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Liberals poised to bring market disaster back to Ontario home care. Will this model be exported to hospitals?

Competitive bidding is coming back. Or so it seems. 

As of yesterday, the Ontario Association of CCACs had on their web site a link to a letter reporting that competitive bidding for home care services will come to four communities between October and December of 2010.

As of today, however, the link to the letter is no longer to be found.  But while the link has disappeared, the web page still works. The letter, dated August 13, indicates these plans only reflect "the current planning  among CCACs and is dependent on the issue of MOHLTC Directives for CCAC procurement." 

The Conservative Harris government introduced this model to home care in 1996: it requires Community Care Access Centres to contract out all home care services. 

As a result, for profit corporations have taken over many of the home care services provided by nurses and personal support workers in the province. 

There has been major problems with the quality of of care as longstanding not for-profit provider organizations  lost contracts and workers fled bad working conditions.

The McGuinty government was forced to suspend the system in 2004 due to community protests and, despite sporadic attempts to bring it back, that is how it has remained ever since.

Price based funding (called by the Liberal government "Patient based funding") is a pretty similar model and the Ontario government has begun to introduce it to Ontario hospitals -- but so far only for a relatively small portion of hospital funding.  There are serious concerns this will expand and bring with it more privatization and more commercialization to hospital care. 

The Ontario Health Coalition is holding a series of summits in towns across the province on this model (also called 'fee for service' funding) as it threatens to wreak major damage on Ontario hospitals.  See here for more information on these very important OHC events. 


dallan@cupe.ca

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