• Better planning could save Ontario hundreds of millions in health costs: Auditor-General

    For 20 commonly used generic drugs, Ontario paid $100-million more than the cost of the same drugs in New Zealand… the Kiwis tender competitive bids from drug manufacturers, something Ontario does not do… the Health Ministry spends more on generic drugs than the province’s hospitals – who can buy drugs through their own programs… Despite significant advances in technology, the government has not updated the list of prices it pays for laboratory tests in nearly 20 years, according to the report… Had a new price list been in place, the government could have saved $39-million last year alone.

  • Formerly homeless, they’re now advising doctors drafting Canada’s street health guidelines

    … the most important issue for the 84 health-care workers and homeless advocates as well as the 76 people who are or have been homeless was housing… “If you think about it, if somebody’s homeless and you’re trying to fix everything else but the housing it doesn’t make sense.” … The guidelines could recommend that doctors refer homeless patients to programs that provide housing vouchers or accommodation that is not contingent on them staying clean and sober so that they can focus on recovering without worrying about where they’ll sleep at night.

  • Don’t link mental illness with violent crime

    We concluded, as have others before us, that public fears of the mentally ill greatly exceed the actual risk of violence posed by such persons. A small number of people may pose an increased risk to others, but this risk is a result of acute symptoms that can respond to treatment. Policies of social inclusion, stigma reduction and providing people with care are the most important steps to advance the well-being of individuals with mental illness; this may facilitate an even lower risk of violence to others.

  • Bernie Sanders brings Canadian doctors into U.S. health-care debate

    … U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders emailed a group of Canadian doctors with questions about Canada’s health-care system. He wanted to know what it was like to be a doctor that didn’t ask their patients for money at the end of an appointment… what it was like for a patient to not worry about insurance. Sanders team… made videos of doctors answering these questions for a social media campaign advocating for a single-payer health-care system in the U.S., similar to Canada’s.

  • Is Canadian health care choosing wisely?

    The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that 30 per cent of health care, or nearly 1 million tests and treatments annually, is unnecessary… Choosing Wisely hopes to achieve its goals through grassroots advocacy by publishing a series of practice recommendations for physicians based on international peer-reviewed research… In the past, the medical community has experienced the perils of ignoring large segments of the population in its research initiatives.

  • Stop using mental illness to explain away violence. It’s not that simple

    First of all, a “psychological issue” is not the same as a diagnosed mental illness; nor does a history of psychological/psychiatric illness predispose a person to violence. Expecting psychiatrists or other health professionals to single out people who have the potential to be terrorists and/or mass murderers is preposterous. Health professionals already have the ethical/legal responsibility to identify people who are an imminent risk to harm themselves or others, but broader, predictive profiling would be a dubious exercise at best.

  • Students are not fragile flowers – we must care about their mental health

    The Canadian Mental Health Association ‘s #b4stage4 campaign asks a thought-provoking question: What if we waited until Stage 4 to treat cancer? … We would never allow our medical system to wait that long to treat this disease. We fully expect to have preventive education, screening and early treatment. Now, imagine if the standard of treatment was equal for mental and physical health conditions.

  • Universal drug plan could cut more than $4-billion a year: PBO

    The savings would come largely from the impact of bulk purchases of drugs, allowing Health Canada to negotiate better prices for most pharmaceuticals, as well as an increase in the use of generic drugs. However, the plan – which would replace all provincial and private drug plans – would still carry a price tag of more than $19-billion, and the federal government isn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement to do it.

  • Sunshine act to reveal payments to health-care professionals is welcome

    The legislation has been left purposefully vague on some points so they can be worked out through consultations and then carried out through regulations that are still to be written. On the face of it, that’s fine. But Hoskins should make sure the intent of the legislation — to shed light on possible conflicts of interest — does not get watered down in the process.

  • Health-care system pushed to breaking point with recent cuts, proposed tax changes

    Although physicians bill the government for the patient services they provide, physicians are self-employed and have no pensions or benefits… Physicians are unique small business owners in that they are not able to pass their increasing overhead expenses onto patients, as their fees are fixed by the government. The vast majority (85 per cent) of survey respondents reported that Morneau’s proposed tax changes will force them to change how they practice medicine