Everything old is new again…unfortunately. Provincial budgets across Canada are starting to be squeezed, here in BC healthcare services spending cuts are coming down the pipe. It also appears to be the case in “rich” Alberta. According to this article:
“Alberta health-care workers will be offered voluntary early retirement as part of a plan to attack a $1.3-billion budget deficit, Alberta Health Services (AHS) president Stephen Duckett announced yesterday. That’s a key part of a two-phase plan that will see $965 million trimmed from the $10.9-billion AHS budget while still improving health care..”
Whether you live in BC, Alberta or parts North or East, healthcare funding for services is feeling a tight squeeze from the economic downturn. What is going to be the impact on healthcare IT spending. Traditionally Health IT spending is less than 2% of operating budgets in acute care, and its seen as a cost item and not an investment. How bad will it get for healthcare IT?
To address some of these challenges, I expect to see jurisdictional/structural change such as an acceleration of the current trend of centralization of service delivery responsibility…or in English…RHA/LHIN amalgamation, and bulk buying. At some point the politicians are going to have to start talking with the CDN public about how much they really want to spend on healthcare, 60%, 80% or 100% of the provincial budget? To date this has not happened, largely because it is seen as political suicide to open this conversation with the public. Considering the current healthcare spending increases, we are going to have this “crisis” conversation within a year or two.
Do I sound like Chicken Little? What does everyone else think?