• Canada needs a health-care moonshot — and now is the time

    … four breakthrough technologies that are converging rapidly offer Canada a remarkable opportunity to transform its health-care system, dramatically increasing its quality and accessibility while exponentially decreasing its cost of care. Importantly, these technologies can also significantly enhance Canada’s health-care professionals and employees’ effectiveness in tackling their tough daily challenges.

  • Budget takes small steps toward pharmacare, but path littered with financial, political land mines

    It won’t mean that all drugs will be covered for all people at all times. To control costs, there has to be a formulary of drugs that are covered and policies like generic substitution (not covering brand-name drugs if similar, lower-cost generics are available.) Then there is the deal-breaker, money. Sure, pharmacare could save money, at least theoretically… if bulk buying can bring down prices 25 per cent, if use doesn’t increase notably, and if there is a strict formulary. Lots of ifs.

  • NDP’s universal pharmacare proposal seems a prime target for Liberal burglary

    Canada is alone in having a public healthcare system that does not have a parallel public pharma plan. The House of Commons health committee is set to release a major report on pharmacare next month, which sources suggest will recommend folding prescription drugs into a negotiated national formulary. Through an amendment to Canada Health Act this would allow the provinces to administer the newly expanded coverage.

  • Universal health care’s humble origins

    Viewed solely in economic terms, Britain could not afford the NHS in 1946. That the NHS was created speaks to a conscious decision on the part of government to prioritize health care and social services. Ultimately, what a society can or cannot afford is a policy decision… / The creation of the NHS was a courageous decision by the Labour Party to radically improve the lives of British people. It benefited most sectors of society – hence the continuing broad support for it.

  • Is our health system destined to follow a U.S. trajectory?

    Growing gaps in drug and dental coverage, especially for working-class Canadians with no or inadequate employer benefits, means more lower-income Canadians will skip trips to the dentist or won’t fill prescriptions. Wealth gaps among the provinces means Canadians in some regions will have access to better and more timely care than those in other parts of the country.

  • We need to focus more on mental-health care

    … access to appropriate, effective mental-health care needs to be seen as a basic human right and component of a publicly funded health-care system. / People suffering mental illness were deinstitutionalized without necessary community supports, to be managed by law enforcement and ER staff who lack the skills and facilities to respond respectfully. / The article understates real-world factors (marginalization, social determinants, and access to competent help) that can thwart the potential impacts of even the most cutting-edge research.

  • A donor is giving a record $100 million to CAMH — and doesn’t want to be named

    The donation… will support the recruitment and retention of top scientists and encourage them to take chances with their research. “In order to enable quantum leaps forward, this gift will also support high-risk, high-reward research,” the donor said. The donation is by far the largest ever given to a mental health centre in Canada and one of only a handful of that magnitude bestowed on any health organization in the country.

  • The time has come for Ontario to pass Rowan’s Law and make sports safer for kids

    Introduced by Kathleen Wynne’s government before Christmas, the bill would put Ontario ahead of other provinces in responding to emerging science around concussions. It includes protocol for the removal and return to sport of young athletes suspected to have concussions… there would be no excuse for letting this bill die and be resurrected only after the election.

  • 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.