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100,000 francs: Why each Covid patient costs Swiss hospitals so much

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100,000 francs: Why each Covid patient costs Swiss hospitals so much
LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 10: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Clinicians care for COVID-19 patients in a converted negative pressure room in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on August 10, 2021 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The floor was a medical ICU but has been converted into an ICU strictly for COVID patients. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 surpassed another record in the state yesterday to 2,720 with Louisiana as one of the nation's epicenters while the spread of the Delta variant continues. More than ninety percent of Louisiana's hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. Lake Charles Memorial currently holds 52 COVID-19 patients, 25 of whom are in the ICU. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

On average, ICU patients in Switzerland can cost hospitals six-figure sums to treat, including taking 20 different forms of medication daily. Here’s what you need to know. 


Fortunately, Switzerland’s current rate of hospitalisations - both in general admissions and in intensive care units - remains lower than that of neighbouring Germany and Austria. 

However, those who are admitted cost hospitals significant amounts, with those in ICUs crossing the six-figure mark. 

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A study by Swiss insurance agency Santésuisse found that hospitals can spend well over CHF100,000 per patient admitted to ICUs with Covid. 

"In expensive cases with a long stay in the intensive care unit and on the ventilator, the costs per patient can be well over 100,000 francs," Santésuisse spokesman Christophe Kämpf told Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes. 

Covid’s impact on internal organs can be so devastating that in addition to ventilators, patients are often put on machines to help kidney and heart function. 

A stay in the ICU can range from days to several months. A team of at least five people is required to care for someone in the ICU. 

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Patients who are hospitalised but who do not require intensive care still cost hospitals between 25,000 and 30,000 francs. 


20 different medications a day

Other than staffing, ventilators and associated costs, Covid hospital stays are so expensive due to the amount of medication Covid patients must take on a daily basis. 

Speaking with Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes, University Hospital Zurich (USZ) media spokesperson Martina Pletscher said Covid patients often require upwards of 20 different forms of medication on a daily basis. 

This includes drugs to improve circulation, anti-virals, painkillers, sleeping pills, antibiotics, vitamins, laxatives and inhalants, among others. 

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The dosages and variety of medications required by Covid patients is much higher than that for standard ICU admissions. 

According to Kämpf, Switzerland’s insurance agencies have paid out approximately a billion francs since the start of the pandemic, the vast majority of which has gone to care for Covid patients. 

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