Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Laboratory Services Expanded in Huntsville and Bracebridge Hospitals: Point of Care Testing Fails to Meet Expectations

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) has restored a regular night shift in its medical laboratories at the Huntsville and Bracebridge hospitals. This is a victory for viable community hospitals. It is also another example of the chaos caused by the government’s artificial prohibition on hospital labs performing medical laboratory work for community patients, for example, patients of family doctors.

The Huntsville and Bracebridge sites were on the cusp of a mini trend among small hospitals in Ontario replacing some in-hospital laboratory services with point-of-care-testing (POCT).* After two years’ experience the MAHC is reversing this policy and reinstating a regular laboratory (Read more…)

OPSEU Diablogue: Should the LHINs really be the e-Harmony of health care providers?

When the province decided to call its most recent crown agencies Local Health Integration Networks, it was clear where the emphasis lay. Rather than plan a system based on need, it appears the primary function of the LHIN was to … Continue reading →

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Private Hospitals in Specialty Clinic Clothing

The provincial government’s mid-summer announcement that regulations under the Independent Health Facilities (IHF) Act will be drafted to permit “specialty clinics” raises some serious concerns. Changes in the LHINS enabling legislation will also be required. While the details are sparse the government’s stated goal is to permit the LHINs, Ontario’s regional health authorities, and Cancer Care Ontario to establish and fund clinics to provide services currently delivered in public hospitals. The government is committing that these new clinics will not harm a hospital’s ability to deliver services.

The official proposals are this general. Some best-guess inferences are: the IHF administration (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: The Impacts of the Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Worker In Canada

She Fixes So Many Problems By: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: The Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Worker (NISW) is one of the programs established by the Province of Manitoba to help newcomers adjust to life in Canada. The program is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Manitoba Immigration and Multiculturalism, [...]

The post The Impacts of the Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Worker In Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Fragmentation, Private Profit and Home Phlebotomy

Every day there are stories of how the fragmentation of health care hurts patients. A few, when a patient dies, make the media. Most often fragmentation causes small inconveniences, but there are many and they affect patients in very real ways.

December 19th’s story is about a patient with a serious chronic illness. She lives at home and manages her illness fairly well. Monitoring her condition requires weekly blood work which is taken by a home care nurse through a PIC line, a semi-permanent intravenous access port. She then walks the blood a fairly (Read more…)

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Health Facility License Auction Health Cost Driver

It seems so obvious in hindsight: if you want to know what is going on in business-side of community medicine look where doctors look – the classified section of The Medical Post.

After reading all of the articles, during a slow day at work, a big flashy classified ad for MCI: the Doctors Office caught my attention. It is one of the expanding chains of family practice centers that are the face for-profit primary care in Canada. The ad provided no further insights into the operations of the chain.

Below this ad was a more interesting offering: the (Read more…)

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Missed Opportunity: Corporate Conglomerate Buys Shouldice Center

The Ontario Government has missed an opportunity with the sale of the Shouldice Clinic to health care conglomerate, Centric Health. The government could have purchased Shouldice and integrated its services into the public health care system: after all, Shouldice was funded from the public purse.

A good comparator for the missed opportunity is the Kensington Eye Centre, a stand-alone non-profit facility which specializes in eye care. It has become an example of how specialized care can be given within the public system when there is sufficient demand for similar procedures.

Shouldice was established before Medicare and, like many other

. . . → Read More: False positive: private profit in Canada’s health care: Missed Opportunity: Corporate Conglomerate Buys Shouldice Center

The Scott Ross: Europe’s Export of Political Integration

From democracy to banking, Europe has launched institutions that have shaped the world; with its recent financial crisis, Europe might be about to do it again.

The European financial crisis is only giving further legitimacy and urgency to greater European political integration. It is argued that with many economies dependent on each other, with a shared currency and shared markets, political decisions regarding spending and financial regulations need to be centralized or at least centrally moderated.

But if that argument has force, it stands to reason that a world financial crisis could justify a similar system of political integration, only

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Europe’s Export of Political Integration

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Independent Health Facilities and For-Profit Delivery: Reassuring Words, Troubling Results

Who said these words and when?

We have three broad objectives: to develop a more community-based health care system to ensure that patients receive quality medical care as close to home as possible; that the procedures are carried out in a safe, effective manner; and to regulate facilities so that they are appropriately located and established in a planned way.

What we want to see is the freeing up of hospitals to do what they do best: provide the patient care and the patient care services that require a hospital setting. As a result, our institutions will be free to

. . . → Read More: False positive: private profit in Canada’s health care: Independent Health Facilities and For-Profit Delivery: Reassuring Words, Troubling Results

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Health Integration: Not in Ontario

I am sure there is a plan to improve health care. There must be: Ontario’s recent budget says it wants to improve integration, control costs and increase access. Yet Ontario’s provincial budget just does not do it.

The section heading says “Providing the right care, at the right time, in the right place”. Praise worthy sentiments. The regional governments, the LHINs, responsible for meeting this goal are going to be reformed again to increase their power. But the next point says that routine procedures in hospitals will be shifted to non-profit community based clinics.

The problem is that

. . . → Read More: False positive: private profit in Canada’s health care: Health Integration: Not in Ontario

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Update on Thessalon and St. Joseph Island

The facts as we now know them:

Despite what the hospital web site says there are no lab facilities at the Mathews Memorial Hospital or the Thessalon Hospital. Neither has a laboratory license.

Blood is taken at these facilities by hospital staff and sent to the main lab at the Sault Area Hospital for processing.

Both hospitals have been taking blood from community patients for years under these conditions.

If there is now a concern about the legality of this service there is a simple solution: the Sault Area Hospital could apply for a specimen collection center license at the

. . . → Read More: False positive: private profit in Canada’s health care: Update on Thessalon and St. Joseph Island

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: The Silo Strategy –Part 1

How did the for-profit labs become the sole providers of laboratory services for all non-hospital patients in Ontario? These patients, often called community patients, usually need a lab test that is ordered by their family doctor or a nurse practitioner. In Ontario multinational corporations have achieved a feat unparalleled in any other province in Canada. They have complete domination of the community laboratory market. All other provinces use public non-profit facilities to serve rural and northern areas and most, if not all, urban community patients.

In 2000 the Ontario Association of Medical Laboratories, the lobby group

. . . → Read More: False positive: private profit in Canada’s health care: The Silo Strategy –Part 1

False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: LHINs Undercut Integration

Even though I have not met the CEO of the Sault Hospital in northern Ontario I expect he is an honorable person with a difficult task: to justify the unjustifiable. It is on his orders that the Thessalon Hospital and Mathew’s Memorial Hospital, small rural hospitals, closed their doors to the local community for blood taking. Residents now have to drive 85 kilometers to a for-profit specimen collection center in Sault Ste. Marie.

A column in the Sault Star reports that the CEO said that the Laboratory Licensing Act somehow restricts hospitals from collecting specimens from community patients.

. . . → Read More: False positive: private profit in Canada’s health care: LHINs Undercut Integration