What do hospitals really receive in funding increases?
This is often a difficult question to answer given funding flows in so many different ways.
One of them is pay-for-results (P4R) funding.
In year four of the scheme, the P4R program was intended to reward hospitals that succeeded in reducing emergency room wait times. Payments would be determined each quarter.
The results have been hardly stellar.
The Central East Local Health Integration Network recently indicated that of the nine general hospital sites eligible for P4R funding, only $755,150 out of a possible $5.1 million would be given out for the most recent fiscal quarter (Q3).
Most notable is the struggling Peterborough Regional Health Centre, which will only receive $23,100. Had they met their targets, they would have been eligible for a bonus of as much as $758,250. Ouch.
Smaller hospitals, like Northumberland Hills in Cobourg, will receive no bonus money at all for the quarter. This won’t be the first time Cobourg came up empty-handed in the past year.
As hospitals get squeezed even further under the coming austerity plan, it will make it harder for them to reach their targets, creating a ripple effect in funding.
Many of the factors affecting these times may be out of the hospital’s control, such as the effectiveness of nearby Urgent Care Centres or whether a counterproductive stampede effect takes place when news of the shorter waits become public. Then there are flu epidemics, bad winters, sweltering summers and other omens of a hectic day in the ER.
And let us dare suggest that the squeeze on staffing may be having some effect on these outcomes?
Four years on, this scheme is clearly not working. Perhaps its time to look at other ways to improve ER performance.