Skip to main content

Major increases in long term care staffing. But the future...?

The number of full time equivalent staff in Ontario long term care (LTC) facilities increased from 51,898 to 62,739 between 2003/4 and to 2009/10.  That's an increase of 10,841 staff, or 20.9%. That is significantly more rapid than the growth in the number of approved beds (which increased by 8.8% over the same period, as discussed earlier this week).  This may reflect the growing age and infirmity of residents in LTC homes. Still staffing falls far short of need.

Will the staffing increase continue? It's hard to see other alternatives in the longer term.  But right now there is a decided lack of enthusiasm for long term care from the Minister of Health and LTC and problems in the industry are bubbling down south, thanks to government austerity.

Kaiser reports that the stocks of US nursing-home operators — and the landlords that rent to them — have tanked since late July, when the federal US government announced an 11.1 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements (thanks to government austerity).  As noted earlier, operators are forecasting 20,000 layoffs as a result of the Medicare cuts.   

There is some cross-over between for-profit Canadian and US LTC operators.  Extendicare REIT stock is trading considerably lower than its 52 week high, after taking a hit when the US Medicare cuts were announced.  The Markham, Ontario, based Extendicare gets 70% of its revenue from the USA and the rest from Canada.


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 …