Report confirms serious health system capacity challenge

    TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - The Alternate Level of Care in Canada report
released yesterday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
substantiates the Ontario Hospital Association's (OHA) long-standing concerns
about the seriousness of alternate level of care (ALC) challenges and lack of
capacity across the patient care continuum.
    "Without question, the single biggest challenge facing Ontario hospitals
is the number of ALC patients waiting in hospitals for alternate levels of
care," says OHA President and CEO, Tom Closson. "CIHI's report, which shows
that Ontario has one of the highest percentages of ALC hospitalizations in the
nation, highlights the seriousness of the province's ALC challenge."
    CIHI's report specifically mentions that "reported ALC days rose from 10%
to 14% of all hospital days," proving that health system capacity is under
extremely serious pressure.
    The report also notes that "From a policy perspective, it is important to
understand if the health care system has sufficient capacity to provide
necessary care in the most appropriate setting." The OHA continues to call for
major investments in health services outside of hospitals and for creative
interim solutions to help hospitals bridge the capacity gap until the
longer-term investments begin to have effect.
    The province's capacity challenges are particularly noteworthy in light
of the current fiscal environment. If hospitals' planned operating funding
increase drops lower than 2.1 percent, a level that is already generating a
significant adjustment in services and the workforce, a very large contraction
in the capacity of the hospital sector could occur.

    ALC patients are those waiting in hospital beds, who could be better
cared for in other parts of our health care system, such as in a long-term
care home, in supportive housing, or at home with some home care services, for

For further information:

For further information: Amy Ouellette, Ontario Hospital Association,
(416) 205-1433

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