Ste-Anne’s Hospital transfers to Quebec

September 19, 2016 by Sharon Adams

The last federally administered veterans hospital has finally been transferred to Quebec’s provincial jurisdiction.

Established in 1917 expressly to serve veterans, Ste-Anne’s Hospital in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue is the last of 18 federal veterans’ hospitals to be transferred to provincial control since universal health care was introduced in the 1960s. The federal government invested $115 million in renovations to Ste-Anne’s between 2003 and 2009, leading up to the transfer.

Veterans will continue to have priority access at the hospital, which is slated to become a centre of expertise in geriatrics. The federally funded Operational Stress Injury clinics, which serve veterans of all eras, will also continue to operate from the site. 

The transfer, which had been discussed for several decades, has been controversial. There were about 300 veterans in long-term care at the time of the transfer, but more than 100 of the hospital’s 446 beds were empty. 

hopital_sainte-anne_03
Ste-Anne’s Hospital in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue
Jeangagnon Public Domain

 

Veterans Affairs Canada has reiterated that all eligible veterans in need of long-term care will continue to receive it. But veterans advocates have long disputed eligibility criteria that limits access to the hospital’s long-term care beds to veterans of the Second World War and Korean War, now that the generation of First World War veterans is gone.

The wider community, which is suffering a shortage of long-term care beds, will have access to the beds left vacant by the decline of veterans eligible for long-term care.

Though advocates feared a decline in quality of service, as staff become provincial, instead of federal, employees and that English-speaking veterans would no longer be served in the official language of their choice, there were no early reports of such problems.

The West Island Montreal Health Board (CIUSSS), which now administers the hospital, began slowly phasing civilian patients in the spring, keeping tabs on how the different cultures would be managed under one roof.

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