario, and Perth and Smiths Falls Hospitals.
Here is more information:
Media Release
Nov 7, 2013

Mixed results across the system

The website shows that Canada’s health system is performing well in some areas, but improvements are still needed in others. Divided into five themes, the site gives visitors results such as these:
Access: While most Canadians are getting cancer radiation treatment in a timely fashion, waits are increasing for joint replacements.
Quality: A significant drop in hospital deaths suggests that the quality of hospital care is improving overall in Canada; however, 1 in 12 Canadians is readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge.
Spending: Spending on health care varies greatly across the country, even after considering age differences in the population.
Health promotion and disease prevention: While smoking rates are declining in Canada, obesity rates continue to rise.
Health outcomes: Canadians are living longer than ever, but they are not benefiting equally from improvements in health.
Related Content: For more information, see CIHI’s report on hospital financial performance measures.

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