11/22/12

Moving patients from public hospitals to private retirement homes

Health Sciences North hospital in Sudbury is planning to replace 30 hospital beds with a 25 bed unit inside a private retirement home, the CBC reports.
OCHU/CUPE members protest earlier bed closures at Health Sciences North
Richard Joly of the Northeast Community Care Access Centre says "We are committed to reducing the population that are currently residing in hospital."
Like many other hospitals, Health Sciences North is grappling with a significant deficit as government funding is squeezed.  Six million dollars in the case of HSN.

Hospital officials claim the hospital beds cost $750 per day each and putting 25 beds in a private retirement home would cost $4 million less than having them at the Memorial hospital site.  In February, the hospital will stop funding the 30 beds.
Similar strategies have been tried in other locales with disastrous results. In Windsor, a local hospital paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to remodel a for-profit retirement home, only to find out that even with the remodeling, the beds still did not meet the required standards.  When the project failed, the hospital made new plans to open the beds in the hospital itself.   

In Ottawa hospital patients were moved to a private retirement home as well, including  a 92-year-old Ottawa woman. She died in September 2008, two months after being transferred to the retirement home.  According to the Chief Coroner, she died in part because of inadequate care there.  The Coroner also warned the practice could put other elderly patients at risk.

There have also been many other reports of problems of for-profit retirement homes providing care to fragile patients.   It's not clear if the Hospital and CCAC have developed any strategies to mitigate the potential problems.

North Bay Regional Health Centre Review by KPMG
The North Bay hospital has hired accounting firm KPMG to to review its programs, services and staffing as it tries to balance its budget. Similar issues with alternate level of care patients as in Sudbury will figure prominently here as well. The KPMG report is expected in January.  



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