The cost of COVID-19–related hospitalization in Spain was €1.23 billion ($1.33 billion US) in 2020, Spanish researchers reported late last week in JAMA Network Open.
The nationwide, population-based, retrospective economic evaluation of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Spanish hospitals found that 217,106 patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis (56.5% male, mean age 67.1 years) were admitted in 2020, with a mean cost per patient of €5,684.79 ($6,480.66). The cost per wave was €623 million ($710 million) in the first wave and €611 million ($696 million) in the second wave.
Intensive care unit admissions accounted for 9.5% of all admissions, with a much higher mean cost per patient (€21,199.20/$24,156.83) than general-admission patients (€4,122.96/$4,700.17). Higher mean costs per patient were also found in those who died (€8,774.72/$10,003.18) versus those who survived (€5,069.89/$5,779.67) and in men (€6,521.21/$7,126.38) compared with women (€4,950.49/$5,643.56).
Expenditures for COVID-19 patients represented 6.7% of total hospitals costs in 2020. The mean cost per COVID-19 patient was lower than reported costs in Canada, Greece, and the United States, but higher than reported in Turkey and Colombia.
"Results of this economic evaluation may be useful to health authorities for developing an economic strategy in preparation for future pandemics," the study authors wrote.