Posted May 14, 2019 10:37:07 The Canadian government has just launched a new online health care portal that promises to help people get the health care they need.
It’s called HealthLink, and it’s based in Victoria, B.C. But its launch comes as the federal government struggles to fund its $1.5 billion healthcare system.
A new report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) says the government has no money to build the health information portal that it promised last spring, and the agency’s report also says the federal Liberal government has committed to investing more than $1 billion in a new health information hub in Ontario, which could help address the problem of Canadians with pre-existing conditions.
In response to the PBO’s report, the government is planning to announce a new $10 billion fund to help provinces and territories build new health networks.
But it’s unclear whether this new funding will include the funding to fund a new HealthLink.
This year’s federal budget also promises a $10 million federal investment to the province of Manitoba, which has been struggling with chronic absenteeism and the inability to get the service it needs.
“It’s a real challenge to have all these funding streams coming at the same time and at the right times to support the health system,” said Dr. Peter Cote, the PBA’s director of research and analysis.
“There’s not a lot of money available to support that kind of investment.”
In Victoria, the province’s chief medical officer says the province will spend $1 million this year to improve access to health care, but he says the funding has not yet been made available.
“We have some additional resources that we’re looking at, but I’m not ready to say anything at this point,” said Victorian Health Minister Kevin Falconer.
“At the moment we’re trying to get on top of that.”
He said the province has invested $2 million in a pilot project to make more accessible health information and the province is still reviewing the results.
“The province will have to look at the data and the data will have an impact on the way we respond,” he said.
The province’s decision to launch a health information site, along with the province having to spend the first $1,500 per enrollee to fund it, will be controversial.
It could be seen as a step back for a health system that has faced increasing pressure to meet the health needs of people with chronic conditions.
“This is not the best use of government resources and our resources are not sufficient to meet that need,” said Cote.
“If we were to have a health site that wasn’t fully staffed and not providing the services that people were seeking, then it could become a very costly and challenging problem for people who are really in dire need.”
The PBO has also called for the federal governments funding to be matched by provinces and the territories, with the federal money going towards new information hubs and other support.
But Cote says that’s not enough.
“To get there, you need the provinces to come forward with more funds, and they’re not willing to do that,” he told CBC News.
“You can’t just put all these money in and say that you’re going to spend it.”
The federal government is also expected to announce in the coming months a $1-billion plan to support more people with pre, acute, chronic and terminal conditions, such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease and diabetes.
The Liberals say they are committed to funding the new health data hub and also promised to support a pilot to make it more accessible.
HealthLink is one of the few initiatives in Canada that has the support of all five of Canada’s provinces.
“All of the provinces, except the territories have expressed an interest in HealthLink,” said Falconer in a statement.
“They’re also committed to supporting the province as a leader in the health data and information infrastructure space.”
But some are worried the health hub could put more pressure on health care systems to meet health needs and make it easier for people to access health care.
“For many people, the information they need to access care is already available through their doctor or their hospital, but the portal is not accessible for those who need access to it most,” said Sarah Keesmaat, executive director of the Canadian Association of Medical Centres (CAMC).
“If the government’s planning to spend that much money, then they need a good reason for doing so.”
Keesmasat says CAMC would like to see the HealthLink site opened to everyone.
“But the reality is we don.
We need to have more information.
We’ve got to have the data.
We’re not seeing that.”
HealthLink says it has received more than 2.6 million visits from Canadians who have pre-conditions since its