Friday, December 02, 2005

Harper's healthcare proposal

As per the CP report:
“We will reduce waiting times,” Harper said. “We will hold (provincial) governments accountable.”

If patients can’t get speedy treatment in their own provinces, he said, they should have the option of going to another.

And he promised to work with the provinces to help universities turn out more doctors and nurses.


“We are going to do what it takes to protect the public health-care system,” he said. “There will be no private, parallel system.”

Let's brainstorm on this.

1. This sounds good on the surface. Every province would pitch in and there would be benchmarks for wait times set by healthcare professionals.
2.It could give a built-in incentive to provinces to reduce wait times so as to avoid the costs (I assume the province would bear) of sending the patient to another province for the procedure or tests they are waiting for.

1. Does a Kamloops, BC woman needing a hip replacement want to go to say, Calgary or Montreal for the procedure, depending on where the bureaucracy determines it can get done on time? Does she then get sent to say, Sudbury or Yellowknife for the timely physio needed afterward? Is that such a good option when her family and support network remains back home?

2. What if our patient is a unilingual francophone from Jonquiere, Quebec and she can only get the procedure and/or physio in Vancouver where she can't get french health service?

3. For this to work, Harper would have to go through the thorny problem of getting all provinces on board (think Meech Lake), and given Scenario #2 above, Quebec would have a lot of concerns.

4. It seems to me a new bureaucracy would need to be created (see Scenario #1 above) handling travel and shelter arrangements with various provinces, and determining: a) if the patient truly needs to go out of province for timely care; b) which hospital in which province can and will provide it; c) following-up to ensure the care was received in the correct timeframe (would be necessary to track this for each and every medical procedure carried out in the entire country, it seems to me); which leads to d) a mechanism for resolving disputes over the timeframe and quality of the care received.

5. What kind of wrench does all this throw into Equalization payments?

If I'm in the press pool, I'm asking all those questions.

- 30 -


Rose said...

Hi Scott - followed you here from your comment on Cathy from Canada's blog.
Did you happen to attend Queen's in the late 80's/early 90's? I think I know you ..
Looking forward to perusing your blog.
Rose C.

Scott in Montreal said...

Queen's? 'Fraid not, Rose. Concordia grad actually.

Dave said...

Well put, Scott. Looks like we're both wondering about this one.

DazzlinDino said...

Here's the way I read Harpers proposal....

The Liberals have laid the healthcare wait list times firmly in the provinces laps, while Harper is promising to work with them, realizing that each province is different. The problems will arise in areas like Saskatchewan and a couple Maritimes provinces where they just don't have the money to put into the system, and I hope that Harper realizes the Feds will have to chip in on this one.

Great site Scott, I'm gonna put you on my "Haunts" list.

Scott in Montreal said...

Hey Dazz, thanks. Let me just say I appreciate your non-dogmatic, open-minded approach to blogging - we don't see enough of that and it's a pity.

Ivan Prokopchuk said...

A rose by any other name...
I know at least three Scott Murrays
and one went to Sir George Williamns before it became Concordia.
(Guess I spent too much time at
the Y, over on Drummond Street. Misspent youth).

Scott in Montreal said...

Hi Ivan - I used to be a member at that Y. It was renovated a few years ago, and now takes up what used to be the Norris building (did you ever try to use that cumbersome Norris library?) I was in Journalism and Communications (mostly stuck at the Loyola campus) from '88 to '95.

Ivan Prokopchuk said...

How we do get around. I'm talking a good generation ago, and yes, that library was getting at the edges of claustrophobia). Then, many years later, I had to go to
Toronto to complete requirements for a real degree at Ryerson (had to take a couple of courses at an
"established" university for this). Chose Toronto. Started doing research at Robarts Library.
Mon Dieu! Tower of Babel! Escalators, Borgesian labyrinths, Escher stairways.
Wasn't till I got computer literate that things began to fall into place.
I was looking for an obscure (very
obscure) Ukrainian poet. Finally found him and some of his work is up on my web today, though you might find the general topic a bit depressing.