Changes in health-care services aren’t usually seen as a good thing but when the public understands the rationale behind the move, it makes the situation more palatable.
That difference is starkly contrasted with the planned closure of the urology department at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and the spending mess that threatened services at the Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre.
The CKHA will lose both of its urologists shortly and is developing a regional model rather than invest in on-site technology and specialist attraction.
Given that there is relatively low local volume and the strength of that specialty in Sarnia, Windsor and London, it seems a case of making the best of the situation.
Not so with the CCAC, which was planning massive cuts to home-care service due to a $5.9 million expected deficit for the current fiscal year.
Its funding masters at the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network stepped in with a $4.1 million bailout and a stern finger wagging to get things in order by 2016.
The CCAC had a $100,000 deficit the year before and a $1.1 million surplus the year before that.
Administration of CCACs and LHINs provincially costs the health care system nearly $250 million each year. The Erie St. Clair CCAC alone has 21 members in the sunshine club, up from nine less than five years ago.
That might be a good place to look for where some of that surplus went.
Nowhere within the CCAC or LHIN did anyone have the wherewithal to bring in some changes months ago when the deficit trend was already obvious.
Why should they when the province will bail them out?
When you contribute a dollar toward health care in Ontario, it lands in the lap of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. After taking its administrative costs, money is then transferred to the 14 LHINs, which take their cut.
They take a portion of what’s left and give it to the CCAC’s who in turn take their percentage.
The rest is handed to a service-provider agency, which takes its costs and gives what’s left over to people who actually provide the service.
They call that efficiency.