Defend Public Healthcare: Cuts drive crisis for unpaid women caregivers

Cascading health care cuts are resulting in significant problems for home care patients and their families, seriously undermining the main defense the government makes for its policy of hospital and long-term care cutbacks. With hospital cutbacks and a virtual freeze on long-term care beds, home care and unpaid caregivers must now take care of sicker and ...

Defend Public Healthcare: Cuts drive crisis for unpaid women caregivers

Cascading health care cuts are resulting in significant problems for home care patients and their families, seriously undermining the main defense the government makes for its policy of hospital and long-term care cutbacks. With hospital cutbacks and a virtual freeze on long-term care beds, home care and unpaid caregivers must now take care of sicker and ...

Defend Public Healthcare: Ontario hospital length of stay in rapid decline, Canadian average now 21% longer

New hospital inpatient length of stay data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) indicates [1] Ontario lengths of stay continue to decline, but the pace of decline has picked up, and [2] the gap between the Ontario and Canadian average length of stay is growing and has now hit startling levels. Since ...

Defend Public Healthcare: Health care employment in Ontario and Canada

Hospital employees in Ontario form a much smaller part of the population than in the rest of Canada – in 2014 about 0.32 % less of the population than in the rest of Canada. As a result, if Ontario had the same percentage of the population as the rest of Canada working in hospitals, there ...

Defend Public Healthcare: Rapid change in public hospital services

Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) hospital data indicates big changes in hospital activity, particularly in the most recent four years reported. Ontario, especially, is experimenting with hospital cuts and restructuring.   Hospital inpatient days are now dropping rapidly in Ontario – with a drop of 13.4% in inpatient days over the last four years. ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Rest of Canada spends 23% more on hospitals than Ontario

Provincial government hospital expenditure per person in Ontario compared to the rest of Canada based on CIHI data. A large gap has grown between what the Ontario provincial government spends on hospitals and what other Canadian provinces spend. Since 2004/5 the gap has grown from a mere $9.43 per person to $316.50 per person in 2012/13. Nine ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Are hospitals primarily providers of acute care?

Hospitals are often stereotyped as providers of acute care services.  In fact, acute care accounts for a relatively small portion of total hospital services. As noted a few days ago,  costs per acute care patient (or, more exactly, per “weighted case”)  in Ontario are significantly below the national average, coming in at $5,174  in 2010-11 ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario: 6.1 fewer hours of care per hospital patient

The real costs for the average hospital acute care patient are declining.  As noted yesterday this is true for both Ontario and Canada, based on data just released from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.    But the CIHI data also revealed other interesting trends, likely related.   Administrative Costs Decline: Administrative costs continue their long decline in Ontario hospitals, falling ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Costs of hospital treatment falling

Ontario has the lowest hospital cost per weighted case of all the provinces.  And the cost difference between Ontario and the rest of the country is growing. Hospital Cost Per Weighted Case ($) 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 Newfoundland 6,001 6,283 6,332 PEI DQ DQ 5,257 Nova Scotia 4,998 5,403 5,384 New Brunswick 5,104 5,380 5,390 Quebec ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Are employer paid drug plans unsustainable?

A Great West Life Assurance executive recently claimed that private insurance for drug plans was becoming unsustainable — unless changes are made. Almost all private drug insurance plans are paid through employer paid  insured benefit plans (often bargained with trade unions). In fact, although there were significant increases during the 90s and the first decade ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Health care spending continues decline

Contrary to the hysteria from conservatives, health care spending continues to decline as a percentage of the provincial budget.   Last year, health care accounted for 38.5% of total expenditures, this year the government plans to bring it down to 38.3%.  This continues the trend downwards since 2003/4 when health care accounted for 40% of total ...

Defending Public Healthcare: English reforms lose their appeal in Ontario?

