Business group urges changes to keep Ontario medical system healthy
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce wants more efficient procedures — not radical surgery — to keep the province’s health-care system alive and kicking.
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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is urging more efficient procedures — not radical surgery — to keep the province’s health care system alive and kicking.
In a 17-page report to be released Thursday, the business group notes an infusion of money is not what is needed for successful outcomes.
“The OCC believes the private sector has a role to play alongside a robust and sustainable public health-care system,” writes Allan O’Dette, president and CEO of the chamber, which represents 60,000 members.
“Partnering with both for- and non-profit actors can provide the public sector with new ideas, improve access to innovation, and build confidence in Ontario industry,” continues O’Dette in the high-level report, entitled Health Transformation: An Action Plan for Ontario.
“By making use of private expertise, the government can achieve its goals without ‘re-inventing the wheel’ or growing an already untenable health budget.”
The chamber’s study is bolstered by polling that suggests Ontarians are as concerned about the future of the public health system as they are about rising electricity costs.
Gandalf Group, which is also the Ontario Liberal Party’s pollster, found 77 per cent of respondents feel “ensuring the sustainability of the health-care system” is a high priority.
That ranks with 76 per cent who rated “reducing electricity rates” and 75 per cent who listed “managing cost of living increases facing Ontario households” as top issues.
The lowest rated of more than a dozen priority areas were “expanding early childhood education” (44 per cent), “creating child-care spaces” (48 per cent), and “lowering tuition in post-secondary education” (54 per cent).
Gandalf’s online survey of 1,004 adults was conducted Dec. 28 until Jan. 3 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The pollster found 39 per cent were confident the health system is sustainable while 25 per cent were not confident and 32 per cent weren’t sure.
Notably, 50 per cent believe “the health-care system doesn’t need more money, it just needs to be better managed.” That compares with 40 per cent who feel “more money is required but that’s not enough, the health-care system needs to be fundamentally changed.”
The chamber’s report — which echoes initiatives already under way by Health Minister Eric Hoskins who oversees a $51.8 billion budget — said the system should be focused “on patient outcomes for money spent.”
As well, it recommends modernizing of procurement and supply-chain processes to deliver better bang for the buck.
“Empower payers to explore non-traditional means of partnership, procurement, and contracting,” the report advised.
“Tactics such as commissioning, risk-sharing agreements, and value-based procurement models must be utilized in order to reduce public sector risk, improve data collection, and tie product or service performance to patient outcomes and system goals.”
The chamber also implores the government to do more to exploit new medical discoveries and innovations developed in Ontario.
That means sparking “an ecosystem that connects our researchers and entrepreneurs to the public health-care system.”
Such counsel will resonate at Queen’s Park, where Hoskins is pushing improvements at a time when Ontario’s independent budget watchdog has warned a cash crunch is looming in health care.
The Financial Accountability Office said earlier this month that the province may need to trim $2.8 billion by 2019 to meet balanced-budget targets.
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