There’s a study beckoning to be done: the impact of the Drummond Commission report on women.
On this International Women’s Day we face an unprecedented attack on the public sector – a sector in which employment belongs 60 per cent to women.
In health care, that number is even higher – 82 per cent.
While there is much talk about sharing the pain from the last recession, the reality is those who rely the most upon public services and those who deliver them are really being asked to shoulder the cost. More often that not, these are women.
The Champlain Local Health Integration Network has confirmed Chantale LeClerc as its permanent CEO.
LeClerc had been serving as interim CEO upon the departure of Alex Munter, who left six months ago to serve as CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
LeClerc, a former nurse, has been with the LHIN since 2008. Prior to stepping into Munter’s shoes, she was senior director of health system integration.
LeClerc has impressive credentials, including graduating from a management program for nursing executives at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
LeClerc is the third CEO of the Champlain LHIN since it was created in 2005. Of the 14 LHINs, only three have their original CEOs – Erie St. Clair (Gary Switzer), Central West (Mimi Low-Young) and South East (Paul Huras).
The Drummond Commission for Public Sector reform recommended a wage increase for LHIN CEOs given the turnover of senior management, many leaving for hospital jobs.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Ms. Leclerc will earn about $249,000 this year.
While the Drummond Commission talks about the need for recruitment and retention of health professionals and “leaders”, much of the rest of the Commission’s labour relations recommendations may send health professionals off in search of greener pastures.
Drummond avoids the question as to what happens when Ontario brings down the austerity hammer while other provinces, such as Alberta, are rushing to enhance their health systems? Simple logic would suggest that doctors, nurses, lab techs, therapists and other professionals in high demand may all be learning the lyrics to Gordon Lightfoot’s “Alberta Bound” real soon.
Is this where McGuinty really wants to go after creating HealthForce Ontario to plan HR needs?
Drummond says wage freezes are ineffective because of the catch-up that follows, but recommends the government provide a zero budget increase for wage costs, forcing employers to find efficiencies to offset any settlements above zero.
One has to wonder about what role Susan Pigott played on the Drummond Commission for Public Sector Reform.
Pigott is one of four appointed Commissioners.
Piggott’s day job is Vice-President Communications and Community Engagement at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
You would think, being one in four, her influence would have considerable impact on the final report. We read the Commission report expecting it would come out swinging in favour of good mental health and addictions policies.
And yet the Commission comes out squarely in favour of more access to gambling.
Don Drummond certainly knows how to manufacture a crisis.
For several years now he has been telling us that public health care spending is out of control, and that if left unchecked, it would soon consume 70 per cent of the provincial budget. Since those projections, spending on health care has actually gone down as a share of provincial program spending, from 46 per cent to 42 per cent.
Oddly, despite a trend line going in the opposite direction, Drummond continues to maintain this forecast.
Now, as Commissioner for Public Service Reform, he is telling us that if we don’t enter into a period of extreme austerity, we will soon be the Greece of Canada.
Don’t break out the tzatziki sauce yet.
Two days after the Drummond Report was publicly released it is fair to wonder what will actually be implemented for health care. After all, it is not Don Drummond running the province, but Dalton McGuinty.
McGuinty is the master of building firewalls between his policies and the decision-makers at Queen’s Park. For example, how many times did we hear McGuinty and his MPPs suggest unpopular health care decisions were not theirs, but those of the Local Health Integration Networks? Now Don Drummond is the latest lightening rod that separates a long list of nasty trial balloons from the politicians who would like to see how much austerity the public will accept.
The government treated the release of Drummond’s report much like it does the budget, locking up journalists and opposition politicians until the official release at 2:15 pm Wednesday. This is hardly standard protocol and suggests the government was taking the recommendations very seriously. Or was this just optics?
According to the Toronto Star, the Drummond Commission will recommend a major overhaul of our health care system, including delisting of certain procedures from OHIP coverage while reducing the incidence of others.
This is a turnaround from Drummond’s earlier insistence that he wasn’t for U.S.-style privatization. If a service is delisted from OHIP, it becomes totally privatized.
There will likely be considerable debate over these procedures, given it is economist Don Drummond, and not the Ontario Medical Association, that is deciding which have value, and which don’t. And just because it is not covered, that doesn’t mean a procedure won’t be performed if someone has sufficient cash to make it happen.
Patient-centered care is the latest catch phrase being used by health care administrators, politicians and policy wonks.
It has become so frequent in its use it has actually supplanted the mandatory use of “evidence-based decision making” as this year’s mantra.
Despite the mantra, most of us would be hard pressed to point to a specific initiative that trumps the patients’ interest over that of the interests of institutional health care providers.
It is therefore interesting to see the response to the Canadian Medical Association Journal’s (CMAJ) recent editorial that calls upon hospitals to abandon 1 per cent of their revenue to make parking free.
With no public release, the contents of the Drummond Commission’s preliminary report are slowly emerging via statements from the party leaders.
The latest is from PC leader Tim Hudak, who said Drummond is recommending a 2 per cent per year reduction in spending on everything outside of health and education to 2018/19. Hudak says his party would support the minority Liberals on implementing that plan.
Earlier in the week Dalton McGuinty said that the government would constrain spending increases to one per cent per year, which is a significant cut when inflation is running at 3.4 per cent.