The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) wants the government to close the province’s 14 Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) that coordinate home care services.

In a report released last Thursday, RNAO said the job could be better done by handing the role of care coordination to organizations such as Community Health Centres, Nurse Practitioner-led clinics and Family Health Teams.

“We see care coordination and system navigation anchored best within primary care, as this is the health sector that knows their patients most intimately,” RNAO President Rhonda Seidman-Carlson said in a news release.

The report calls for CCAC 3,500 case managers and care coordinators – 3,000 of them registered nurses – transferred to primary care.

The report has been endorsed by the Association of Ontario Health Centres and the Ontario Community Support Association, among others. But there are also a number of groups who like the existing CCAC system.

“The CCAC system is not broken, and the wholesale closure of the CCACs would be tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” Ontario Nurses Association President Linda Haslam-Stroud said in a news release. However, the ONA acknowledges that administration costs at the CCACs “remain excessive.”

The association representing CCACs also rejected the RNAO position, saying it would be a “major step backward.” It says the primary care system is already overburdened and it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to uproot all the CCAC nurses and other case workers. However, it too admits that the current system can be made more efficient.

The RNAO report can be found at http://rnao.ca/sites/rnao-ca/files/RNAO_ECCO_WHITE_PAPER_FINAL.pdf. HE