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RELEASE: Ford Government Cuts to Long-Term Care Funding Risk Already Over-Stressed Care Levels   

Posted: July 10, 2019

(July 10, 2019)  Toronto — The Ontario Health Coalition raises concerns about the Ford government’s funding cuts to long-term care. The Ontario Health Coalition has been made aware that level of care funding has experienced significant real dollar cuts. The per diem rate has been increased by 1%, which does not meet the rate of inflation. In addition to cuts to the per diem rate the government has cut special transition funds impacting in particular, municipally owned long-term care homes. Some municipalities will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding per year. Examples of funding cuts to municipal homes include: Lanark Lodge $80,000.00 Bonnechere Manor & Miramichi Lodge 175,000 (2019) 366,000 (2020), Fairhaven $204,000. The government has claimed that the long-term care sector has received altogether a 1.7% funding increase, however funding details released to date do not add up to 1.7%, noted the Health Coalition. This claimed increase of 1.7% would still be less than the rate of inflation. Homes that are losing the transition funds that they have relied on will be experiencing even deeper loss of expected funding due to the real dollar cuts in level of care funding. The funding cuts seriously threaten care levels in long-term care homes which are already too low to meet the needs of residents.

The Ontario Health Coalition released a report on long-term care Situation Critical: Planning, Access, Levels of Care and Violence in Ontario’s Long-Term Care at the beginning of this year. The report examined the current state of long-term care in Ontario. Among the key findings:
·         Extremely inadequate care levels that have decreased over the last ten years
·         Steadily increasing acuity of residents
·         Escalating violence in long-term care homes both resident on resident and resident on staff
·         Homicide rates in long-term care are unconscionably high, higher than homicide rates in any of the province’s large urban centres
·         Accident and injury rate for workers is the highest in the sector,
The core issue in long-term care is inadequate staffing of long-term care homes. The significant and dangerous problems that arise in long-term care all stem from not staffing long-term care homes adequately.  There is deep consensus among family groups, resident and advocacy groups, unions, health professionals, and nurses that the care levels were already too low to meet current care needs before these cuts.

Ford’s major election promises included ending hallway medicine, increasing the number of beds in long-term care plus a commitment to “no cuts” and “not a single person will lose their job”. The public understood that expanding long-term care included seeing improvements in our struggling long-term care system. Instead of expansion we are seeing real dollar cuts in hospitals and significant real dollar cuts to long-term care. These are real cuts that have a devastating effect on care “these cuts will cause suffering for frail elderly people with chronic illnesses who live in long-term care and require and desperately need improved care levels. Instead of improving conditions for the vulnerable in our society Ford is doing the opposite”, said Natalie Mehra executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

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