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Cost of hospital treatment is falling



Ontario has the lowest hospital cost per weighted case of all the provinces.  And the cost difference between Ontario and the rest of the country is growing.

Hospital Cost Per Weighted Case ($)
2009-2010
2010-2011
2011-2012
Newfoundland
6,001
6,283
6,332
PEI
DQ
DQ
5,257
Nova Scotia
4,998
5,403
5,384
New Brunswick
5,104
5,380
5,390
Quebec
4,455
4,550
4,728
Ontario
5,164
5,174
5,184
Manitoba
5,403
5,438
5,396
Saskatchewan
5,722
5,883
6,174
Alberta
6,139
6,399
6,631
BC
5,456
5,571
5,232
North West Territories
N/R
N/R
N/R
Yukon
DQ
7,709
7,394
Weighted Average
5,172
5,281
5,335
Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI):Canadian MIS Database Hospital Financial Performance Indicators, 2007-08 to 2011-12.  Note: comparable weighted case data not available prior to 2009-10 through this data base.  Data reported unadjusted by labour rate. "DQ" - data quality issue. "N/R" – not reported. Year ending April.  Cost per weighted case compares a hospital’s total acute inpatient care expenses with the number of acute inpatient weighted cases related to the inpatients that it provided care for. The result is the hospital’s average full cost of treating the average acute inpatient.

Ontario hospital costs per weighted case were just less than the Canada-wide average (including Ontario) in 2009/10 -- $8 less or 0.15%.  But two years later they were $151, or 2.83% less.

Real Cost Decline:  Hospital costs in Ontario have increased much less than inflation: going up 0.18% in 2010-11 and 0.21% in 2011-12.   Inflation for consumers was far higher: 3.6% for the year ended April 2011 and 2.1% for the year April 2012.  

The real costs of treating a hospital patient are falling. 

Hospital cost increases across Canada were significantly higher than Ontario with a 2.1% increase across Canada in 2010-11 and a 1.0% increase in 2011-12.  (Nevertheless, even these increases fell well short of Canada-wide consumer inflation of 3.2% and 2.0%.) 

The lower costs in Ontario occurs despite higher living costs in Ontario.  When labour rates are adjusted, Ontario hospital costs per weighted case are much lower than the Canada-wide average -- 10.8% lower than the Canada-wide average in 2011-12 ($598 lower).  This is an increase from a 9.7% differential in 2009-10 ($474).  

More tomorrow on changes in hospital administration and nursing.  

Photo: a Roman hospital with some of the same problems as Ontario, Pallamaio

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