Ontario Budget Avoids Key Actions Necessary To Sustain Ontario's Health Care System
TORONTO - Ontario Hospital Association President and CEO Pat Campbell released the following statement regarding Ontario's 2013 Budget. "Although there are a few positive initiatives for hospitals and the health system in the 2013 Budget, on the whole, we are disappointed.
Hospitals will receive a base operating funding increase of 0 per cent in 2013-14. This isn't a surprise; hospitals received a 0 per cent increase in base operating funding in 2012-13. Hospitals will work with their Local Health Integration Networks and the government to meet their budget obligations, and they have been actively scenario planning for the coming year using responsible funding assumptions. What this underscores is the need to ensure that our current efforts to implement a major hospital funding reform program remain deliberate, collaborative, and evidence-based.
The government has again failed to commit to creating a comprehensive health system capacity plan, or provide hospitals multi-year funding planning information. Hospitals need this kind of planning and information to ensure coordinated health system planning and sound decision-making, particularly in an environment where funding increases will be flat or minimal for the foreseeable future. Planning and information sharing is vital to creating a system where Ontarians get the health care they need, when they need it, in the most efficient way possible.
We were disappointed that the government chose not to make the kind of legislative reforms necessary to ensure that arbitrators adequately consider hospitals' ability to pay arbitrated compensation awards to hospital employees. These reforms are absolutely necessary, particularly in light of the government's refusal to adopt an explicit, legislated, across-the-board broader-public-sector wage freeze. In today's funding-constrained environment, wage settlements above 0 per cent will put additional pressure on patient services at many hospitals.
Hospitals welcome the government's additional investments in community and home care services. We believe that these investments are necessary to improve patient care and reduce the number of patients who are currently in hospitals who could be better served at home or in a different health care setting.
Hospitals are very pleased with the government's decision to make permanent the $20 million fund created in the 2012 Budget to support small and rural hospital innovation. This decision recognizes that small and rural hospitals have a track record of foresight and innovation, and also their unique and important roles in their community.
In the coming days and weeks, hospitals and the OHA will work with the Government of Ontario to better understand the 2013 Budget."