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The costs of competitive bidding and contracting out home care are significant and hidden, show the findings of a new research study entitled The Costs of Contracting Out Home Care: A Behind the Scenes Look at Home Care in Ontario.

The study by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) found that $247.4 million a year - 21 per cent of the total budget for Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) in Ontario - is siphoned from direct patient care through profit-taking and the duplication of home care services by multiple delivery agencies. Profit-taking, by private companies awarded contracts under the government imposed multiple service provider, competitive bidding model, takes away $42 million from direct patient care.

The government argument for introducing contracting out and competitive bidding has always been that going toward a for-profit, private delivery for home care would streamline services, remove duplication and red tape from the system and make more dollars available for front-line care.

What this study shows is the exact opposite. The American-style competitive bidding model winds up costing millions to administer and results in dollars that should be going into front line care going, instead, to the profit margins of the private, for-profit companies that are taking over home care delivery province-wide.

Nurses, home support workers, case managers, therapists, office support staff and managers in provider agencies were interviewed for the study.

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