CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Even though the cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia are currently dropping, the state is still imploring people to get vaccinated.
According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, as of Friday, Oct. 22, 75 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations are of unvaccinated patients; the percentage rate is even higher for the critically ill who are admitted into the ICU.
While many COVID-19 treatment costs last year were picked up by the state and federal government, or even waived by private health insurers, you could still end up with a bill of tens of thousands of dollars.
According to FAIRHealth, a non-profit that collects data on privately billed health insurance claims, the hospitalization costs related to COVId-19 in West Virginia are on average: $216,000 for a patient who stays in the ICU (insurance pays up to $73,000), $43,000 for a patient who needs a hospital bed (insurance pays up to $16,000), and $1,900 for a COVID-19 outpatient (insurance pays up to $700).
West Virginia Hospital Association President Jim Kaufman says in the average West Virginia hospital, 75 percent of their patients are covered by Medicaid or Medicare.
The other cost accrued is in the form of stress and tax on the hospital staff.
“The biggest challenge is workforce and we had a workforce problem prior to covid and so the challenges we’ve seen with nursing and physicians and other technicians have been exacerbated by the current pandemic,” said Kaufman.
Earlier this month, the state moved to help hospitals with staffing and lost revenue due to COVID-19 treatments with their “Saving Our Care” initiative announced by the governor.
“Financially if they eliminate elective surgeries whether they be a same-day surgery or an overnight surgery, they are really going to destroy the economics of the hospital, with all that, we have got to step in,” said Gov. Jim Justice.
Ultimately, the high cost of COVID-19 affects everyone.
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