June 8, 2001
Letter in Response to CCAC Cutbacks
Dear Ms. Sears,
We would like to thank you for involving the Kingston Health Coalition and other members of the Kingston Community in developing a response to the provincial government’s latest threats to our health care. At our meeting last night we had a lively discussion on the actions needed to preserve and expand community health care in Kingston.
It was strongly felt that since the government is taking centralized decisions to underfund and mismanage home care, they should also be expected to make the decisions on who will not receive the health care they need. Undoubtedly the MOHLTC’s latest directives will harm the collective health of our community and the health of individual members. The CCAC’s role is to deliver community care services that meet peoples needs. We believe that you and the board should not be taking positions that deny patients the care they need.
We felt that the CCAC is in a central position to develop community partnerships and bring together a community response to fight the government’s hazardous actions. The CCAC should join in a campaign to pressure the government to end the competitive bidding system and institute a publically funded and delivered home care system. This would open up possibilities to use existing money more effectively. The CCAC should also monitor and publicize unmet health needs in the community. You could play a key role in bringing together users , health care workers, family members and interested groups and individuals to document the harm being done by the governments under funding. This would provide a strong basis for further arguments to improve funding and reform home care.
In response to the immediate directives of the government we would urge the CCAC to:
not reduce services for financial reasons to any patients on the case load, or coming onto the case load;
stop taking patients from the hospital unless the CCAC has the capacity to provide all the services these patients needs. While this may be inconvenient for some patients and not their choice, at least, in the hospital, they are in a safe environment and receiving the medical and nursing care that they need;
If the Minister continues to press for further cuts, demand that he make the decision on what services should be cut. It is not responsible for us to decrease health services that are needed by patients. We already deliver services below what is needed. The changes two years ago restricting home care to those who require personal care is one example. This provision is particularly relevant in light of a recent study released by the Canadian Health Economics Research Association that shows that cutting home making services in B.C. increased mortality, morbidity, the rate admission to long term care facilities and overall health care costs.
The CCAC should start a public campaign to pressure the government to end the competitive bidding system, and increase home care funding to meet population need.
We look forward to working with you on these issues in the future. The Health Coalition would be glad to work with you to increase funding and reform home care. We need an integrated community controlled, publically funded and delivered system that can meet the real health needs of our community.
Yours sincerely, on behalf of the Kingston Health Coalition,
Charlie Stock, Ross Sutherland