Skip to main content

Erie St. Clair LHIN gives hospitals more funding to deal with high bed occupancy

Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor has received funding for an additional 14 beds to handle patients who no longer require acute care.   A separate unit will be set up where so-called alternative level of care, or ALC, patients can be treated.

The initiative was approved by the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). Pat Somers, Hotel-Dieu's vice-president of operations and chief nursing executive, said the new beds will be in place by January 2011 and remain at the hospital for at least a year.

"We certainly welcome this help, but it's in no way going to solve our ALC issue," she said, noting that on Wednesday alone, 67 ALC patients were occupying acute care beds at Hotel-Dieu.

Overall occupancy has been 99 per cent and at least three elective surgeries were cancelled due to a lack of beds.

Leamington District Memorial Hospital, in the same LHIN, also received funding from the LHIN for 10 specially designated ALC patient beds.

Earlier this week, the same LHIN urged Bluewater Health hospital to ensure that the emergency room at its small hospital facility in Petrolia remain open 24/7. A LHIN panel recommended the establishment of an area doctors' network to cover shifts at hospitals in need, with bonuses offered.  Bluewater has accepted the LHIN's recommendation and will report back with a status update in two weeks.

In the Waterloo Wellington LHIN, a 35-bed temporary long-term care ward could be opened by mid-January on a vacant floor of Cambridge Memorial Hospital, to ease the hospital's bed crunch.  (Although the service will, apparently, be contracted out to another provider.)   The province has also approved plans to open up another six hospital mental health beds at the hospital.

Some have wondered if these are early signs that the Liberal government is turning away from hospital cutbacks in the lead up to the 2011 election, now less than a year away. 

If so, they have a ways to go.  About 50 community members attended the LHIN meeting at the Lions Hall in Petrolia concerning their local hospital.  Some were unimpressed.  "Nothing meaningful came out of this meeting," said spectator Martha Szabo.  Pat Stonehouse, another local resident, called the LHIN ineffective.

Time will tell, if these changes are a flash in there pan, or part of a change in government emphasis in the lead up to the election.


 dallan@cupe.ca

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.





Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 


No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

Hospital funding:  There is something off about the provincial government's Budget claims on hospital capital funding (funding to build and renovate hospital beds and facilities).   

For what it is worth (which is not that much, given the long time frame the government cites), the province claims it will increase hospital capital spending over the next 10 years from $11 billion to $20 billion – or on average to about $2 billion per year.  But, this is just a notional increase from the previous announcement of future hospital capital spending. 

Moreover, even if we did take this as a serious promise and not just a wisp of smoke, the government's own reports shows they have actually funded hospital infrastructure about $3 billion a year over the 2011/12-2015/16 period.

So this “increase” is really a decrease from past actual spending. Even last year's (2016-17) hospital capital funding increase was reported in this Budget at $2.3 billion - i.e. about 15% more than they have ann…

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …