Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Put Home-Care Focus Back on Sick and Elderly

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Put Home-Care Focus Back on Sick and Elderly

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Put home-care focus back on sick and elderly

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Sept. 24:

The alarm bells signalling that Ontario's home care agencies are a mess -- depriving patients of much-needed care while fattening the wallets of senior executives and administrators -- have been ringing for years.

As far back as 2010, an auditor general's report found that 11 of the 14 Community Care Access Centres, which arrange for at-home and community health-care support, had more than 10,000 people waiting for services. Meanwhile, 50,000 patients remained in hospital longer than necessary because ongoing care could not be arranged for them either at home or in the community.

We now know those patients weren't suffering solely for a lack of money. The CCACs are funded to the tune of $2.4 billion a year. The problem, according to a report released by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk on Wednesday, is that almost 40 per cent of those taxpayer dollars go to administration, not patient care.

In other words, the real sickness lies not in a lack of funding, but in how the CCACs are managed by the province.

That is unconscionable. And as a series of columns by the Star's Bob Hepburn on CCACs, that foreshadowed Lysyk's findings, found:

It is unconscionable that ill and elderly patients are on waiting lists or deprived of necessary health treatments while CEOs of the agencies have seen their salaries rise as much as 50 to 144 per cent - with some top executives earning nearly $300,000 a year.

It is unconscionable that, by contrast, most personal support workers make less than $20,000 a year.

It is unconscionable that ill patients are forced out of hospitals "sicker and quicker" when the community agencies that are supposed to care for them don't have the health-care staffing to do so. …

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