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Health Care System

Hospital Care

Hospital care, sometimes called "acute care", is an important part of the health care system. The Government of Canada is responsible for setting and administering national principles or standards for the health care system through the Canada Health Act.

The Canada Health Act establishes the criteria and conditions related to insured health care services - the national standards - that the provinces and territories must meet in order to receive the full federal cash transfer contribution under the transfer mechanism.

Insured hospital services are defined under the Canada Health Act. They include medically necessary in-patient and out-patient services such as:

  • Standard or public ward accommodation;
  • Nursing services;
  • Diagnostic procedures such as blood tests and X-rays;
  • Drugs administered in hospital; and
  • Use of operating rooms, case rooms and anaesthetic facilities.

Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the provision of hospital care in their jurisdictions. This includes planning, financing, and evaluation. For more information on hospital management in your community, please contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry.

Improving hospital care, especially better integration of hospital care with other extended health care services, is an important part of the current discussion on health care reform in Canada.

What Information is Available

In this section, you will find a number of reports focussing on hospital care in general, and the integration of the health care system. Most of these reports are designed for use by federal, provincial and territorial governments in developing and setting policies related to hospital care. Integration of the health care system is an ongoing effort.