Understanding Health System Funding Reform
May 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Today’s post is from Cara Flemming, The Scarborough Hospital’s Vice President of Finance and Information Services.
There has been a lot of talk about healthcare transformation in Ontario, and what it might mean for both patients and healthcare providers. As a large community hospital, we know the changes that will take place over the coming months and years are necessary to sustain the healthcare system financially, and to make it more responsive to the patients we serve. And that’s a good thing.
At The Scarborough Hospital, we are focused on our mission of providing an outstanding care experience that meets the unique needs of each and every patient. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our quality of care while at the same time providing value for the healthcare dollars we receive. For example, we have posted three consecutive years of operating budget surpluses, while at the same time demonstrating significant improvements in many key quality indicators.
Without knowing how the province’s new funding model will affect us, we are unable to finalize our 2012-13 operating budget. We do know that rising costs and a zero per cent funding freeze mean we need to find about $11.7 million in savings to balance our books. Already, a number of measures are being undertaken or considered to help us meet our budget target for 2012-13 including discontinuing unfunded chiropody services, focusing on our own patients for Outpatient Lab tests, creating a new policy for non-urgent patient transportation, and moving the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Clinic into existing community space.
There are some assumptions we can make about how Ontario hospitals will be providing care in the future. These assumptions are based on Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care, as well as recommendation’s from the Drummond Report earlier this year.
- Hospitals will begin to specialize and focus on what they do best; not all hospitals will do all things
- Hospitals will stop doing some things because of cost and/or quality
- Some services, such as non-complex surgical procedures or services such as diabetes education, may be moved into community settings
- Consolidations or integrations may become necessary, and more common, across the province as hospitals look to find cost efficiencies
How are we meeting the challenge?
Our recent Clinical Action Plan will guide us as we build and strengthen our cancer care and chronic disease management services. We see these as key areas of clinical focus for the future, and we will continue to support the implementation of those plans. We are also pursuing opportunities with our community partners, such as our successful satellite dialysis unit at Yee Hong, which provides life-saving care closer to home for some of our most vulnerable patients. These initiatives are well aligned with the Ontario Action Plan for Health Care, and position us well for future healthcare reform.
We continue to seek new opportunities for improving efficiency, safety, quality of care, access to care and fiscal accountability, and as always, we welcome your feedback at email@example.com, and encourage you to share your ideas. More information about health system funding reform and our budget is posted on our web site.