Unmet needs: More reasons to stay healthy and not rely on the System
We are constantly telling ourselves that we must adopt, and maintain, healthy lifestyles. Eat right, exercise, get lots of sleep, avoid stress, floss.
The value of staying fit is evident whenever an evaluation of the Health System is released.
The latest check-up comes from the Champlain region Community Care Access Centre and the Local Health Integration Network, which note that the demand for home care has been greater than the available funding could provide.
“To help manage the demand for its services, the CCAC has sought ways to improve efficiency and prioritized higher-need clients. Despite these efforts, an increasing number of people have been waiting to receive home care services,” the LHIN says.
Key findings of a study include confirmation that there is substantial unmet need for home-care services in the Champlain region, and it is primarily due to inequitable funding.
Currently, the LHIN receives $240.5 million to fund home care services.
If the Champlain LHIN were funded for home-care using a population-based model, it would receive an additional $31.5 million as its share of provincial home-care investments. If the funding shortfall was addressed, potentially 6,000 more home care clients would receive home-care services.
Community support services, which play a critical role in home care by substituting and complementing CCAC services, are also under-funded in Champlain relative to other regions: 25 per cent per capita less than would be expected.
Higher costs for contracted patient care services in Champlain also contribute to unmet need. For example, the Champlain CCAC pays 14 per cent more than the provincial average for nursing services based largely on agreements with contracted service providers that were negotiated over 12 years ago. Higher rates mean that fewer services can be provided.
Inefficiency is not a problem, according to the report. The Champlain CCAC is very efficient in administrative costs. At seven per cent, its administrative costs are less than the provincial average.
The CCAC provides more nursing visits in clinics than the rest of the province -- 19 per cent, while the provincial average is 14 per cent. When patients are seen in a clinic setting instead of at home, the cost is about 50 per cent less because nurses are saving the time needed to travel and set up.
The report’s release is timely. As of May 24, the CCAC is merging with the Champlain LHIN, and the LHIN will continue its current mandate while also delivering home and community care services.
In the coming months, the Champlain LHIN will review the report and its recommendations, and develop a list of priorities for action. While we hope to see a healthy injection of money into our services sometime in the future, the most immediate course of action for all of us is to take care of ourselves in order to avoid relying on the Health System.