Ontario patients who refuse to leave a hospital for a long-term care home not of their choosing will not be forced to pay $1,800 per day, Premier Doug Ford says, but it's not clear how much they might be forced to fork over if they refuse a transfer.
Ford was asked about Bill 7 at Queen's Park on Tuesday after a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that focused on health care, housing, immigration and infrastructure. Health care, Ford said, was the top priority.
Asked how much patients might have to pay if they refuse a transfer, Ford said $1,800 is "absolutely ridiculous" but said hospitals and Ontario Health are working out what the billing amount might be.
"We'll have to work out a cost and the hospitals have to work out the cost," he said. "People are determining that — it's not me personally ... But I can pretty well guarantee you, it's not going to be $1,800."
Ford said both he and Trudeau agreed "that the status quo is not working" when it comes to health-care delivery, as hospitals in the province struggle with a nursing shortage that has forced some emergency rooms to temporarily close for hours or days at a time in recent months.
Ford says he's confident that a deal related to a boost in federal health-care funding will come at some point after recent
meetings with Trudeau and other federal ministers.
On Monday, the Ford government passed a motion to skip public hearings for Bill 7, legislation that would allow hospital patients awaiting long-term care to be transferred to a home without their consent.
Hospitals would be required to make "reasonable efforts" to obtain patient consent, however the bill would in theory allow patients to be moved to a temporary long-term care home involuntarily while they await a bed in their preferred facility.
Currently, in some cases, if a patient declines to be moved to a long-term care facility of their choice, a hospital can formally discharge them and charge them a daily uninsured rate, which can cost around $1,500 or more daily.
Both the NDP and Liberals have alleged that the regulations supporting the legislation would allow for patients in northern Ontario to be moved up to 300 km from their homes. Meanwhile, patients in most of southern Ontario could be moved up to 100 km away and those in cities up to 30 km from their homes.
Long-term Care Minister Paul Calandra and his ministry, however, say conversations with stakeholders about specific regulations are ongoing and that they would be presented to the legislature within a week of Bill 7 receiving royal assent.