Competitive bidding and contracting out for home care is bleeding away 21 per cent of the total budget for Community Care Access Centres, according to a new study.
The restructuring of home and community care has opened the door to multinational companies bidding alongside non-profit providers. CCACs can no longer directly deliver services. Far from delivering on the Ontario governments promises of a streamlined, cost-effective service with less red tape and more money for patient care, the introduction of competitive bidding is corroding patient care and leeching public money into private pockets.
The study found that forcing providers to bid for contracts creates duplication of services and factors profit-taking into budgets, siphoning money away from direct care as much as $247.4 million a year.
As with private hospitals in the United States, money is wasted on administration and profit-making with up to $42 million diverted to profits from home care patients in Ontario.
The report, based on interviews with front-line home care workers and CUPE members, found that competitive bidding fragments service, creating inefficiencies and wasteful duplication.
The report also highlights the lack of accurate information collected by the Ministry of Health and lack of disclosure requirements for private companies. At the same time, non-profit agencies have audited statements that must be made public. This gives the private companies vying for contracts a distinct competitive advantage, allowing them to low-ball their bid.