Original article atopseudiablogue
Does the high cost of hospital parking deter the public from accessing health services?
In 2006 we sought the answer to this question through a Vector Poll.
Over half of those surveyed in Ontario – 55 per cent – said the high cost of parking would deter low-income people from getting the health services they need. Another four per cent said it would depend on circumstances.
When the survey was broken out by income, that response climbed to 74 per cent among those earning less than $30,000 per year.
For those accessing regular services at their local hospital, this can add up to a significant amount, particularly for those on fixed incomes. We recently calculated that a rise in parking charges at Rouge Valley Health System would cost weekly users a total of $800 per year. For cancer patients attending three times per week, that would mean $2,400 per year.
This will impact St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, one of 14 Ontario hospitals identified as hiring lobbyists to obtain increased government funding.
From the Province of Ontario newsroom site:
“Using taxpayer dollars to hire an external lobbyist to ask for more taxpayer dollars is a practice that has gone on for too long – it’s unacceptable and it’s over. We have to focus our investments on front-line health care and public programs. It’s what the public expects and deserves.”
– Deb Matthews
Minister of Health and Long Term Care
Ontario is proposing strict new rules that would prevent organizations funded with taxpayer dollars from using public funds to hire external lobbyists to ask for more funding.
The proposed Broader Public Sector Accountability Act would, if passed, bring in new rules and higher accountability standards for hospitals, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the broader public sector around the use of external lobbyists, consultants and expenses. Hospital and LHIN executives could see reductions in pay, should they fail to comply with the requirements under the proposed Act.
As posted on opseudiablogue
The province has promised to provide community engagement guidelines to the Local Health Integration Networks following this summer’s Ombudsman’s Report.
In that report, the Ombudsman noted a board member of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN considered conversations on golf courses and grocery store line-ups as public consultation.
The guidelines, expected in October, can’t arrive soon enough.
At Wednesday’s board meeting of the South West LHIN, Dr. Murray Bryant said an integration proposal from St. Joseph’s Health Care and London Health Sciences “failed the most cursory test” when it came to public engagement.
From the OPSEU blog at http://wp.me/pLpCD-7q
opseudiablogue | August 18, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Categories: Health System | URL: http://wp.me/pLpCD-7q
There is no question the Ontario government spent much political capital framing the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) as local decision-making bodies that would be informed by local needs and priorities, made in and by the community.
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin’s report “The LHIN Spin” makes clear that the legislative underpinnings never supported that rhetoric.
One of the central problems is that the obligation to consult the public is very weakly defined in the Local Health System Integration Act (LHSIA).
The Act does suggest ways in which consultation can take place, but there is no minimum established.