Windsor Regional Hospital has spent $13.3M on COVID-19

·2 min read

In the first six months of the pandemic, Windsor Regional Hospital says it accumulated $13.3 million in COVID-19 related debt.

During the hospital's monthly board meeting Thursday evening, officials said that — so far — the provincial government has reimbursed them for March and April's expenses.

According to Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) president David Musyj, they will now be reimbursed up until, and including, July and expect to receive $8 million back in total.

"[It's] very good news, they followed through ... I was confident they were going to do it and they did it and they're committed to doing it forward," Musyj said, adding that this will leave them with $5-$6 million in outstanding COVID-19 expenses.

But they aren't the only hospital getting compensated.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the provincial 2020 budget Thursday, which showed the government is spending $2.5 billion more in the hospital sector this year to help fight the pandemic. The budget also allocates an additional $572 million today for costs incurred during the health crisis.

Locally, the funding being received will also help sustain the COVID-19 field hospital that has been operated out of St. Clair College.

"We have to continue to take care of patients so that's the approach we took all along, we'd still be doing this even if we hadn't been reimbursed a dime ... we'd still be doing what we're doing ... we said focus on the patients, focus on the community we'll worry about the money issues later," he said.

Field hospital "hugely important"

The field hospital funds will secure 30 beds until March 31, 2021, which is "hugely important," Musyj said.

WRH's director of infection, prevention and control Erika Vitale said the field hospital allows them to have a space for people in "high-risk" long-term care or retirement home settings that enter into outbreak.

Submitted by Windsor Regional Hospital
Submitted by Windsor Regional Hospital

"There's certain ones that we have flagged as high risk should they get a COVD outbreak," she said. "They would have difficulty in cohorting their residents, they might not have private rooms available or it may have a lot of shared spaces that they can't utilize, so I think it's great that we have that as an option."

According to Musyj, operating the field hospital for six months with 30 patients costs $7 million or $1,300 per day, per patient.

"Without it, we'd be in trouble," Musyj said of the field hospital. "To have that funding guaranteed ... it provides comfort that you don't got to worry about it."

Regardless, he said, the hospital is prepared to do what it needs to keep the community safe.

"Even if the government didn't have the funding, we'd say, we're going to do it [and] worry about it again later," he said.