Abstract

While MacAdam proposes a "national approach to home care" the obstacles to this are well known and substantial. They are the likely cost and the limitations of the federal government's role in healthcare. Building on MacAdam's assessment, this paper outlines four problems embedded in the various home-care service delivery models in Canada: the lack of factual client outcome information to support decision-making, the limited client choice of provider, the perverse incentive of fee for service and the bias against the for-profit provider. The paper proposes that the assessment, classification and measurement of outcomes for every recipient of home-care services be standardized using a proven assessment instrument, such as OASIS-B or MDS-HC, by healthcare professionals certified in its use. The resulting information would be captured in a regional database and available for analysis and research. CIHI would be contracted to manage a national database and to fund the training and certification of assessors. The paper proposes a new service delivery and funding model, utilizing standard client outcome information, different roles for regional health authorities and service providers, and a prospective payment mechanism replacing fee for service. A national home care program may be an elusive dream, but that shouldn't stop experimentation, evaluation and improvement.