Horwath Costing Error Risks Firing of 850 Nurses and Home Care Workers

Only way to cut $100 million from CCACs is to slash front line workers

TORONTO, Sept. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - With just a few days left in the election campaign, Andrea Horwath has released the costing implications of her election promises. That costing includes a significant error that, if not corrected, will lead to the firing of 850 front-line nurses and home care workers.

Buried in the NDP costing document is a pledge to cut home care "administration" by 20%, or $100 million. But a closer look reveals the NDP's definition of administration includes nurses and other front line home care workers who perform case management at Community Care Access Centres (CCACs).

Case managers, a majority of whom are nurses, are responsible for evaluating what home care is required for Ontario patients, and coordinating the delivery of that care.  They also handle complaints about care and are responsible for monitoring the quality of home care being provided.

Without these case managers, patients will backlog in hospitals longer as they await a home care assessment, costing taxpayers more money for more expensive hospital care.

The NDP have based their $100 million (20%) savings on an Ontario Health Coalition report suggesting the total cost of administration and case management at CCACs is $500 million.  Administration itself is only $180 million of that; the other two thirds is case management.  Taking $64 million out of case management (or 2/3 of the identified savings target) translates to 850 nurses and front line home care workers.

Either Horwath and the NDP don't know what case managers do, or they are planning a major cut to front line health care services.  Either way, Ontarians have reason to be concerned.

"The front line nurses that Andrea Horwath has targeted for drastic cuts make life easier for families and play an essential role in ensuring patients can leave hospitals and get the care they need in their homes," said Laurel Broten, Liberal candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.  "Whether by incompetence or design, these cuts make it clear that Andrea Horwath is just not worth the risk."

Ontario Liberals have a plan to add 3 million more hours of home care to help seniors stay in their homes longer.  The plan also includes a Healthy Home Renovation Tax Credit, giving up to $1500 back for home renovations like ramps, chair lifts and walk-in bath tubs.

SOURCE Ontario Liberal Party

For further information:

Ontario Liberal Media Office 
416-961-3800 x 328

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