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CIHI data showing slow health spending growth speaks to need for senior strategy

Ottawa, Oct. 29, 2015--Canadian Medical Association (CMA) President Cindy Forbes today addressed the Economic Club of Canada to discuss the latest Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) data on health spending in Canada.

The data highlights that since 2011, health spending in Western nations has shown a pattern of slow growth. Canada’s total health expenditure is expected to increase marginally by 1.6 per cent, reaching $219 billion by the end of 2015. Notably, the rate of growth per capita is expected to be less than the rates of inflation and population growth combined.

“Instead of talking about cost containment, we need to start with improving the quality and value for money in our health care system. The CMA believes we can do just that by improving how we care for our seniors,” said Forbes.

Hospital care, drugs, and physician services are the three highest cost drivers.

The CMA has calculated that warehousing seniors in hospital beds instead of in long-term care facilities is costing the system about $2.3 billion a year. A patient in a hospital bed costs about $1,000 a day, whereas long-term care costs about $130 a day and home care $55 a day.

“Our public health system will fail without a redesign in how we care for seniors,” said Forbes. “If we allocate funds in more efficient ways, health care spending can and should be reduced.”

While Canada remains one of the top health care spenders internationally, the CMA says an integrated and collaborative approach to seniors care will go a long way in improving the entire system.

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.