2/22/11

Letter of the Day: $600 a day for a hospital bed illegal under Health Insurance Act

Long-term care act can't be overridden

Windsor Star
Tue Feb 22 2011 
Page: A7 
Byline: Jane E. Meadus 
Column: Letters to the editor 

Re: Crisis designation 'too little, too late,' by Sonja Puzic, Feb. 17.

Gary Switzer, CEO of the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network, announced recently that the LHIN has designated area hospitals as being in "crisis" mode, allowing hospital patients increased access to long-term care home beds.

While the LHIN does have such authority, the statement that this measure means that "patients who don't accept the first available long-term care bed in the community will face a $600 per day fee to remain at the hospital" is not in accordance with the law.

Under the regulations to the Long-Term Care Homes Act, when hospital patients are designated as "crisis," they move to the top of the list for their home choices.

There is no requirement for them to accept beds in homes they have not applied to, nor to apply to a home because it has an "available" bed.

Further, the maximum a hospital can charge for patients awaiting placement is $53.23 per day pursuant to the regulations of the Health Insurance Act, and not the $600 being quoted. Neither hospitals nor the LHIN have any authority to override the Long-Term Care Homes Act or the Health Insurance Act, even in this crisis situation.

While everyone agrees that hospitals are not the best place for people requiring long-term care to be, it is also not in their best interest to force them into living situations which are unsuitable or far from family, in violation of the law.

JANE E. MEADUS, institutional advocate, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Toronto

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