Skip to main content

Home care cuts AND hospital cuts

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is planning to cut 22 hospital beds to deal with the government's funding squeeze. The cuts include seven medical beds, two surgical beds, and three pediatric beds in Chatham, as well as 10 complex continuing care beds at the Sydenham campus in Wallaceburg. The bed cuts are supposed to reduce the hospital's deficit.

The Ontario government has endlessly claimed that improved home care services will offset hospital cuts. "Rebalance" is the Health Minister's word of choice.

Despite this claim,  the organization overseeing home care in the Chatham area (the Erie-St. Clair Community Care Access Centre or "CCAC") is projecting a deficit of $8 to $10 million. The CCAC plans "aggressive and deliberate" actions to live within the budget provided by the government.  The CCAC boss, Betty Kuchta says this "is likely going to mean service adjustments." 

Kuchta told the Windsor Star that they will start assessing cases so high-needs patients are served first while less acute patients might be put on waiting lists.

It remains unclear if the government will step in and provide any significant relief.  We are over four months into the fiscal year and the CCAC has been pleading  for more money for quite some time. Cutting $8 to $10 million would be a big blow to existing services: it represents between 6.8% to 8.5% of the CCAC's budget.  

Chatham-Kent Health Care Alliance currently claims 300 beds, so 22 beds amounts to a 7% reduction.  In the mid-1990s, there was 330 hospital beds in  (what was then called) Kent County.  

As of late last year, most CCACs were in deficit.  It's not clear whether this has improved or (as seems more likely) gotten worse.  The nearby Waterloo-Wellington CCAC was taken over by the province in July, following several years of deficit problems.   


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…