TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The 2012 Ontario Budget includes a number of initiatives that will move the implementation of the Government of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care forward, improve patient care, and make Ontario's health care system more sustainable, said Mark Rochon, Interim President of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). However, the long-term success of the plan depends on the effectiveness of that implementation.
"There were no surprises in today's budget," said Rochon. "The government has very clearly signaled that it has rejected harmful, across-the-board cuts to health care funding, and that it intends to move forward quickly and responsibly with implementing its Action Plan for Health Care - a plan that Ontario's hospitals fully support."
Among other things, the government's Action Plan for Health Care, introduced in early 2012, would shift appropriate patient services away from hospitals to an expanded community-based health care sector, including home care service and long-term care service providers. If fully implemented, this plan would help to ensure patients get the right level of care, where and when they need it, and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments.
According to the 2012 Ontario Budget, hospitals overall will not receive an increase in base operating funding over what they received in 2011-12. With the introduction of a patient-based funding model, this means that some hospitals will receive an outright cut in operating funding in 2012-13. 2 percent of funding has been allocated in the 2012 Ontario Budget to fund priority programs and planned hospital expansions. Four hospital capital renewal projects were also cancelled, and two other projects were re-scoped.
"There is no doubt that this budget will disappoint some communities, or that some hospitals will need to make some very difficult decisions," said Rochon.
The OHA welcomed the government's proposals to compel arbitrators to make more transparent decisions regarding collective agreements. "Ontario's hospitals have shown strong leadership in calling for interest arbitration reforms," said Rochon
The 2012 Ontario Budget also entrench the use of pay-for-performance programs in hospital executive compensation packages, something that the OHA has long supported. "Hospital leaders have answered Premier McGuinty's call for improvements to they are compensated," said Rochon. "We are happy that the government has taken much of our advice in these regards."
"The success of the government's Action Plan for Health Care depends entirely on it being implemented in a thoughtful, evidence-based way," said Rochon. "This means that health care providers, unions, and physicians must temper their expectations regarding additional funding increases, and work together to meet the needs and expectations of Ontarians."
For further information:
OHA Public Affairs - 416-205-1433