Partial costs of Sask. COVID-19 hospital treatments, airlifts add up to more than $100M

The Government of Saskatchewan has been billed for some of the costs associated with COVID-19 patient transfers to Ontario hospitals.

So far, ICU patient transfers to Ontario have cost the Government of Saskatchewan $787,532, not including the cost of their hospital stay or flight home.

This fall, 27 acutely ill residents were transferred to Ontario intensive care units to relieve pressure on Saskatchewan’s hospitals.

According to data from the government, 25 patients were airlifted to Ontario at a cost of $25,800 per patient. The total cost for flying the patients to Ontario is $645,000. Costs have not yet been determined for flying the patients back to Saskatchewan.

The cost of the ICU treatment for the patients is also yet to be determined. According to the Minister of Health, the province won’t be billed until all Saskatchewan patients have been repatriated. Four Saskatchewan residents are still being treated out-of-province.

Travel, meals and accommodations for 19 family members of ICU patients transferred to Ontario were quoted at $7,502 per person for a total of $142,532.

The opposition NDP thinks the cost could have been avoided had the government implemented COVID-19 restrictions sooner.

“The government saw the fourth wave coming, ignored the signs, ignored the advice of Dr. Shahab in August and there are the sad results," Vicki Mowat, an NDP MLA, said.

The province said every jurisdiction has had to face the financial impact of the pandemic.

“The fourth wave it has been difficult and challenging for Saskatchewan. We had to move a few patients out of province into Ontario. Earlier in the pandemic we took a number of patients from the province of Manitoba," Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said.

SASK. COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS

The province has also reported more details about the cost of treating COVID-19 patients in local hospitals. To date, the province has spent $100,020,561 on local hospital and ICU admission for COVID-19 patients.

Inpatient hospital admissions reportedly cost the province a total of $39,953,172, which breaks down to 2,814 patients at $14,198 each.

Intensive care treatment in Saskatchewan has cost $60,067,389 to date, for 863 patients at $69,603 per patient.