The provincial government of Ontario has disclosed fresh information on a new long-term care law, which includes a provision that would charge seniors $400 per day if they opt to remain in a hospital after being discharged rather than relocate to a long-term care facility where they have no say.
In order to accommodate the growing demand for long-term care facilities, Bill 7 (also known as the “More Beds, Better Care Act”) permits the temporary relocation of patients waiting for beds in one facility to another facility.
Provincial health or long-term care ministries said in a joint statement that the policy “frees up hospital wards so that those waiting for procedures may have them sooner” and reduces the burden on already strained emergency departments.
Advocates voiced worry that if patients declined the offer, they would be relocated to long-term care facilities distant from their families or paid expensive costs to stay in the hospital.
On Wednesday, the government announced the bill’s accompanying rules, which limit transfers to within 70 kilometers in southern Ontario and then within 150 kilometers in northern Ontario.
Placement coordinators might choose a facility that is the next closest to the patient’s desired location if a suitable long-term care home is not available or has limited availability within the specified distance.
The government said that the healthcare and long-term care industries provided the inspiration for these limits.
Also, starting on November 20th, the government mandates that hospitals charge a daily to day fee of $400 to any patients “who have been released by a doctor with a care plan that gives more suitable treatment elsewhere.”
Any patient who is released from the hospital but remains there for more than 24 hours will be subject to the fees.
Officials also emphasized that no one will be sent to a nursing facility without their choice.
The policy, which was designed with the help of experts, will be carried out with compassion and with an eye on giving all Ontarians the best treatment possible.
Prior to the implementation of these rules, hospitals could charge ALC patients a maximum of $62.18 each day, or over $1,800 per month, if they stayed in the hospital instead of moving into one of their 5 preferred homes.
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