Ontario Public Health presses state for more stable funding

Ontario’s Public Health Department has stopped using one-time funds to fill the gap the government created four years ago, predicting a backlog of services accumulated by COVID-19. We are asking the government to provide possible funding sources. Pandemic.

The government, led by Prime Minister Doug Ford, has announced that it will cut some of the state’s public health funding in 2019. Moved from a 75/25 cost-sharing scheme with municipalities to 70% state and 30% municipality.

After the protests, Ford withdrew its retroactive cuts for the rest of the year and provided mitigation funds to help local governments transition to the new formula. , continuing until 2023.

Now, the Association of Local Public Health Authorities is asking the government to permanently return to the original level of funding in the next budget.

“There is an over-reliance on mitigation and temporary funding to bear ongoing and predictable costs,” the association wrote in its budget filing.

“It introduces unnecessary uncertainty into the budget planning process and carries with it significant financial risks that lead to the curtailment of critical services. Lack of timely funding is a long-standing problem that is easily resolved.”

A spokesperson for Health Minister Sylvia Jones said in a statement that the money flowing into the public health sector still reflects a 75% contribution from the state.

“Our government will continue to invest in public health,” writes Hannah Jensen.

Public Health urges government to increase overall funding by $145 million so it can meet state-mandated standards, handle inflation costs and catch up with backlogs of services due to the pandemic. I’m here.

Dr. Charles Gardner, health medical officer at Simcoe Muskoka and vice president of the Public Health Association, said the health sector had to dedicate the majority of its resources to COVID-19 throughout most of the pandemic.

His health department staff have recently been able to return to more regular services, and COVID response funding from the state has helped, but much more is needed to address the backlog that has built up over the past three years. He said he would need it.

“Simply returning staff to programming in general will not immediately return to the optimal level of program delivery prior to the pandemic,” said Gardner.

Priority areas include immunizations for children and adolescents, addressing drug use and opioids, in-school programs addressing children’s oral health, promoting mental health, and addressing food safety inspections, he said. rice field.

Ottawa Public Health will support drop-in clinics for parents, accelerate the rollout of communicable disease outbreak management tools, and improve mental health and addiction support and child immunizations by doing more. He said he needed funds.

The number of children who have not been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella has risen as a result of the pandemic, Katherine Kitts, chairman of the Ottawa Health Commission, recently told the legislative committee.

“Eight-month-old babies show up in hospital emergency departments without having received a single dose of vaccine against a highly contagious disease,” she said.

“These vaccines are usually provided at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Unless coverage is improved, the risk of outbreaks increases over time. disease may return.”

Part of the Department of Public Health’s funding request is a home visit for families at risk of newborns, funded by the Department of Children, Communities and Social Services, Healthy Baby Healthy Child A $12.5 million boost to the program.

A ministry spokeswoman said the government “continues to work with partners to find ways to improve program delivery.”