England has had a disproportionate impact on health care reform in Ontario over the last decade or so –under both Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments.   After the election of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat government in Britain in 2010, English health policy took a decided turn towards bonzo-privatization.  As elsewhere, the electorate were only informed after the ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Nursing levels low and getting lower

Yesterday,  I wrote about the significant lack of nursing care in Ontario hospitals compared to the other provinces.  Even on a Canada-wide basis, there was 5.32 hours more nursing care per patient than in Ontario in 2010-11 (year end March 31).   That sounds kind of shocking. But it looks like it is getting worse. ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Hospital costs lower in Ontario

The “cost per weighted case” in Ontario hospitals in 2010-11 was $5,143, according to a new report from CIHI.   (This indicator measures the relative cost-efficiency of a hospital’s ability to provide acute inpatient care.)  The Ontario cost per weighted case compares with a Canada-wide average of $5,230.96. In other words, the Canada-wide average is 1.7% higher than ...

Defending Public Healthcare: MRSA and C. Difficile rates fall (but not here)

A new report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health in England reports that “rates of C. difficile have fallen consistently in all English regions in recent years. MRSA has fallen markedly and is now very low in many areas.” As noted in  November, there is no evidence of that in Ontario, as the incidence of both MRSA ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Hospital cuts in 1.7% to 2.7% range

More hospital savings. Joanna Frketich reports Hamilton Health Sciences needs to find $20 million to $25 million in savings, while Hamilton St. Joseph’s is cutting $10 million to $12 million, and Burlington’s Joseph Brant must cut $4 million.   In total, $34 to $41 million in cuts for Hamilton area hospitals.    That is in the ...

Defending Public Healthcare: It’s raining cuts

Premier designate Kathleen Wynne has strongly suggested that hospital cutbacks will continue   Of the cuts just announced at the Ottawa Hospital, Wynne says the government is “transforming the health-care system, so services that need to be delivered in a hospital setting are delivered in a hospital setting, but services that don’t are delivered elsewhere….It means there will ...

Defending Public Healthcare: A tiny response to growing elder needs

The Ontario government’s 26 page Action Plan for Seniors came out yesterday.  There’s not much to it.  About half of the report simply rehashes what is already in place. To the good, they at least formally recognize that the elderly population is expanding rapidly and that this is going to require an  “overarching plan” that (absent their ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Major decline in nursing in Ontario hospitals

There was a sharp reduction in the number of Registered Nurses (RNs) working in Ontario hospitals in 2011, with a cut of 2,750 RNs to 58,699 according to new CIHI data.  That’s a 4.47% decrease in one year.  Community health numbers also took a very hard hit, while numbers were up very slightly in long-term care. For ...

Defending Public Healthcare: No progress on hospital superbugs

There has been no progress stopping the spread of superbugs in Ontario hospitals according to government data. Reported C. difficile rates are about the same as they have been, starting this past year at 0.35 cases per thousand patient days and ending it at the same level.    The annual average was also 0.35. Month Rate Oct ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Elderly pushed out of hospitals: Elder Advocate

Jane Meadus of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly says that some seniors are being pushed out of hospital too soon under the province’s Home First policy, the Ottawa Citizen reports. “Patient safety is at high risk…While many patients will do well at home with extra home-care services, there are many who are too sick ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Public sector health care funding shrinks – again

Private funding of health care is increasing faster than public funding.   Now the Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that public funding is expected to fall to 69.7% of total funding in 2012. Public funding has been much higher — in 1976 it  provided 77% of all health care funding.  After a slow, multi-year ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Finding appropriate care for ALC patients in hospital

Today, in the Ottawa Citizen, the Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa reports a big decline in the number of  “ALC” patients (down  from 50 patients a day to 20 or 25 — a  50% to 60% decline).  The Citizen also reports a smaller decline in the number of people waiting for a LTC bed (down ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Funding crisis forces hospital to cancel surgeries

Quinte Health Care is simply stopping elective surgeries for a week to deal with funding shortfalls from the provincial government.   The hospital’s CEO Mary Clare Egberts told The Intelligencer that the cuts weren’t in keeping with QHC’s new “patient-first” strategy but a lack of provincial funding leaves few options.  The Intelligencer adds that QHC will also ...

Defending Public Healthcare: $9 M hospital settlement for law-suit alleging poor cleaning

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital has agreed to settle a law-suit by approximately two-hundred victims of a C. difficile outbreak at the hospital for $9,000,000, the Hamilton Spectator reports.  That is an average of about $45,000 per claimant.   The law-suit alleged the Burlington hospital was not properly cleaned, maintained and disinfected.  OCHU has long warned that hospitals would ...