Skip to main content

Will new legislation increase role of non-emergency patient transfers?

Yesterday, the Liberal government proposed to regulate non-emergency patient transfers via legislation. However, as the legislature has stopped sitting and will not sit until after the fall election, the proposal  may be moot. 

In recent years, patient transfers have been moved from Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to patient transfer operations.  While EMS is largely provided by not-for-profit public organizations, patient transfer operations are often run by for-profit businesses.  These businesses generally make their trucks looks like ambulances and the public often thinks they are ambulances.  There is little if any regulation of these businesses, and that sparked an unfavorable report from CBC radio on the sub-sector as well as comment from the Ombudsman. 

The government is only promising to set 'core standards' for non-emergency patient transfers between health care facilities, so even if passed, it sounds like the government is limiting expectations regarding how much regulation will be placed on this sub-sector. It is, however, possible that legislation could increase the roles that non-emergency patient transfer organizations play.  

The government is promising consultations, but there is no word yet on when that might occur.  

With the growing regionalization of health care services, patients transfers between health care facilities is a growing business, and is likely to continue to grow.  The government estimates there are currently between 400,000 and 500,000 non-emergency patient transfers per year.

For the full release from the government click here.  


Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.

This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.

Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.

As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…