Lack of Health Services Reach a Critical Level
Amid calls in the news for massive health care reform, I’ve read dozens of articles published in the last few days that describe funding cuts, huge deficits at CCACs, individuals being denied home-based care they desperately need, and popular and necessary units being closed at hospitals all around Ontario.
These articles cite some disturbing statistics:
- Erie-St. Clair CCAC will cut off services for “mild needs” patients because of a $5.9 million deficit. They must cut home visits (some claim by as much as 33%) to balance their budget.
- Champlain CCAC has reassessed almost 1,300 patients and discharged more than 500 of those since September. Approximately 1,500 are on the waiting list and 400 a month are being added to it. This CCAC had a 20% increase in referrals and a 36% increase in the number of clients who need ongoing care, with only a 6% increase in funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health.
- In 2012/13 Ontario CCACs served an average of 42% more high-needs patients than the year before. However, funding to CCACs is based on the financial support they have historically received, rather than on the needs of their clients.
- Costs seem to be the breaking point of the CCACs’ ability to serve Ontario seniors in their homes. It costs an average of $842 for a hospital bed per day, $126 for a long-term care facility bed, and only $42 per day for care at home (Home Care Ontario); so it would make sense to serve people in their homes whenever possible. Yet it is estimated that as many as 33% of LTC facility residents could return home if they could get the services they need.
What Can I Do?
The above statistics point to a health care system in disarray, with patients’ needs remaining unmet while funding stalls and is inequitably distributed. The Ontario Ministry of Health is undergoing reform to move towards patient-based funding, and it can’t come too soon. See our post on Advancing Home and Community Care in Ontario for more information.
However, part of the public’s poor perception of the CCACs stems from not really understanding their rights and responsibilities – possibly because their CCAC doesn’t inform them. One of the most common concerns I hear is that people are afraid their government-funded benefits will be reduced or cut completely if they contract with a private service provider. This is simply not true.
Take some time to meet with your doctor or a CCAC advocate to see what benefits you really qualify for, how to make the most of them, and how to ensure you get them. Get informed about your rights, your CCAC benefits, and become an active advocate for your health. In-home caregivers and registered nurses at Qualicare can also advocate on your behalf. Click the button at the bottom to find out how we can help you get the services you need from your CCAC.
Here are links to a few of the articles cited above:
Care granted after Sun story, Ottawa Sun Nov. 29
Chesley's Restorative Care Unit shutting down due to lack of funding, Owen Sound SunTimes, Dec. 3
Champlain CCAC home-care cuts on hold, Ottawa Sun, Dec. 2
Where's the care for our elderly?, Ottawa Sun, Nov. 29
Personal support worker speaks out about home-care cuts, Ottawa Sun, Dec. 3
Health minister becoming punching bag for critics of home-care cuts, Windsor Star, Dec. 2
Ontario Health Coalition protests hospital cuts at Queen's Park, Toronto Sun, Nov. 21
Home-care system in free fall after more cuts, Toronto Star, Nov. 19