• If we don’t fix medicare, we may lose it

    … the Ontario Health Coalition is the latest to sound the alarm. It found that at least 88 private health clinics in six provinces regularly charge patients hundreds or thousands of dollars for needed diagnoses, tests or surgeries. In some cases, doctors levy user fees and bill the public system, charging twice for the same service… Such exploitative extra charges are prohibited by the Canada Health Act, yet these clinics operate with impunity.

  • Health care: What should we be paying for?

    … the evidence has found that allowing private payment does indeed make the publicly available care worse. More promising approaches to improving wait times include both making sure the necessary resources are in place, and learning from engineers and improving queue management, including encouraging single points of entry… if we are going to invest more money, place it where we can improve peoples’ health

  • Stop turning a blind eye to double-dipping docs

    Why aren’t the 12 medical associations that regulate doctors in the provinces and territories reining in this exploitative behaviour? And what about the people who are ultimately responsible for the health care system: the governments of the provinces and territories. Why aren’t they doing anything about it? … Ottawa and the provinces should at least regulate the fees charged by private clinics.

  • Health-care system a free-for-all for double-dipping doctors

    There is no question that waits for surgery are too long… due to an array of engineering and administrative shortcomings. The solution to these problems is to fix the public system, to make it more efficient… in countries that deliver care efficiently and cost-effectively, publicly funded care is administered well, and privately funded care is regulated well.

  • Some doctors are charging both government and patients privately in illegal double-dipping practice

    Even in Ontario, long considered tough on extra-billing, and where the government investigated 314 complaints in the last five years, none of the doctors involved was sanctioned. More than one-third were made to refund their patients, but were then able to bill the province for those treatments… “I think it’s an abdication of the responsibility of government,” says Dr. Etches, of Doctors for Medicare. “The private clinics are now deeply entrenched in the health-care system … and that lies at the feet of the politicians.”

  • We need better value for our health care dollars

    In Mississauga, Trillium Health Partners and Saint Elizabeth home care have agreed to be paid jointly by the province based on how well cardiac patients do after leaving hospital… Patients are being discharged sooner and post-op readmissions to hospital and emergency department visits are down… Canada needs a national outcomes measurement and health funding strategy, in partnership with the provinces and territories, with a substantial commitment to test new approaches and adopt those that work.

  • Better health care means fixing bureaucratic failings

    The body (or bodies) that oversee health delivery… should operate independently, at arm’s length from the government… The role of elected officials is to set broad objectives and benchmarks; then they should get out of the way and let the system be managed by professional managers… [inn which there is] an element of regional autonomy… patients have a strong voice… measurement… continuous improvement and scaling up successful innovations.

  • Why has Ontario’s health system abandoned our kids?

    The Ontario government must invest in: Early detection and prevention programs; More psychiatrists and health-care professionals; Specialized residential treatment programs; Post-residential treatment programs; Support for families; Navigation tools to help match people with available treatments; Public awareness in schools, the work place and the community… This is our cry for help and call to action to the government of Ontario.

  • Doctors, province reach tentative deal to send contract disputes to arbitration

    Ontario’s doctors and the provincial government have reached a tentative deal on a process that would send future contract disputes to binding interest arbitration… The next step is for members of the Ontario Medical Association to ratify the pact, clearing the way for contract talks on compensation for physicians… Under binding interest arbitration, an arbitrator decides how to settle a dispute based on an agreed framework of issues set in advance by both sides.

  • First of five ‘barrier-free’ Toronto addiction clinics opens at Women’s College

    Patients with alcohol, opioid or other addictions don’t require a booked appointment or a referral from a doctor to get help at the rapid-access clinics, which are being credited with saving money and lives… “the opiate crisis we’re seeing now has reached epidemic proportions.” The rapid-access clinic model “offers us a realistic and effective response to this crisis,”