Hospital stay cost higher than average in Burns Lake

Cost spiked after the new hospital was built

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the average cost of a standard hospital stay at the Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre is significantly higher than the provincial and national averages.

While the provincial and national averages are $6078 and $6098 respectively, a hospital stay in Burns Lake costs $10,769.

CIHI developed this indicator to increase cost-efficiency in hospitals – avoiding waste of equipment, supplies and energy, and delivering more services with fewer resources. However, CIHI says a higher than average cost does not necessarily indicate an issue.

Average hospital stay costs in Burns Lake spiked after the new hospital was built in 2015. 

According to Andrea Palmer, a spokesperson for Northern Health, much of the cost increase is due to the fact that Burns Lake’s new $55-million hospital is larger than the one it replaced.

“A larger hospital means additional costs for cleaning, maintenance and utilities, and for the new, updated and expanded equipment needs that come with a new facility,” said Palmer.

“One example is that while the former Lakes District Hospital’s emergency and in-patient departments were located next to each other, and could share staff between them, in the new facility this is no longer the case, and each unit must maintain minimum staffing levels for patient and staff safety,” she added.

But although Burns Lake’s new hospital is bigger than the previous one, it is still considered a small hospital, which Palmer says contributes to the higher costs.

“In general, smaller facilities cannot achieve the same economies of scale as larger hospitals,” explained Palmer.

“Looking at the data on a national level, it appears Lakes District Hospital’s costs are within the normal range for facilities of comparable size,” she added. “In fact, there are 21 small hospitals across Canada that have cost per standard hospital stay greater than Lakes District Hospital’s, four of which are in B.C.”

These include the Princeton General Hospital ($11,141), the Mackenzie and District Hospital and Health Centre ($11,765), the Stuart Lake Hospital in Fort St. James ($12,624) and the Port Hardy Hospital ($12,697).

The Canadian Institute for Health Information is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides essential information on Canada’s health systems and the health of Canadians. 



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