October 24, 2002

Report asks province to recognize "Fair is Fair" principle for health care funding in York Region

NEWMARKET Ė The York Region Human Services Planning Coalition (HSPC) has publicly released its report on health care funding. Entitled Fair is Fair Ė Health Care Investment in York Region, the report outlines the provinceís historical healthcare under-funding for the GTAís fastest growing municipality.

"Now is the time to address this inequity before the stresses become too great for our health care providers to cope," says Vaughan Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Chair of the Regionís Health and Emergency Medical Services Committee and Co-Chair of the HSPC.

On a per capita basis, York Region residents receive less health care dollars from the Province of Ontario than those living in other communities. Although York regionís rate of growth in 1999 was 5.6 % compared to the provinceís growth rate of 1.3%, provincial healthcare funding for York Region has not kept pace:

The report makes three recommendations:

The HSPC is committed to working with the Province to ensure health care investments

meet the needs of York Region residents. The HSPC will initiate meetings with MPPs, Ministry

of Health and Long-Term Care staff and area municipal leaders on the need for greater levels of

investment in York Regionís health care, as well as raise awareness more broadly among health

care providers and the public of York Regionís funding issues.

"The Human Services Planning Coalition only asks for fairness in the allocation of limited financial resources," says Bill Hogarth, Director of Education for the York Region District School Board and Co-chair of the HSPC.

The HSPC was established in 2001 to support long-term, integrated planning and funding of human services, which include social services, public health, education and policing. Its goal is to have all human service providers and levels of government working together to ensure York region residents have strong, caring and safe communities -- the main thrust of Vision 2026, the Regionís strategic plan for the next 25 years. To review the health care funding report, Fair is Fair Ė Health Care Investment in York Region and for more information about the Human Services Planning Coalition and The Regional Municipality of York, visit www.region.york.on.ca.

See attached Qs & As.

Contact: Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region

 

Q. What is meant by "Fair is Fair"?

A. That the Province recognize that York Region must be able to rely on equitable, predictable, and responsive health care investment to meet the current demand for services and to plan effectively for future growth.

 

Q. Does York Regionís under-funding mean that residents donít have access to the services they need?

A. York Regionís health care system provides quality and efficient care to residents given the resources available. But York Region is growing faster than other regions, which has placed a strain on existing services. Health care funding needs to keep pace with growth and diversity to ensure that services needed by residents are available now and in the future.

 

Q. The report does not specify where additional funding is needed most, although it appears that some areas, such as community mental health and hospital funding, are much worse than others are. Does that mean some programs should have priority in receiving new funding? If so, which ones?
 
A.The health care system operates as an inter-dependent continuum of care -- where all services work together to ensure that residents have the right type of care when needed. Funding pressures in any one area can jeopardize this by causing back-ups and delays when residents need to transfer from one level of care to another. Additional funding needs to ensure that all components of the heath care system support the continuum of care. The Human Services Planning Coalition (HSPC) encourages the Province to work collaboratively with York Regionís health care providers to ensure that health investment meets community needs.

Q. Health care needs vary according to the population being served. If York Region residents are generally younger, healthier, and better off than other regions, why should York Region receive more dollars?

A. First, because of rapid growth. York Regionís funding levels are based largely on past service levels -- which doesnít account adequately for recent population growth and its associated demand for services. Second, because demographic trends clearly indicate that York Region will face continued growth, along with an increasingly aging and diverse population Ė all of which contribute to the need for higher levels of health care services. York Regionís health care system must be able to plan with confidence that both operational and infrastructure investments will be in place to meet this demand. The first step in that process is to bring per capita funding levels more closely to the Ontario average in order to catch-up to past under-funding. The second step is to develop base funding allocations that are responsive to population growth and changing demographics.

Q. Why has the HSPC used per capita calculations to consider health care funding?

A. Per capita calculations provide a measure of the distribution of funding to a population and, as such, is one indicator of equity. The HSPC recognizes that actual levels and costs of health care will vary depending on the specific demographics of a population, geographic location of service providers, and the type of specific care provided (e.g. specialized services). That is why the HSPC is recommending that additional investments more closely approach per capita averages, and that base funding allocations better reflect population growth and demographics.

Q. The report notes that the Province has increased funding for some health service areas over the last several years. Why isnít this enough to meet York Region needs?

A. The HSPC applauds the efforts to date by the Province to provide greater investments; however, rapid growth and changing demographics have still out-stripped the funding required to meet the demand for services.

Q. How will HSPC follow-up on the reportís recommendations?

A. The HSPC is committed to working with the Province to ensure that health care investments meet the needs of York Region residents. The HSPC will initiate meetings with MPPs, ministry staff, and area municipal leaders on the need for greater levels of investments in York Regionís health care, as well as raise awareness more broadly among health care providers and the public of York Regionís funding issues. As a collaborative, cross-sectoral planning body, the HSPC provides the forum to bring together the community, health care providers and senior levels of government to identify on-going needs and longer-term solutions.

 

Contact: Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region


The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

 
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