Ontario Hopes Retirement Home Vouchers Will Reduce Hospital Overcrowding

To combat overcrowded hospitals in Ontario, the provincial government is aiming to test drive a plan that could save certain patients from getting lost in the shuffle.

Last week in the Ontario budget, the Liberal party introduced an interesting voucher program designed to free up hospital beds.

Essentially, the voucher program would be available to ‘alternative-level-of-care’ (ALC) patients who are well enough to exit a hospital, but who are not well enough to live independently and do not have a long-term care/home-care arrangement  in place.

The voucher would cover the expense of a person’s stay at a private retirement home as they recover from their given ailment – until the individual can be admitted into a government-funded long-term care centre, or go home.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins has described said voucher-based program as a “transitional” solution for ALC patients.

“There are very few patients in ALC beds that love being there or want to be there,” said Hoskins. “So, the way I look at it is, the savings we accrue, we can afford to invest out of hospital, often at a fraction of the price and a better patient experience.”

The government is expected to test out the voucher program at some point this year, and then use its findings to determine the proper policy path forward.

In the aforementioned Ontario budget, the government set aside $24 million for developing “innovative” ways to handle ALC patients.

According to the Canadian Press, ALC patients make up nearly 15% of patients in Ontario-based hospitals.

For more discussion on senior living and various other pertinent social issues, please be sure to tune in Mondays (10pm ET/7pm PT) and Fridays (2pm & 11pm ET/11am PT & 8pm PT) for theZoomer. 

Also, we encourage you to check out CARP, an advocacy group that seeks better healthcare and financial security for Canadians as they age. Becoming a member will grant you access to a collection of fantastic benefits and discounts.

-Adam Grant