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Long-Term Care Goes to Market: Managed Competition and Ontario's Reform of Community-Based Services

  • A. Paul Williams (a1), Jan Barnsley (a1), Sandra Leggat (a1), Raisa Deber (a1) and Pat Baranek (a1)...

Abstract

A shift in emphasis from institutions to community poses important challenges for providers and policy makers, key among them being the challenge of providing asufficient volume of high quality community-based services to meet consumer needs. This challenge is particularly evident in community-based long-term care (LTC) due to the complexity and diversity of the field, the vulnerability of the population served, and the current wave of demand for services generated by hospital downsizing. The most recent reform of long-term care in Ontario is of particular interest in this context because, as suggested by the provincial government's maxim “highest quality, best price,” it promises cost-efficiency while maintaining or improving quality. To do this it employs a “managed competition” model in which for-profit and not-for-profit providers compete for service contracts under the auspices of local Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) run by volunteer boards. In this paper we draw on the comments of senior government officials and representatives of provider organizations, as well as published documents, to highlight issues and problems posed by the province's latest reform. We argue that, particularly under conditions of capped budgets and increasing demands, the managed competition process may result in the subordination of service quality and consumer choice to pressures for cost-containment.

La désinstitutionnalisation et le virage vers les ressources communautaires posent des défis importants aux décideurs et aux dispensateurs de services, le plus important étant sans nul doute le défi de fournir un volume de services communautaires de haute qualité suffisant à répondre aux besoins de la clientèle. Ce défi est particulièrement évident dans les soins de longue durée (SLD), en raison de la complexité et de la diversité de ce champs d'action, de la vulnérabilité de la clientèle et de l'accroissement de la demande consécutive aux compressions dans le système hospitalier. Dans ce contexte, la dernière réforme des soins de longue durée en Ontario est particulièrement intéressante parce que, comme l'exprime le mot d'ordre gouvernemental «meilleure qualité au meilleur prix,» elle promet la coüt-efficacité tout en assurant le maintien ou l'amélioration de la qualité. Pour y arriver, on a recours à un modèle de «gestion de la concurrence» dans lequel les fournisseurs sans but lucratif et à but lucratif entrent en concurrence pour des contrats de services attribués par des Centres d'accès aux soins communautaires locaux, gérés par un conseil de bénévoles. Dans cette communication, nous avons utilisé les commentaires de hauts fonctionnaires et de représentants de fournisseurs de soins, ainsi que des documents du domaine public, pour mettre en lumière les questions et les problèmes soulevés par cette plus récente réforme provinciale. Nous soumettons que le modèle de gestion de la concurrence pourra entraîner la subordination de la qualité des services et du choix du consommateur aux impératifs de limitation des coûts, particulièrement dans le contexte actuel de budgets fermés et d'augmentation de la demande.

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Keywords

Long-Term Care Goes to Market: Managed Competition and Ontario's Reform of Community-Based Services

  • A. Paul Williams (a1), Jan Barnsley (a1), Sandra Leggat (a1), Raisa Deber (a1) and Pat Baranek (a1)...

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