As reported in the Times & Transcript on Saturday, March 25, 2023, the province is increasing the daily fees charged to patients waiting in the hospital for appropriate long-term care placements.
In this case, an “appropriate” placement is defined as one chosen by the patient or a family member or, should this not be available, one that meets the patient’s care needs and language requirements and is within 100 kms of the patient’s home.
Currently, two rates apply to patients who have been medically discharged by a doctor and do not require further hospital care but remain occupying a hospital bed. The first, a full medical discharge rate of $141.25 daily, applies to patients who do not agree to participate in the long-term care placement process when an appropriate long-term care bed has been identified or who refuses more than one offered placement. This rate has not changed.
The second fee, a so-called reduced daily fee of $46.90, is charged to those who agree to participate in the placement process but for whom an appropriate placement may not be immediately available. This fee will increase effective May 1 to $53.95 daily, to begin being applied 30 days after the patient has been medically discharged.
Patients who do not require hospitalization occupying hospital beds are not new or short-term; for much of the past ten years, it has been between 18% to 26%.
For many years now, patients across the province, often averaging more than 400 at any given time, have been stuck in this horrid limbo of waiting. No longer requiring hospital care but unable to return home, they remain with nowhere else to go, unable to start the next chapter in their life. Hospitals cannot provide the level of care and attention, physical or mental stimulation, companionship, or the activities they would find in a proper placement environment.
To add insult to injury, the government is increasing the price they pay to exist in this indefinite limbo.
Government’s responsibility is to manage the public interests by ensuring the adequate provision, maintenance, and expansion of public services. That is what we elect our government to do. It is possible to be financially responsible while still having a heart, and we ask that this government begin doing so.
This initiative only adds to an ever growing list of failures when it comes to looking out for our Seniors.