• 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.

  • Prescription drug costs should be fair – not cheap

    … the federal government has introduced new regulations that, if implemented, will result in the biggest shake-up in prescription drug pricing in 30 years… [with] estimated savings of $12.7-billion over 10 years… countries are moving away from international price comparisons and embracing concepts like value-based pricing – where drugs are reimbursed based on how well they work. This requires active and transparent negotiation with industry, not just imposing new formulas.

  • The radical ex-hippie who infiltrated Ontario’s health-care establishment

    His improbable trajectory has taken him from firebrand to respected senior hospital executive. Along the way, he has established himself as one of Canada’s strongest advocates for disadvantaged patients… a skilled, hard-working, team-playing professional. He is credited with using his leadership roles to help develop a multitude of programs and services for disenfranchised patients. But when conventional means of addressing gaps in their care didn’t work, a different Philip Berger would emerge

  • Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis. Now St. Michael’s Hospital is launching a $30M centre to fight MS

    “The intent is to build the best clinical facility for MS in the world… And the way you do that is you make sure it’s a facility that offers the best in education and research as well.” … The facility will be known as the Barlo MS Centre — after John and Jocelyn Barford and Jon and Nancy Love, who donated $10 million per family to the project… “It’s the most frequent cause of disability in young adults in a number of western countries,”

  • 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.

  • Stop debating age and actually teach us about consent

    We need to learn that consent can be affected by power dynamics, the influence of substances and perceived safety. In order for us to feel safe and empowered in our decisions, conversations must be constant and reflective of our experience. Education has to start young, acknowledging that consent is not only mandatory for sex but also for any kind of healthy relationship… So, we have to keep talking about it, a thousand times over, until things start to change.

  • Health-care spending projected to jump nearly 4% this year, report finds

    The CIHI report states that… aging is only a “modest driver” of increasing health-care costs, estimated at nearly 1 per cent annually… among the three largest spending categories – hospitals, drugs and physicians, which together account for more than 60 per cent of the overall expenditure – pharmaceutical costs continue to increase at the fastest pace. This has been true since 2015, due partly to the increased use of high-cost patented drugs.

  • Hallway medicine: Do we really need more hospital beds?

    In Ontario alone, there are almost 4,000 “alternate level of care” (ALC) patients (7,500 Canada-wide), an Orwellian euphemism used to describe people who have been discharged but continue to live in hospitals because they have nowhere else to go, for lack of long-term-care beds and home-care spots. Surely before we start reopening dilapidated old hospitals, we should start by getting ALC patients into more appropriate care.

  • It’s time for a data-driven approach to health care

    … the Big Three – hospitals, physicians and drugs – gobble up more than 60 per cent of total spending, and they have since we started compiling national health data in Canada in 1975. That is a sharp reminder that, despite all the talk about the importance of community care and the need for care to be delivered by multidisciplinary teams, we have a hospital-centric, physician-driven health system.

  • Reopening old hospitals is the wrong remedy

    Was this an inevitable failure? No. Was the direction of expanding community care wrong? No. More care at home and in the community, was, and still is, the right direction. This failure is overwhelmingly a failure of delivery. At almost every point the political will was too weak, the sense of urgency almost completely lacking and the clarity of leadership muffled in rhetoric and lost in endless process.