Independent conservative MPP slams Ontario government’s health-care law as ‘coercion’

Click to play video: 'Ontario government to charge patients for refusing to leave hospital'
Ontario government to charge patients for refusing to leave hospital
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario hospital patients could soon face a daily charge if they are discharged by a doctor but refuse to leave the health care facility. Global News’ Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Colin D’Mello reports – Sep 14, 2022

An independent conservative MPP is criticizing the Ford government’s plans to charge hospital patients who refuse to leave their beds and enter a long-term care home, arguing the policy amounts to “coercion.”

Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Bobbi Ann Brady, a former Progressive Conservative who was elected as an independent, said she voted against Bill 7 in the Ontario legislature because she is “unclear about its true intention” and questioned whether the law would achieve the intended result.

Read more: Ontario LTC bill passes, hospital patients who refuse to move won’t pay $1,800 per day: Ford

The Ford government’s law targets alternate level of care (ALC) patients who no longer require acute care, but remain in hospital as they wait for a placement in a long-term care home of their choice — a chronic problem that has contributed to gridlock in Ontario hospitals.

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According to regulations — set to take effect on Sept. 21 — the government will allow provincial care coordinators to enroll a patient into a long-term care home without their consent while hospitals simultaneously discharge them from their acute care bed.

Brady argues the policy would force seniors into making difficult decisions against their will.

Read more: Ontario patients to be charged daily fee for refusing to leave hospital

“Families fear officials will coerce seniors into moving far from home if they must choose between a transfer or paying out of pocket,” Brady said in a news letter to constituents.

“Coercion is no way to fix our ailing healthcare system, and it is no way to treat our seniors who have worked hard and deserve only the best in their golden years.”

Brady also questioned how much of an impact the legislation would actually have considering the scope of the issue.

The Ministry of Health said there are currently 6,000 ALC patients in Ontario hospitals, 2,000 of whom are elderly residents awaiting placement in a long-term care home.

Read more: Seniors, advocates, slam new law that could force patients to long term care homes

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Health Minister Sylvia Jones indicated that the province would be able to clear out at least 400 hospital beds in the short term using the new legislation.

“Given there is already a long list of seniors waiting for a long-term care bed, it begs the question of where the government will move these 6,000 patients,” Brady said.

“I do not believe this bill has anything to do with opening-up hospital beds because there are few beds available in nursing homes across Ontario.”

Brady, instead, called on the government to speed up the timeline of expanding long-term care homes to accommodate the 30,000 resident beds the government said it wants to build by 2028.

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