Action plan for responding to COVID-19 : OHA

The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) welcomes the government’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly its investments in hospital services and the wider health care system as well as direct support for people, jobs, and businesses.

Today’s announcement builds on the government’s recent declaration that hospitals will have the resources they need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The OHA is working with officials from the Ministry of Health to understand in greater detail the hospital funding information contained in the Minister of Finance’s Fiscal and Economic Update, as well as the anticipated changes in the hospital sector’s financial position resulting from actions such as the ramping down of elective activity over an extended period of time.

Given the financial and occupancy pressures facing hospitals heading into the 2020/21 fiscal year prior to the declaration of a pandemic, it is essential that hospitals have the underlying resources needed to maintain stability in their ongoing operations. The OHA welcomes the government’s clear commitment to ongoing and close consultation with the hospital sector in the difficult time that lies ahead, in order to ensure ongoing access to hospital-based services, particularly critical care, as a consequence of COVID-19.

While the full force of the pandemic has yet to run its course, in its aftermath the OHA believes it will be time for a national discussion on how to strengthen our health care system. With a forecast Ontario deficit of more than $20 billion in the year ahead, Ontario hospitals at record-setting efficiency levels and inadequate capacity in the home, community and long-term care settings, we call on the Government of Canada and provincial governments to join in common cause and fundamentally overhaul our system of transfer payments to strengthen the ability of our nation to fund health services into the future.

When the pandemic is behind us, we refuse to accept a return to the seemingly permanent cycle of austerity and poor planning that generated occupancy levels well over 100%, with one in six hospital beds occupied by a patient deserving of another more appropriate setting. Change must take place and building on the unprecedented spirit of cooperation shown during the COVID-19 crisis, we believe that the momentum to do so will be unstoppable.

Anthony Dale, President and CEO