Homeless patients in Canada cost about C$2,599 ($2,671) more per hospital stay than the average patient, according to a study conducted at St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto.
The study revealed that homeless people with medical or surgical problems stay at the 500-bed hospital for longer because there is no place to send them after their initial medical condition has been treated.
In addition, homeless people with psychiatric problems were more likely to arrive at the hospital sicker than others.
The researchers analysed the data of 90,345 housed and 3,081 homeless patients admitted to St Michael’s over five years.
James Weaver, co-author of the study, said that the fact that excess hospitalisation costs for homeless people were observed in this study shows that the higher costs are not eliminated by the presence of universal health insurance.