Home care cuts undermining Medicare

Posted on November 26, 2014 in Health Delivery System

TheStar.com – Opinion/Readers’ Letters – Re: Cuts to home care a myth, minister says, Letter Nov. 24
Nov 25 2014.   Natalie Mehra

Thousands of people were recently cut off of their needed home care services in the Ottawa area. This, after the Ottawa Hospital closed its endoscopy unit last year, cutting thousands of endoscopies per year. At the same time they cut more than 1,600 cataract surgeries per year, sending these services out to private clinics that are not only billing OHIP but also charging patients user fees on top.

The hospital also cut 290 nurses, health professionals and support staff, along with the services they provide. This equals a cut of more than 500,000 hours of patient care, therapy and hospital support.

Now, in the Windsor area reams of patients are being cut wholesale from their home care services. This, in an region that continues to experience devastating hospital cuts.

In Toronto, we receive regular calls from patients who have been discharged from hospital and promised home care that does not materialize. Or they are told that they somehow have to drive themselves — within days after being discharged from surgery — to a so-called “home care” wound clinic to get care.

In Thunder Bay and the northwest, more than 100 home care visits are missed every day as provider companies cannot — or simply do not — fulfil contracts to provide care. If patients cannot get publicly funded home care, they have to pay out of pocket or go without.

The story from the Ministry of Health has been that the cuts to hospital care and the downloading of ever more acute and complex hospital patients is not a cut — it is “transformation.” This is utter nonsense. It not only a cut. It is the systematic dismantling of vital hospital services that are never replaced in home care. And it is the privatization of vital hospital services to private clinics that undermine single-tier Medicare.

We find it appalling that the Minister of Health claims he is unaware of the suffering this is causing thousands of Ontario families. After all their suffering has been featured regularly in newspaper stories across the province. Kudos to the Star for calling him on it.

If we allow the dismantling of publicly provided health care and the continued offloading of hospital patients without any care in place, we are sounding the death-knell of public health care for all in this province.
It is time for the Minister of Health to insist that his ministry do the first job that is expected of any Health Ministry in a country with a public health care system: measure and plan to meet population need for health care. It is beyond time that these cuts must stop.

Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition

< http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2014/11/25/home_care_cuts_undermining_medicare.html >

Tags: , , , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 10:11 am and is filed under Health Delivery System. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Home care cuts undermining Medicare”

  1. Katie says:

    Letter to the Editor:
    RE: Home Care Cuts Undermining Medicare, posted November 26, 2014

    As Canadians we are proud to consider our health care system as “one of the best” and the majority of Canadians find that having adequate health care is also top priority when it comes to public spending. This article states that recent changes and cuts to the system have reduced jobs and the availability of care (namely homecare). This is a disconnect with the beliefs of our country, and such, it is important to make realistic goals when it comes to what we feel is a successful health care system. The privatization of some hospital services is a way to reduce spending and also off-set patient processing. This may be is seen as a dismantling of vital hospital services, however, it is a way to ease the tension. Our current health care system was not initially designed to help in such a broad way. It was developed to assist financially should you be burdened with acute medical treatment costs. A target for effective health care is to increase the overall health and wellbeing of those within our society. But with budget cuts, rising illness and disease rates, and a society that is aging longer, this is hard to achieve. Perhaps we need to look at more than just the health care system and towards the underlying contributing factors; such as improving economic and social influences. Ultimately we need health care, but in some instances it is the end solution to several problems that could have been circumvented.

    BSW Student
    Laurentian University


Leave a Reply