“I have to do the surgeries”: doctor criticizes pay delays as patients wait in pain
This week’s edition of who is saying what about public health care includes doctors denouncing pay delays that affect patients, Alberta doctors protesting revoking of a job on an Indigenous health care team, nurses on why they are leaving Ontario, Dr. Alika Lafontaine’s ideas for transforming primary care, researchers studying violence in health care, and economist Steve Morgan on why BC’s pharmacare is not good enough and needs to be universal.
Patients caught in doctors’ pay delay
“I have to do the surgeries, and then I have to wait for some adjudicator to review the file to decide whether I deserve to get paid or not. I am putting the work in and I’m not asking for more money than I deserve. My staff need to get paid, my office rent needs to be paid, I have other expenses that have to be paid immediately. I can’t say, ‘I’ll pay you when the government pays me. I’m not sure of any other public servant that waits over a year to get paid for his work — and most people would not tolerate that,” said Dr. Stephen Lewis, a specialized orthopedic surgeon in Ontario, CBC News, June 25, 2023
(Personal note: this story focuses on scoliosis, a condition from which I truly suffered until I had successful surgery way back in 1979 – Pat Van Horne)
More nurses working – and leaving – Ontario
“What (the Ontario government) has not done, and we have asked again and again and again, is to… notice that at the same time as we bring more people, let’s make sure that we do interventions to retain them. And on that we are not any better than before,” said Doris Grinspun, CEO, Registered Nurses Association, to the Toronto Star/Canadian Press, June 22, 2023
Alberta docs protest revoking of job offer on Indigenous health team
“There is no place for leadership which undermines the decisions, recommendations and sovereignty of the Indigenous Wellness Core, and no place for political interference in healthcare delivery. . . Our Indigenous population is already often discriminated against in health care, often is marginalized and does not have access to the care that they require. And now we’ve disrupted a stable system that was able to help this group of patients,” stated an open letter to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith from 100 Alberta doctors, CBC News, June 26, 2023
Ideas emerging to reorganize primary care – is public education a model?
“We’ve allowed the health care system to grow into a choose your adventure, where folks have to figure out how to access care themselves. . . The education system is designed to be streamlined. It wants your kids to be part of the learning and education that occurs in your community,” said Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president Canadian Medical Association, Globe and Mail, June 24, 2023
Violence in health care subject of new study by University of Manitoba nurse
“Nurses have to decide every single time. They’re faced with those decisions: do I go in and take care of this person? They might need life-saving interventions, but if you know you’re going to get hurt or abused, how hard is it to make the decision about whether you’re going to go in?” said researcher Jennifer Dunsford, Winnipeg Free Press, June 27, 2023
B.C.’s Fair PharmaCare isn’t; replace it with universal pharmacare
“Fair PharmaCare, ironically, has been anything but a fair way to pay for medicines. It eliminated the comprehensive drug coverage B.C. seniors had received since the 1970s. It also increased the deductibles that most families — younger and older ones alike — would face under its income-based benefit design. . . The pharmaceutical and insurance industries command an imposing army of lobbyists in Ottawa, ready to fight any reforms that might touch their profits. And as recent revelations around Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos’s intervention to back down on long-awaited drug price regulations show, they often get their way. . . Research also shows that truly universal systems for public drug coverage are far cheaper than systems that just cover some prescriptions for some patients some of the time — like Fair PharmaCare does,” said Steve Morgan, economist and professor of health policy at the University of B.C., Vancouver Province, June 20, 2023
Story continues below
At last, it’s a tentative agreement
“Our members have waited more than five years for a new contract, the longest of any health-care sector in Canada. We have finally reached a tentative agreement after 15 months of painstaking negotiations, including over nine weeks of mediation. We are hopeful that, if ratified, this new deal can help retain and recruit more specialized allied health-care professionals on the front line where Manitobans need them,” union president Jason Linklater said in a release,” said Jason Linklater, president Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals, Winnipeg Free Press, June 25, 2023
Market-oriented Opinion: Has the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB) outlived its usefulness?
“In 2022, the PMPRB released revised draft guidelines. Instead of using its comparison with the new countries in the way it had done for more than three decades, the PMPRB invented new and complicated ways to reduce drug prices. . .” stated Nigel Rawson, affiliate scholar, of the private-sector Canadian Health Policy Institute and senior fellow with the market-oriented Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Hill Times, June 26, 2023
On the other hand and direct from the PMPRB
“New proposed guidance would amend the existing Interim Guidance which was issued by the Board on August 18, 2022, and was intended to be a temporary measure following Health Canada’s July 2022 amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations. The new guidance would allow Board staff to address new medicines under the new Regulations until a final set of Guidelines is in place. The Board looks forward to announcing its forward plan on finalizing the Guidelines shortly. The deadline for providing written submissions to the PMPRB is Monday, August 21, 2023,” stated the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board news release, June 20, 2023