Budget promises more mental health and veterans’ care – CMAJ

Mental health, home care, and Indigenous and veterans’ care lead the health investments in the federal government’s $305-billion budget released March 22. In total, health programs add up to more than $4 billion over five years, over and above $200- billion in health transfers to the provinces and territories.

The largest new investment is for capital expenditures on home care, such as dialysis clinics or improvements in technology aimed at helping people remain at home longer. The provinces and territories will share $1 billion over four years. About 15% of hospital beds are now occupied by patients who could receive care at home or in the community, states the budget document, Building a Strong Middle Class.

New Indigenous health initiatives total $828 million over five years. This covers chronic and infectious diseases ($50.2 million); maternal and child health ($83.2); primary care ($72.1); mental wellness ($118.2); home and palliative care ($184.6); an extra $305 million to the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program for access to mental health programs and professionals, and traditional healing; and a drug strategy/harm reduction program ($15 million). The government did not earmark any money for a suicide strategy, despite the urging of the Assembly of First Nations and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami leadership.

Read More: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/189/14/E549.short

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