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Susan on the Soapbox: It’s Really Not About Access to Private MRIs

The dapper Dr Theman stands unfazed in a thicket of microphones and TV cameras and repeats for the umpteenth time that proposed changes to the doctors’ Standards of Practice will not, repeat, not, shut down private MRI and CT services—these private clinics fall through a gap in the legislation and are outside the College’s authority.

Hmmm, says a reporter (who looks like she’d barely reached the legal drinking age), if that’s the case why is everyone talking about “banning” and ”outlawing” private MRIs?

Good question! How, pray tell, did a noble effort on the part of (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: A(nother) Trip to the Mayo: The Power of Seamless Connections

For the record, the Soapbox family is not crazy about going to the US for medical care, but our eldest daughter (let’s call her “Missy”) has some serious health issues (I blame it on Mr Soapbox’s gene pool) and her GP refused to book the necessary appointments with specialists because—get this—“there were too many cooks in the kitchen”!

The Doctors Mayo

So we followed in the footsteps of Mr Soapbox and our younger daughter “Mini” and set out for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

We got off to a less than auspicious start. I kicked over Missy’s hot (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Count on it: Alberta’s doctors got more than the government’s press release indicates

Dr. Michael Giuffre jots down the Alberta Medical Association’s wish list before yesterday’s agreement with the provincial government. Actual AMA negotiators may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

It will take a while to sort out what really happened in yesterday’s deal between the Redford Government and Alberta’s doctors, but you can count on it there’s more there than meets the eye.

Premier Alison Redford, Health Minister Fred Horne and Alberta Medical Association President Dr. Michael Giuffre were all smiles at a news conference in Calgary yesterday afternoon where they (Read more…) the seven-year agreement that will run from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2018. The deal will give the physicians three years with no pay increase, followed by two years with 2.5-per-cent increases, then two years of cost of living adjustments.

This will allow the government . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Count on it: Alberta’s doctors got more than the government’s press release indicates

Alberta Diary: Redford to docs: There’s no raise, and you’re not getting it!

The Alberta Progressive Conservative position on negotiations with the doctors explained. Yes, we’re just as confused as you are. Below: AMA President Michael Giuffre. Premier Alison Redford.

Every day, it just gets weirder and weirder.

The day before yesterday, we’re told, Alberta Premier Alison Redford waded into her health minister’s already strangely muddled negotiations with the province’s physicians to state that the only way the docs will get a raise is if the province goes back to charging health care premiums.

What’s more, she said in an impromptu news conference in Calgary, there’s no way that’s ever going to happen.

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford to docs: There’s no raise, and you’re not getting it!

Alberta Diary: Redford government floats risky scheme to impose contract on teachers

An Alberta Teachers Association member gets ready to give an important lesson to the Redford Government. Alberta teachers may not be smiling quite as broadly as illustrated if the government imposes a contract on them by legislation. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson.

Trapped in a no-deficit, no-tax-increase cage of its own devising, with few ideas and a budget looming on March 7, the government of Premier Alison Redford has floated the idea of using legislation to impose a salary cap on Alberta’s teachers.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson has been shopping this brainstorm around to the province’s school boards to see

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford government floats risky scheme to impose contract on teachers

Alberta Diary: Is Premier Alison Redford’s bitter fight with the docs about money, or control?

Who’s in change here? Progressive Conservative MLAs get ready to supervise the work of an Alberta Health Services medical team while Alberta voters look on. Health officials, physicians and electors may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: AMA President Dr. Michael Giuffre; a space invader

Is the increasingly bitter fight between Alberta’s government and the province’s physicians just about money? It’s said here it’s more about who gets to control the health care system.

If you need evidence for this assertion, look no further than the fact just two and a half months ago Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne said

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Is Premier Alison Redford’s bitter fight with the docs about money, or control?

Alberta Diary: Bill C-377 can be just the start – let’s shine a light on some corners that are really in the dark!

The ideal Canadian workforce, Harper Conservative style. Below: Social conservative B.C. MP Russ Hiebert.

Well, you can’t fight a call for transparency, so why bother? I say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

The so-called Conservative Party of Stephen Harper quietly whipped its troops in the privacy of their caucus rooms and managed to squeeze Bill C-377 – social-conservative B.C. MP Russ Hiebert’s amateurish and unconstitutional piece of anti-union mischief – through the House of Commons last night.

They’ll say that they didn’t whip it – that is to say, impose party discipline to enforce the vote

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Bill C-377 can be just the start – let’s shine a light on some corners that are really in the dark!

