Autonomy insurance: an essential reform, but with major challenges to overcome
Québec City, November 12, 2013 – In its brief presented today to the parliamentary committee, the Québec Ombudsman recognizes the need for extensive reform in long-term home support services, to take demographic and budgetary realities into account. Nevertheless, based on an analysis of the complaints and reports it has processed and the investigation report Is home support always the option of choice? it published in 2012, the Ombudsman is issuing certain reservations related to the government proposal. It has formulated 20 recommendations with the objective of promoting fair access to services, actual access to these services, quality service, solidarity in financing, transparency and the accountability of the proposed plan.
Protecting people who receive home support services is of fundamental importance to the Québec Ombudsman. Although it does not have any reservations about the principle of entrusting these services to private and community resources, the Ombudsman is concerned about how the CSSS will provide oversight and quality control. This would be a completely new responsibility for them, and they are already struggling to evaluate the quality of their own services and those of the private residences they have service agreements with. The Québec Ombudsman's 2012-2013 annual report revealed some worrisome findings in this regard. The service agreements will have to spell out the users' recourse to the complaint examination process, including the opportunity to call on the Québec Ombudsman if the services are dispensed by a recognized private organization or an accredited social economy enterprise.
The Québec Ombudsman is also of the opinion that the Autonomy Insurance Project is mainly designed for seniors living with a loss of autonomy and that it does not focus sufficiently on the specific needs of younger disabled people, particularly in relation to social and occupational integration. "In this regard, the government's reflections should be pursued further," declared Raymonde Saint-Germain, the Québec Ombudsperson.
Concerned by the real risk of a breakdown in service continuity, the Québec Ombudsperson deems the time line proposed for the reform to be somewhat unrealistic and believes a transition plan is required. In the meantime, the departmental guidelines must be very clear to ensure that the agencies and institutions uphold the 2003 home support policy.
In closing, Raymonde Saint-Germain announced that she is not opposed to a possible financial contribution from the users. "The financial contribution must never be an obstacle to obtaining services, however. My support for the autonomy insurance plan depends on this essential condition," she announced. She also expressed concern about the fairness of the rates, which must be the same in all regions of Québec.
Information and requests for interviews:
Carole-Anne Huot, Communications Consultant
418 646-7143/418 925-7994