Saint John doctor wants makeover for home care

A doctor in Saint John, N.B. says some major changes need to be made regarding patients who require home care.

Dr. Mike Simon says current system is "an ongoing black hole eating up dollars."

A Saint John, N.B. family doctor says patients who require home care are spending too much time in hospital.

Dr. Mike Simon blames the problem on too much bureaucracy in government. He says people who need help during their recovery at home are going through a lengthy screening process involving the same assessment from different government departments. That's causing a backlog that can take weeks to resolve.

"It's frustrating to me as a physician because I want [the patient] to be home where it's safer for them in many respects," says Simon.

"It's frustrating for the social worker in the hospital because they have to go through this entire process, it's frustrating for people in the department of social development because they can't change it on their own, it has to be done in Fredericton.

So if you want to save some dollars, not $10 or $20 here, this is an ongoing black hole eating up dollars."

Simon says the delays caused by the duplication of services is costing government millions of dollars in hospital bills. He says if both departments must assess patients, they'd be better off doing the evaluations at the same time.

"So think about it. The social worker has done the work, puts the request in to the department of social development, they wait for a means test to come in, then they send someone over, then they put you on a list, a priority list, to see where you're going to be in the scheme of giving out the resources," says Simon.

"That could be days, weeks or longer until you're able to go home."