8/23/12

LHIN boss: We are going to take money out of hospitals

"We are going to have to take money out of the hospitals. It's not a small amount. We're talking about millions," Debbie Hammond, CEO of the government's Central East Local Health Integration Network told the Scarborough Mirror.

One result is hospitals will specialize, focusing on what they do best, Rouge Hospital CEO John Wright said.

"Not all hospitals will do all things. That is coming and that is exactly what the government wants."  Some services will move out of hospitals into the community, and hospitals will work with each other, "sorting out who does what," Wright added.  "There's no way to say, 'I want a full-service hospital in my backyard.' The hospital will go bankrupt and close."

Centralizing hospital services across regions will make those services harder to access as families are forced to travel further to access services and visit loved ones.   Those without cars will be especially hard hit. Service at hospitals in small or rural communities will become patchy (or, as we have seen in some communities already, non-existent).

Aside from the centralization of health care services, the government has claimed that better home care will offset hospital cuts.  

But almost five months through the fiscal year, LHINs are still awaiting their funding numbers from the provincial government. Amidst cuts to home care services in south-western Ontario, the Erie-St. Clair LHIN says they will not be able to finalize funding until the September LHIN board meeting.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has written to Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, urging the ministry to provide emergency funding to support a program that "gives people dignity in the latter years of life."


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