Skip to main content

Health care regionalization comes with a big dollop of privatization

Hospital support services continue to be spun off to regionally based third-parties that provide services to a large number of hospitals and other health care providers.   Usually, at least some of the work is taken over by a private corporation.  Another example has just come our way.

The start of the fourth diagnostic imaging repository (DIR)in Ontario was announced yesterday. The GTA West DIR project joins three others, the Southwestern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (SWODIN), The Northern and Eastern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (NEODIN), and the Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS).   

eHealth Ontario now reports that this will be the last DIR establshed --earlier they had suggested there would be six. These DIRs cross LHIN boundaries (the GTA West project crosses five LHIN boundaries)  - so the 'regions' are getting ever bigger.

University Health Network (UHN) "will manage the funding for the GTA West DIR project and provide the project management," but CGI Group will be "responsible for the design, development and management" of the project.

CGI is a huge private corporation focused on information technology and business processes. It has 31,000 staff in 125 offices worldwide.  UHN will pay CGI $50 million over seven years.  Aside from building, designing, and managing the service, CGI will also provide 'support services' to the system's users.

Ironically, this regionalization of hospital support services also brings the possibility for more local care: a major selling point for these projects is that they are suppose to improve remote access to radiologists and reduce patient travel. We will see if the reality matches the rhetoric.

More on  on private sector moves into health care in the next post later today.   


Popular posts from this blog

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…

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 …

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…