ICU Hospitalizations Will Cost Brazil's Public Healthcare More than US$ 232 million

The coronavirus case instrument raises doubts about the resilience of the Brazilian public system

São Paulo

If 1% of the Brazilian population becomes infected with the novel coronavirus, hospitalizations in intensive care units would cost at least R$ 930 million (US$ 215 million) to the public health system.

An unprecedented study by Ieps (Institute of Studies for Health Policies) made this prediction. The study took into account the cost of hospitalizations by SUS (Unified Health System) due to conditions similar to Covid-19.

Last week, David Uip, coordinator of the Coronavirus Contingency Center in São Paulo, said that the government is working with a scenario that the coronavirus contaminates between 1% and 10% of the state's population.

The coronavirus case instrument raises doubts about the resilience of the Brazilian public system (Foto: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress, PODER) - Folhapress

According to the Ieps study, the average cost of ICU admission for similar conditions in 2019 was R$11,296, according to data from Datasus. The survey considers only federal transfers per procedure and leaves out fixed costs such as doctors' salaries, which indicates that the final value should be even higher.

About 80% to 85% of cases of infection are mild and do not require hospitalization. Another 15% may need hospitalization outside the ICU, and less than 5% will need intensive support.

When taking into account the Brazilian population that is not covered by health plans, these critical cases that will need an ICU should add up to 82,400 admissions to SUS.

If the number of infected people reaches 10% of the Brazilian population, the most serious scenario foreseen in São Paulo by the São Paulo government, the cost will reach R$ 9.31 billion (US$ 2.1 billion).

This is almost double the R$ 5 billion that Congress is planning to allot to the novel coronavirus.

Respiratory viruses are easily transmissible and can affect, in the example of influenza (which causes flu), 5% to 20% of a country's population, depending on the year.

The study is signed by researchers Rudi Rocha (from FGV and Ieps), Beatriz Rache (Ieps), Letícia Nunes (Ieps) and Adriano Massuda (FGV).

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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