Director of PEI’s hospitals attended an early October conference in Charlottetown. Efforts are being made to prepare them for the many tough decisions ahead, as the population ages and escalating health care costs continue to outdistance available health care dollars.
No matter how small or carefully managed a hospital is a very expensive establishment. Furnishings are specially designed; equipment is increasingly hi-tech; some medications cost hundreds of dollars a dose; procedures such as dialysis are increasingly common, but expensive; salaries and labor costs, including pensions and benefits, continue to rise, as do the cost of utilities, food and linens.
Pro-lifers should be aware of two growing and related national trends:
- For some time hospital boards have been making difficult financial decisions – closing beds, deferring purchases and programs. In the very near future, finances are going to force difficult ethical decisions about who gets treated, how and for how long. It is important that people with good ethical values be the ones making them.
- In an effort to reduce duplication and cut management costs, many communities are beginning to replace separated health jurisdictions with a single, centralized community health board. This means that many fewer people will make very important health care decisions.
It is important that interested people withy high moral standards get onto the boards of the various health care facilities while it is still possible. But good intentions and good moral values are not enough to run one of these complex intuitions well. It takes time to gain experience and to become sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced to be considered for the smaller, leaner and very important community health board of the future. The time for action is now.