Alberta Diary: What’s wrong with the Alberta Medical Association’s message? A technical primer

The executive of the Alberta Medical Association, shown here, may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: the offending advertisement.

With contract talks between the Alberta Medical Association and the provincial government back on again, after a fashion, a polling firm is out there now trolling to see how voters are reacting to the messages from Alberta’s physicians and the AMA – which acts like the province’s most powerful labour union.

There’s even a “Who Do Ya Trust” question in the survey that wonders if ordinary Albertans believe what doctors tell them when the Alberta Medical Association speaks on their

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: What’s wrong with the Alberta Medical Association’s message? A technical primer

Alberta Diary: Docs call health minister liar, liar, scrubs on fire, but their ad fails to persuade

The docs’ advertisement. Below: AMA President Dr. Michael Giuffre.

The Alberta Medical Association, the province’s most powerful trade union, has gone back to the familiar ground of buying newspaper advertisements to call Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne and the Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Alison Redford a bunch of liars.

The provincial physicians’ association and bargaining agent used slightly more moderate language in their advert – which showed up in several Alberta daily newspapers yesterday – but what else can they really mean when they say, “on April 23, 2012, the government of Alberta misled Alberta’s 11,000 physicians,

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Docs call health minister liar, liar, scrubs on fire, but their ad fails to persuade

Alberta Diary: Raj Sherman must’ve nailed it, or Fred Horne would’ve walked from talks with docs

CBC investigative journalist Charles Rusnell goes through Alberta Health Services expense accounts in the upcoming motion picture, All the Premier’s Relatives. Rusnell is played by actor Robert Redford, no relation. Don’t worry, people, I just made that up. But who could resist? Below: Dr. Raj Sherman, the Liberalberta leader, played by himself, and AMA President … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Raj Sherman must’ve nailed it, or Fred Horne would’ve walked from talks with docs

Alberta Diary: Expense account outrages? Only in government, you say? Puleeze!

Executives of Covenant Health enjoy a bottle of 2001 Il Piggione over lunch at Edmonton’s Characters Restaurant. Catholic health care executives may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Liberalbertaliberal Leader Raj Sherman. Alberta’s health care gong show continued to wheeze along yesterday with another revelation by the CBC that a couple of senior execs at … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Expense account outrages? Only in government, you say? Puleeze!

Alberta Diary: Why tossing Alauddin Merali under the bus may not have been a good idea

Health Minister Fred Horne contemplates the Ghost of Firings Past. Or, wait, maybe that’s Michael Giuffre with the Ghost of Pre-Election Advertising Campaigns Past. Whatever, it’s not as grim as the Ghost of Elections Yet to Come, and players in Alberta’s health care system may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Allaudin Merali, Sheila Weatherill, … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Why tossing Alauddin Merali under the bus may not have been a good idea

Alberta Diary: Alberta health minister to doctors: shut up and take your medicine!

Long memories? D’ya think? Tory Health Minister Fred Horne overturns an Alberta physicians’ vehicle yesterday. Alberta Progressive Conservative ministers may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Fred Horne, Alberta Medical Association President Dr. Michael Giuffre, former AMA President Dr. Linda Slocombe. When Alberta’s most powerful union – the Alberta Medical Association, which until … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Alberta health minister to doctors: shut up and take your medicine!

Alberta Diary: Message to Alberta’s doctors: Newton’s Third Law applies to politics too

A couple of Alberta doctors contemplate the state of the Alberta Medical Association’s latest negotiations with the province. Actual Alberta physicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: AMA President Linda Slocombe, Sir Isaac Newton, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne.

Just wondering, but is Newton’s Third Law no longer part of the basic science curriculum? Or did someone just forget to inform Alberta’s physicians in their pre-med classes that, as Sir Isaac Newton taught us back in 1687: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

It turns out that Newton’s Third Law of Motion doesn’t merely

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Message to Alberta’s doctors: Newton’s Third Law applies to politics too

David Climenhaga's Alberta Diary: Rx for high Alberta health care costs: Not what the doctors ordered!

Alberta ponders how to increase physician productivity – house calls? Below: Health Minister Fred Horne, Alberta Medical Association President Linda Slocombe.

Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne’s musings he just might join Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty in declaring war on physicians’ fees is proof the chickens continue to come home to roost for those foolish enough to assume the polls were right and the Wildrose Party would win the April 23 Alberta election.

It was journalists, bloggers, pollsters and certain far-right politicians who had to eat crow instead of chicken after last month’s epic polling fail, but it may turn out

. . . → Read More: David Climenhaga’s Alberta Diary: Rx for high Alberta health care costs: Not what the doctors ordered!