• 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

  • Historic $100-million gift will help to treat heart disease

    The Munks, who are helping to make Toronto a global centre of innovative heart health care, are to be thanked. Their donation will help to fund work that could prevent the deaths of the 30,000 Canadians killed by heart disease each year, not to mention prevent attacks in the 90 per cent of Canadians with at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

  • Should doctors be paid a salary?

    Private, fee-for-service practice does not reflect the needs of a modern health-care system, which requires team-based care that focuses on patient outcomes, not piecemeal work. It also does not make financial sense to physicians anymore, who have no access to benefits, such as vacation, parental leave or pensions, and due to both price regulation and prohibition of private care, can neither adjust prices nor find alternative sources of revenue to cover increasing practice costs… it’s a failing business model.

  • Morneau’s proposed tax changes attack doctors – and negatively impact patients

    Mr. Morneau’s tax changes will have a drastic impact on patient care. Doctors will change how they run their offices, adjust the kinds of care they offer and alter career paths… But most importantly, Mr. Morneau’s tax proposals will negatively impact access to medical care. It will make Canada an undesirable place to practise medicine.

  • New Health Minister Petitpas Taylor defends tax changes under fire from doctors

    … she was the parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau before she was given a ministry of her own, and has spent much time working on the tax file… now, her most pressing job may be to calm the doctors. When the proposed tax changes are fully explained, they are understood, she said. But “if there are unique situations that [doctors and others] are faced with, we want to make sure that we hear from them and that we get this right.”