Shilling for private health care

TheStar.com – opinion/letters – Re: What’s behind attack on clinics? Opinion Dec. 9
December 10, 2012.    Richard Janson

Francesca Grosso doesn’t let reality get in the way of her constant shilling for privatized health care.

In this piece she says, “we don’t know how hospitals would have done” if they had undergone the same inspections as the private clinics, nine of which have failed quality inspections according to the Star. Yes we do. Hospitals have to undergo a regular accreditation process every three years.

She says there is no link between quality and the type of ownership. Yes there is. This spring’s Ontario task force on long-term care, for example, reports the municipal, non-profit and charitable homes provide 0.8, 0.4 and 0.14 additional hours of care per day than their for-profit counterparts.

She says hospitals and private clinics all get paid by OHIP. Wrong. Some hospital procedures are paid by OHIP. Most are paid out of global budgets. Each and every procedure is paid for by OHIP in a private clinic — an incentive to do more than medically necessary.

In the lab world this means government pays about 50 per cent more to have tests done in the private sector than in a hospital according to a 2008 consultants report.

It is galling to see Grosso raise the issue of MRIs. Last year Ontario hospitals were being allocated $260 per hour to perform MRIs. Hospitals do an average of 1.5 MRIs per hour.

Canada Diagnostics, a private for-profit MRI company that operates clinics in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, states on its website that it charges between $900 and $1,600 for an MRI.

Better access? For the wealthy, perhaps. At a lower cost? Are you kidding?

Richard Janson, Campaigns Officer,
Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Oshawa

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