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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 3, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Thursday, May 3, 1973 THE IETHBRIDGB MIRMD 21 Health insurance plan Patients get faster action tor treatment at Ontario hospitals By JOHN LeBLANC TORONTO (CP) A man with a sprained ankle can go to his doctor and get patched up at a cost of to Ontario's ronto physician, Dr. K, M. Cooper, said in a recent letter to the editor. One administrator says that use of the emergency facilities health insurance fund. Or he can drop into the enrar- gency department of a hospital arid be attended to at a cost of between and Because both are free to the customer and he's likely to get faster action at the hospital, inore and mere persons under the universal Ontario Health In- surance Plan (GRIP) pick the hospital. Mothers take junior in now for his playtime cuts. "People emergency are treating the department as a drop-in centre for convenience rather than a To- LOOK MOBILE HQMf-S 205 12th St. 'A' S. lethbridge APPOINTMENT WALTER JOHNSON Walter Johnson has been ap- pointed as Soles Representative for LOOK MOBILE HOMES SALES. With wide experience in the Mobile Home freld in various parts of Alberta, he is more than qualified to assist you with your Mobile Home requirements. Walter invites all his friends ond anyone interested in Mo- bile Homes to stoo in at Look Mobile Homes Sales and see what Mobile Home Living is all about. is especially in larger centres. Dr. Richard Potter, Ontario minister of health, says the emergency areas is like an out-patient department. He's even thinking of telling the hos- pitals to cut down or pay the emergency doctors themselves. That's only one of the leak- ages of hospital money under OHIP which has led the provin- cial government to curtail hos- pital spending for the current ytiar to ease the pressure on the ;reasury while it figures cut a :ong-range program for gating health costs within bounds. In the last few years On- tario's hospital costs covered by insurance have been leaping by about 14 per cent a year. They now are paid billion, the 1972-73 jump of million put- ting it past that milestone for the first time. For the coining year, the gov- ernment has ordered an arbi- trary chop in hospital budget in- creases to not more than five per will just about keep them abreast of inflation. The hospi- tals have been told to take bsds out of the active-care cate- gory and find olier savings to hold down their claims on the government, which finances them. Ontario also has put into ef- fect a freeze on capital spend- ing for new hospital construc- tion except for a few projects considered essential. During this breathing spell, the health ministry and the treasury are seeking ways to get the most out of the hospital dollar. One conclusion, reinforced by a recent study made for the ministry by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, is that there are too many unnec- essary patients in the expensive active-treatment hospitals. The college found that one in every 20 was admitted unnecessarily and one in every 10 was kept in too long. Over-use cf active-care beds which runs into big money a a day per bed, is attributed by various authorities to a com- bination of causes. Some contend there is an in- clination among many doctors to plant a cluster of patients m a hospital, either for treatment or diagnosis, so that they are handy for a daily tour billed for as a series of visits. From the hospital's view- point, as one authority puts it diplomatically, government grants on the basis of bed use act as a "disincentive" to have empty beds lying around. One well-posted official says some hospitals have been found to have fully 30 per cent of their patients in unnecessarily. Another drain on government funds is empire-building in indi- vidual hospitals and, instead of co-operation by neighboring in- stitutions, duplication of serv- ices and competition for the government dollar. Since the clamps were ap- plied by the health ministry, provincial officials see the glim- mering of a trend among hospi- tals in the same or neighboring communities to pool resources and steer patients from one to another as facilities are avail- able. "We got a lot of flak when we first talked about cutting down hospital facilities but the reac- tion from hospitals has been Dr. Potter says. "Many hospitals have said, 'We can cut back more than you suggested.' One idea getting much atten- tion from both the government and independent experts is that of community health centres as a means of both reducing hospi- tal use and at the same time producing a continuing high level at health care. These consist generally of a group of doctors and other per- sonnel working as a unit with facilities for health promotion, preventive medicine, diagnosis and not in- hospital facilities. The pioneer centre in Ontario was set up at SauJt Ste. Marie 10 years ago with the backing of the United Steelworkers of America. Originally most of its customers came from the un- ion's local, but last year it dealt with more than persons. Because the centre's staff and facilities do considerable work that normally would call for sending a patient to hospital, it reports that users of the centre spend on the average about one- third less time in hospitals than do other Sault residents. The centre's 13 general prac- titioners and specialists work'on a combination of salary and productivity that averages 000 a year. OHIP doctors gener- ally will net about this year after meeting office ex-i penses. In St. Catharines a somewhat similar centre was up as a 1967 Centennial Year project of the United Automobile Workers. It, too, reports that because it has facilities normally only available in hospitals, it re- duces the necessity for many hospital admissions. Last year a committee headed by Dr. John Hastings of the University of Toronto made a study of the community- health centre concept for the conference of Canadian health ministers. The committee found that such centres can have "an impact on costs and the rate at which costs are escalating as well as going a considerable way toward reducing fragmen- tation and duplication of serv- ices." The committee recommended that provincial governments de- velop a "significant" number of centres. It particularly sug- gested that payment to partici- pating doctors should not be on the fee-for-service line with the way the Ontario cen- tres now operate. Federal Health Minister Marc Lalonde recently indicated that a proposed health-cost package the federal government is to of- fer the provinces will maka funds available for community centres. HkamWdker's Special Old, tie Rye Whisky. SPECTACULAR SAVINGS ON FAMOUS 6LIDDEN PAINTS EXTERIOR VALUES! ENDURANCE EXTERIOR OIL BASE HOUSE Resists moisture. Extra durability. Flows on easily. Dries to a beautiful g'oss, Gallons, Only Quarts Only 3.39 NO. 1862 BRILLIANT WHITE. Non-chalking. Gallons................. 11.99 SPRED ACRYLIC LATEX HOUSE PAINT 6 Drfes to a flat durable finish. Flows on smoothly Tools and hands clean up in water. Gallons, Only QUARTS 3.39 SPRED GEL-FLO EXTERIOR ALKYD HOUSE PAINT INTERIOR VALUES! Dries in 30 minutes Velvety matte-fiat finish. Washable, even spot scrubbable. GALLONS, SPECIAL........... 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