Childbirth costs painful for Manitoba

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Manitoba spends more to deliver babies than on any other hospital procedure, according to a new report released Thursday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/03/2009 (4885 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba spends more to deliver babies than on any other hospital procedure, according to a new report released Thursday.

The Manitoba Centre for Health Policy analyzed the $1.3 billion the province spent on hospitalization between 2005 and 2006.

Research scientist Greg Finlayson said the results were surprising — expensive procedures like organ transplants accounted for only two per cent of the total cost of hospitalization.

Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS archives

Finlayson said having babies in Manitoba cost the province close to $48 million, the most of any in-hospital procedure.

While most deliveries aren’t complicated, Finlayson said they cost a lot of money since they occur so often. Childbirth complications and caring for premature babies also adds up, since extremely underweight newborns cost close to $100,000 to care for.

"The biggest single cost is related to having babies," Finlayson said. "It’s a relatively low cost service but there are so many of them it’s really the volume that drives it."

The report comes on the heels of the provincial budget that revealed health care costs continue to eat up the biggest chunk of Manitoba’s money — the province will spend $4.3 billion this year.

Critics said the government isn’t doing enough to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes that cost the health care system millions of dollars each year.

Finlayson said the report could be used by the province as a tool to see how it could reduce overall costs. For example, knee replacement surgery cost the province more than $9 million between 2005 and 2006.

Finlayson said the province may consider spending money on prevention programs to reduce the need for operations like knee surgery.

Researchers are now investigating whether the number or premature births have gone up in recent years to see if that is contributing to the cost of childbirth.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

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