LHIN fears province’s pre­scrip­tion for ef­fi­ciency

The Glengarry News - - News -

With the On­tario gov­ern­ment eye­ing the dis­band­ing of lo­cal health in­te­gra­tion net­works (LHINs), the Cham­plain LHIN stresses that it plays an im­por­tant role in de­liv­er­ing care.

“We share in the de­sire to im­prove the qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency of health care in On­tario,” says LHIN chair Jean-Pierre Boisclair. “The ag­ing pop­u­la­tion and growth of the pop­u­la­tion make this an im­per­a­tive to en­sure sustainabl­e health care for all.”

In re­fer­ring to the Path­ways For­ward to Bet­ter Pa­tient Care - Strate­gies and In­te­gra­tion Suc­cesses doc­u­ment, he noted that ini­tia­tives are tai­lored to bet­ter meet lo­cal needs, im­prove ac­cess to and qual­ity of health ser­vices, and pro­duce sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings that have been rein­vested to meet grow­ing de­mand for health ser­vices. For ex­am­ple, for ev­ery dol­lar in­vested in these ini­tia­tives, the health sys­tem gets nine dol- lars back in sav­ings.

The im­per­a­tive of adapt­ing pro­grams and ser­vices to meet lo­cal needs is crit­i­cally im­por­tant. “On­tario is a very large and di­verse province,” Mr. Boisclair said. “The health needs of its pop­u­la­tion vary.”

De­scrib­ing the Cham­plain LHIN as a lean or­ga­ni­za­tion, Mr. Boisclair says that nearly 99 per cent of its bud­get is ded­i­cated to di­rect pa­tient ser­vices. Very few providers can claim such low over­head costs, he main­tains.

In the most re­cent fis­cal year, the Cham­plain LHIN re­duced its own an­nual man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion costs by $1.4 mil­lion.

The health sys­tem is made up of a com­plex ar­ray of pro­grams, ser­vices and providers, he adds. “Some­one needs to over­see and co­or­di­nate all the dif­fer­ent parts in or­der to build a co­he­sive and com­pre­hen­sive whole for the ben­e­fit of the 1.3 mil­lion peo­ple who live in the Cham­plain re­gion. This job is akin to hav­ing ‘air traf­fic con­trol’ to en­sure the smooth func­tion­ing of many in­di­vid­ual parts.

Facts and Fig­ures

The Cham­plain LHIN pro­vides ser­vices in home and at clin­ics for about 65,000 clients ev­ery year, and has roughly 20,000 ac­tive clients at any given time. This amounts to 4 mil­lion client vis­its an­nu­ally for per­sonal sup­port, nurs­ing, and ther­a­pies such as phys­io­ther­apy, oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy, and speech ther­apy.

The LHIN’s home-care ser­vices play a key role in help­ing se­niors stay at home safely and in­de­pen­dently for as long as pos­si­ble. These ser­vices also pro­vide sup­port to in­for­mal care­givers, who of­ten feel stressed and alone.

The LHIN em­ploys care co­or­di­na­tors, men­tal-health nurses in schools, rapid re- sponse nurses serv­ing pa­tients re­cently discharged from hospi­tal, and some health pro­fes­sion­als who pro­vide thera- pies. It con­tracts with ser­vice provider agen­cies mainly to pro­vide per­sonal sup­port (e.g. as­sis­tance in bathing, get­ting dressed) and nurs­ing (e.g. wound care, giv­ing med­i­ca­tions).

At a time when the pop­u­la­tion is ag­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing more com­plex health con­di­tions, the de­mand for home care ex­pected to in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly. By 2028, in less than a decade, the num­ber of home-care clients to be served each year will rise from about 65,000 to ap­prox­i­mately 87,000, an in­crease of al­most 34 per cent. By 2038, that de­mand will fur­ther rise to al­most 120,000, an in­crease of about 85 per cent from the cur­rent state. For ev­ery dol­lar spent on home care by the LHIN, four dol­lars are saved in avoid­able hospi­tal and long-term care home costs, mak­ing home care a cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion in ad­dress­ing cur­rent health-sys­tem pres­sures.

In fact, if home-care pa­tients in the Cham­plain re­gion were to be treated in hospi­tals or long-term care homes, it would cost an ad­di­tional $130 mil­lion ev­ery year, re­quir­ing about 260 ex­tra acute-care hospi­tal beds, roughly 1,500 added long-term care home beds, and 100,000 more hospi­tal emer­gency room vis­its—cre­at­ing ad­di­tional bur­dens to an al­ready chal­lenged sys­tem.

“This is akin to hav­ing ‘air traf­fic con­trol’ to en­sure smooth func­tion­ing of many in­di­vid­ual parts.”

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