‘Now is not the time for finger-pointing’

Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj speaks with reporters on March 5, 2020. Photo by Mark Brown/WindsorNewsToday.ca

Healthcare officials in Windsor-Essex have said that the time for action is long overdue when it comes to bed availability.

Windsor Regional Hospital has weighed in following the Ontario government’s announcement Wednesday on Bill 7. The bill, now known as the More Beds, Better Care Act, can move seniors occupying hospital beds to long-term care and charge $400 a day for seniors who refuse to leave. The Act takes effect next week.

In a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, WRH President and CEO David Musyj said this had been a problem for the two decades he’s been in healthcare, and it’s only gotten worse.

“This issue should have been addressed over the past two decades,” said Musyj. “Plenty of finger-pointing can happen. However, now is not the time for finger-pointing. The status quo can not continue. Today, action is needed, and action has been taken – appropriate action.”

There were roughly 30 patients at WRH’s emergency departments waiting for acute-care beds as of Wednesday morning, Musyj pointed out.

“We have 33 ALCs for long-term care,” said Musyj. “They’ve been in the hospital for a combined 913 days. That’s three years of patient care, that group of 33 who’ve been in the hospital, waiting for the long-term care bed of their choice to become available, even though they’ve been designated that they no longer require acute care.”

Musyj also said that the hospital does not provide the amenities of LTC homes, such as communal spaces and dining rooms. He also said that with the number of non-urgent surgeries still backed up, the hospital can no longer put them off due to a lack of beds.

Bill 7 was passed last month, and Ontario was one of the last provinces to enact this type of legislation to ease the patient crunch in hospitals and emergency department wait times. The bill does not allow the discharge of patients until every effort is made to get consent. For those patients who refuse to leave, they can be charged $400 per day.