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Old ideas are new again. Drummond & the OHA

Star columnist  Martin Cohn reports that the Drummond Commission into Ontario public sector reform has taken a major interest in the thoughts  of the Ontario Hospital Association.

The OHA reportedly claimed to Drummond that "Ontario's current situation is much more challenging than in the 1990s... With regard to hospitals specifically, the current situation is much more difficult than in the past."

Cohn concludes: 

The government could save billions with coordinated strategies to avoid institutionalized care for the frail elderly, for example with homemaker services. That's why the OHA suggested to Drummond that funding for community care, mental health and addiction services should increase by 5.5 per cent - far more than now budgeted.

Where would the money come from? This is where the big hospitals are showing leadership by sticking up for the little guys - likely at their own expense: "Given that this sector has the smallest overall budget (about $2 billion) ... new investments are clearly needed and these can be made possible through careful shifts in funding."

Despite Cohn's gushing support, this idea is actually very, very old.   It's been official policy for many years.   And, in fact, since 1980, they have cut 30,000 hospital beds in Ontario.  

On the home care side -- well, as usual, there is more rhetoric than reality to the promises to increase services when they cut hospital services.  Home care actually gets a smaller chunk of the funding pie than it did years ago.    And I expect much the same this time around -- the government's funding plans for home care are abysmal.   

But stay tuned for a lot more rhetoric justifying cuts to hospitals services...


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