2/25/11

Hospital centralization driving up ambulance EMS costs

A Hamilton City Councillor is demanding the Local Health Integration Network (or the local hospital) pick up the tab for extra Emergency Medical Service (EMS) costs associated with hospital restructuring in that city.

Councillor Tom Jackson says a consultants report predicts it could cost an extra $1.5 million in EMS (ambulance) costs.

This sort of cost download is likely happening with a lot of the centralization of hospital services going on around the province.  Emergency Medical Services are increasingly required to move patients from one hospital to another, so that patients can get access to the variety of services they need at the specialized sites providing those services.

From the province's point of view, this is a winning proposition: while they fund almost all hospital expenses, they only have to pay 50% of  approved EMS costs.  But for municipalities charged with providing Emergency Medical Services, hospital centralization creates new costs (and demands) for their EMS.

dallan@cupe.ca



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