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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11193

Title: Do Regional Models Matter? Resource Allocation to Home Care in the Canadian Provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick
Authors: Conrad, Patricia
Advisor: Deber, Raisa Berlin
Department: Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
Keywords: Resource Allocation
Home Care
Health Care Restructuring
Canadian Health Reform
Regionalization
Issue Date: 30-Jul-2008
Abstract: Proponents of Canadian health reform in the 1990s argued for regional structures, which enables budget silos to be broken down and integrated budgets to be formed. Although regionalization has been justified on the basis of its potential to increase home care resources, political science draws upon the scope of conflict theory, which instead suggests marginalized actors, such as home care, may be at risk of being cannibalized in order to safeguard the interests of more powerful actors, such as hospitals. Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, constitute a natural policy experiment. Each has made different decisions about the regionalization model implemented to restructure health care delivery. The policy question underpinning this research is: What are the implications of the different regional models chosen on the allocation of resources to home care? Provincial governments are at liberty to fund home care within the limits of their fiscal capacity and there are no federal terms and conditions which must be complied with. This policy analysis used a case comparison research design with mixed methods to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Two financial outcomes were measured: 1) per capita provincial government home care expenditures and 2) the home care share of provincial government health expenditures. Hospital data was used as a comparator. Qualitative data collected from face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with regional elite key informants supplemented the expenditure data. The findings align with the scope of conflict theory. The trade-off between central control and local autonomy has implications for these findings: 1) home care in Prince Edward Island increased it share from 1.6% to 2.2% of provincial government health spending; 2) maintaining central control over home care in Nova Scotia resulted in an increase in its share from 1.4% to 5.4%, and 3) in New Brunswick, home care share grew from 4.1% to 7.6%. Inertia and entrenchment of spending patterns was strong. Health regions did not appear to undertake resource reallocation to any great extent in either Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick. Resource reallocation did occur in Nova Scotia where the hospital share of government spending went down and was reallocated to home care and nursing homes. But, Nova Scotia is the only province of the three in which home care was not regionalized. Regional interests in maintaining existing levels of in-patient hospital beds was clearly a source of tension between the overarching policy goals formulated for health reform by the provincial governments and the local health regions.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11193
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
The Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation - Doctoral theses

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