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e-Panel Survey Summary

Health Accord

Synopsis

The CMA surveyed e-Panel members to learn more about their views on the upcoming Health Accord that the federal government has committed to negotiate with the provinces and territories. The results provide insight into respondents’ awareness of the current discussions revolving around issues related to the Accord and the CMA’s proposed advocacy focus. A summary of the results of the e-Panel survey is presented below.

Survey – June 2016

The survey was sent to 4,264 e-Panel members; 776 responded, for a response rate of 18.2%.

Results

Survey results indicated that respondents’ awareness of the federal government’s commitment to negotiating a new Health Accord were moderate (52%). Respondents provided further insight into a variety of different health care initiatives that they believed should be the predominant focus of Health Accord discussions.

Important provisions to include in the Health Accord

In light of the federal government’s commitment to include a new long-term funding agreement in the Accord, respondents were asked to identify the importance of funding provisions for six aspects of care. While over 90% of respondents agreed that mental health, palliative care and home care were somewhat or strongly important, respondents also expressed support for prescription drug funding (82% rated as somewhat or strongly important), caregiver support (81% rated as somewhat or strongly important) and innovation (66% rated as somewhat or strongly important).

Top priorities of health care

Respondents provided feedback on which of the six aspects of health care should be a priority during Health Accord negotiations. The top three priorities ranked were:

  • Mental health services
  • Home care
  • Prescription drugs

Federal government funding to provinces and territories

When asked whether the federal government should provide additional health care funding to provincial and territorial governments based on the aging populations in their respective domains, 84% of respondents were in somewhat (41%) or strong agreement (43%) with this approach.

During the 2015 election campaign, the current federal government pledged $3 billion for home care funding. E-Panel members were asked to indicate which health care elements should be funded alongside this commitment, with the results as follows:

  • Community-based palliative care programs offered in private homes and/or in long-term care facilities (92% somewhat/strongly agree);
  • Community-based programs to access/provide mental health and addiction services (89% somewhat/strongly agree);
  • Community-based programs to provide respite for family caregivers (85% somewhat/strongly agree);
  • Programs to identify and better manage persons at risk of becoming heavily reliant on hospital care (81% somewhat/strongly agree);
  • Navigator programs to coordinate care and support patients and their families (68% somewhat/strongly agree);
  • Telehomecare programs, e.g. home monitoring for therapies (53% somewhat/strongly agree);
  • Innovative funding approaches such as personal budgeting assistance to support self-directed home care plans (49% somewhat/strongly agree).

Accountability indicators across provinces and territories

In previous Health Accord negotiations, accountability has been a common concern. When asked if they agreed that the federal government should identify common indicators and reporting requirements across the provinces and territories to encourage accountability, 81% of respondents were in strong agreement (44%) or in somewhat agreement (37%), while only 5% of respondents somewhat or strongly disagreed with this concept.

Respondents’ opinions on federal support for seniors care

Respondents provided significant feedback when asked what the new federal support in the upcoming Health Accord would mean to their practice and to their patients. Some common themes in open-ended responses include:

  • Ability for patients to grow old at home with support by various means;
  • Timely and affordable access to appropriate health services, including palliative care, community resources, and prescription drugs;
  • Patient autonomy, security and dignity, especially for senior patients;
  • Fewer hospital admissions and reduced hospital stays;
  • Less anxiety and distress from physicians, family members and support workers in providing necessary care.

Next Steps

The CMA will use the comments and overall feedback from survey respondents to inform its advocacy efforts in advance of negotiations for the new Health Accord. The results of this survey will also be compared to public opinion polling on the Health Accord and will inform member and public consultations taking place in 2016.

Respondents told us

“I agree with emphasis on seniors, end-of-life, home care and mental health issues.”

“As much as Canada has an aging population, we need to ensure that medically complex children and young adults remain part of the conversation. There has been an increase in medically complex, technology-dependent children. Given our improved survival rates for many illnesses, these patients will be long-term and high needs users of health care resources for many years. It would be a gross oversight not to include this population in discussions about home care resources, palliative care, and therapy to improve quality of life, and caregiver support.”

“Please improve accountability ― due to recurrent failures to achieve the programs of prior Health Accords, I remain pessimistic that this one will accomplish anything more than setting a number of unattainable goals.”

“I am very grateful to practice medicine in a country where I experience no conflict of interest (don't have to choose between the right thing for the patient or the right thing for my personal finances), and I don't have a government or corporate overlord dictating my treatment decisions. While there is always room for improvement, I still think the medical care provided in Canada is among the best in the world, particularly when per capita spending is considered. I look forward to helping to keep that going.”

“Need to commit to the principles of the Canada Health Act and keep equity front and center.”

“You people have taken a very appropriate and beneficial step. Congratulations”