Who Controls Health-Care in Canada?
Just when you think the doctors control health in Ontario, you realize what a huge mistake it is to follow this line of thinking. How is this so?
For one, the people who have the monopoly of funding are the Local Health Integration Networks' boards of directors. Besides health care programs, they also control access to that health care. Unfortunately, the public has to put up with increased waiting times and services that appear to be declining in quality. Can you recall those promises about cutting back waiting times? But since waiting times are more dragging and tedious than ever, shouldn't those promises be considered “false hopes”? After billions of dollars spent to improve the quality of health care in the country, you wonder where all the money went. If we hazard a guess, such a large sum may have gone to the payroll of LHIN directors who happen to have huge expense accounts (compared to the CSA directors who receive nothing for their hard work). So where have all the money gone to?
This situation brings to mind the Ontario gas plant incident which involved $1 billion worth of gas-plant cancellations. The scandal was even covered by the Globe and Mail. Perhaps the LHINs are dishing out a lot of money in a fishy and soon-to-be exposed affair.
No one seems to be interested who got the gas plant money, what happened to the billion dollars, which companies unjustly benefited from the incident or whether the incident could be considered a massive fraud? According to the Globe and Mail article, the Liberals, including ex-premier Dalton McGuinty’s staff, intervened and caused prices to soar higher than usual. Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk was likewise baffled, wondering why the party would do such a thing. She likewise wondered where the “extra money” went.
As someone working for the travel medical insurance industry, should I have a billion-dollar contract, I would make sure it is protected against cancellation and would be insured for non-performance. Cost overruns would need to be penalized too. Business normally operates this way – unless there are shady activities going on behind closed doors. Now what of multiple quotes for government contracts? Who is or are receiving all our money? To be more candid about it, who has taken our money?
Back to the issue at hand. The meat of the matter is that Bill, Karen Huestis' better-half, badly needs a knee transplant. Karen, by the way, is the Director and Treasurer of CSA. Bill was told to wait for a year and, in a fit of disappointment over the LHIN system, his doctor wrote a letter, shedding light on the whole issue. You can read it below:
“Beginning in January 2013, my operation time at the Scarborough Hospital has been decreased from 2 ½ days per week to 1 day per week. This means that instead of performing 12 joint replacements per week, I am only able to do 5 – a reduction of more than 50%. This reduction is not due to a lack of available operating room time, or nurses or anesthesiologists. It is due to a lack of funding from the Central East LHIN (Local Health Integration Network), of which the Scarborough Hospital is a member.
Up to now, our hospital performed 125 joint replacements per month. As of January 2013, we are only funded for 75 joint replacements per month; a reduction of 50 joints per month.
The Central East LHIN is a geographical area of Ontario comprising hospitals from Peterborough, Oshawa, Port Hope and Scarborough. From a geographic point of view, Scarborough should have been included in a Toronto LHIN.
These LHINs have been set up by the current Liberal government to deal with funding issues for hospitals. Each has a board of directors who control hospital funding. They can dictate which hospitals receive funding for certain procedures and which hospitals do not. These decisions appear arbitrary and do not in any way reflect the need for surgery for the patients involved. Nor do they reflect the efficiency in a hospital, as our hospital is one of the most efficient in the province.
Only if patients and patients’ relatives complain about this situation will there be any improvement of the worsening situation.”
Dr James B. Rathbun, MD, B.Sc.(Med.), F.R.C.S.(C.)
Except for the surgery part, my complaint is no different. This letter was already forwarded by Karen to her MPP John O’Toole. Mr. Wayne Gladstone, Ms. Deborah Singh, the Hon. Deborah Matthews and Ms. Deborah Hammons, Health Quality Ontario each received a copy. I look forward to seeing their responses. For his courage and outspoken standpoint, Dr. Rathbun is worthy of praise and should be recognized for his efforts.
The idea of Dr. Rathbun having no control over the health care of his patients despite being a doctor is preposterous. Health rationing is getting the better of us and it seems that the “Death Panels” started by Sarah Palin have influenced Canada for some time now. Several years ago when my father had to go through a heart bypass at 89, I encountered the “you’re too old to operate on” malady in Nova Scotia. A six-people panel chose not to provide surgery. Not only did I yell and scream but I also produced statistical evidence supporting the claim that the U.S. offered the best quality of life for people over 80. That sealed the deal and the bypass was performed. My father's life was extended for seven wonderful years. There are new drugs on the way but the government is taking such a long time to approve them – at the cost of many lives. Are they playing with people's lives? Who knows.
So many questions and hardly any answers. Where did all our health-care money go? More to the point, who is taking advantage of our health-care money?
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