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Hospital Spending in Canada

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The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released data on hospital spending in Canada by type of expense and by service area at the provincial, territorial and international levels, including cost estimates for COVID-19–related hospital stays and other common hospitalizations.

The hospital spending trends in this release reflect the most recent information available in the Canadian MIS Database (CMDB) from the 2019–2020 data cycle (to the end of March 2020). Cost estimates for COVID-19 and other common hospitalizations are forecasted values (2020–2021) and are not part of the regular hospital spending trends.

Key findings included:

  • The average estimated cost of a COVID-19 hospital stay in Canada is just over $23,000 — about 4 times the average cost of a hospital stay for influenza, 3 times the average cost of a stay for a heart attack and almost as much as the cost of a stay for a kidney transplant.
  • Canada’s hospitals spent more than $55 billion in 2019–2020 (excluding Quebec and Nunavut). Compensation was the largest area of hospital spending (64%), followed by supplies (11%) and sundry (6%).
  • Canada’s per capita hospital spending ($1,785) is less than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average ($1,932). The breakdown for Canada’s per capita spending in 2019–2020 is $1,615 for government and $170 for household out-of-pocket.

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