The Ontario budget, released yesterday, contained several health care initiatives. While the details of how some of the initiatives will roll out are not yet available, the budget did not contain any direct references to hospice palliative care. There are however, investments in chronic care and home care, both areas with significant hospice palliative care service delivery. The budget also emphasizes that the goals of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care are to achieve better patient care through better value from health care dollars. The Ontario Medical Association has expressed concern over the budget proposal to cap physician compensation at current levels. HPCO will continue to work with government to define the role of hospice palliative care and validate the return to the healthcare system on investments made in the sector.
Below are some of the budget initiatives relevant to hospice palliative care. Full budget documents may be found here.
- Increase investments in home care and community services by an average of four per cent annually for the next three years or $526 million per year by 2014-15
- Development of a new Seniors Strategy that will expand house calls, increase access to home care, and provide improved care coordination
- investments in chronic care services provided in the community to ease pressure on long-term care homes' waiting lists and help reduce the number of ALC patients in hospitals
- Enhance care coordinators for seniors, particularly those with complex conditions, with guidance by working closely with all health care providers
- Maintain total physician compensation at current levels through the next Physician Services Agreement with the Ontario Medical Association