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J Glob Health ; 11: 05023, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573936


BACKGROUND: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, two new temporary hospitals were constructed in record time in Wuhan, China, to help combat the fast-spreading virus in February 2020. Using the experience of one of the hospitals as a case study, we discuss the health and economic implications of this response strategy and its potential application in other countries. METHODS: This retrospective observational study analyzed health resource utilization and clinical outcomes data for 2011 inpatients diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to Leishenshan Hospital during its 67 days of operation from February 8th to April 14th, 2020. We used a top-down costing approach to estimate the total cost of treating patients at the Leishenshan Hospital, including capital cost for hospital construction, health personnel costs, and direct health care costs. We used a multivariate generalized linear model to examine risk factors associated with in-hospital deaths. RESULTS: During the 67 days of hospital operation, 19 medical teams comprising of 933 doctors and 2312 nurses were gradually transferred to Leishenshan Hospital from across China. Of the 2011 admissions, 4.5% used intensive care and 2.0% used ventilators. Overall median length of stay was 19 days, and 21 days for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). The case fatality rate (CFR) was 2.3% overall, 41.8% in the ICU, and 0.4% in general ward (GW). CFRs were 55% and 50% among patients using non-invasive and invasive ventilators, respectively. The mean total cost and direct health care cost were CNY806 997 (US$114 793) and CNY16 087 (US$2288), respectively. Patients admitted to the ICU had much higher direct health care costs, on average, compared to those in the GW (CNY150 415 vs CNY9720, or US$21 396 vs US$1383). The mean direct health care cost per patient with severe or critical diseases was more than five times higher than those with mild or moderate diseases (CNY45 191 vs CNY8838, or US$6428 vs US$1257). Older age, having comorbidities, and critical disease were associated with higher risks of death from COVID-19. Lower health worker to patient ratio (<2.6) was not associated with in-hospital death. CONCLUSION: An adequate health workforce were mobilized and deployed to a new temporary hospital. The Leishenshan Hospital increased access to care during the surge in COVID-19 infections, facilitated timely treatment, and transferred COVID-19 patients between GWs and ICUs within the hospital, all of which are potential contributors to lowering the CFR. Patients in the ICU experienced a much higher CFR and a greater burden of health care cost than those in GW. Our results have important implications for other countries interested in constructing temporary emergency hospitals, such as the need for adequate infrastructure capacities and financial support, centralized strategies to mobilize health workforce and to provide respiratory protective devices, and improvement in access to health care.

COVID-19 , Aged , Hospital Mortality , Hospitals , Humans , Mobile Health Units , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2