Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a tertiary care public hospital in Singapore: resources and economic costs.

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2021-12-11

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Abstract

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted hospitals to respond with stringent measures. Accurate estimates of costs and resources used in outbreaks can guide evaluations of responses. We report on the financial expenditure associated with COVID-19, the bed-days used for COVID-19 patients and hospital services displaced due to COVID-19 in a Singapore tertiary hospital.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective cost analysis from January to December 2020 in the largest public hospital in Singapore. Costs were estimated from the hospital perspective. We examined financial expenditures made in direct response to COVID-19; hospital admissions data related to COVID-19 inpatients; and the number of outpatient and emergency department visits, non-emergency surgeries, inpatient days in 2020, compared with preceding years of 2018 and 2019. Bayesian time-series was used to estimate the magnitude of displaced services.

Results

USD $41.96 million was incurred in the hospital for COVID-19-related expenses. Facilities set-up and capital assets accounted for 51.6% of the expenditure; patient-care supplies comprised 35.1%. Of the 19,611 inpatients tested for COVID-19 in 2020, 727 (3.7%) had COVID-19. The total inpatient- and intensive care unit (ICU)-days for COVID-19 patients in 2020 were 8009 and 8 days, respectively. A decline in all hospital services was observed from February following a raised disease outbreak alert level; most services quickly resumed when the lockdown was lifted in June.

Conclusion

COVID-19 led to an increase in healthcare expenses and a displacement in hospital services. Our findings are useful for informing economic evaluations of COVID-19 response and provide some information about the expected costs of future outbreaks.

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10.1016/j.jhin.2021.12.007

Publication Info

Cai, Y, S Kwek, SSL Tang, SE Saffari, E Lum, S Yoon, JP Ansah, DB Matchar, et al. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a tertiary care public hospital in Singapore: resources and economic costs. The Journal of hospital infection, 121. pp. 1–8. 10.1016/j.jhin.2021.12.007 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24333.

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