Matthews signals change in commitment to transparency for hospitals

At last year’s Ontario Hospital Association “HealthAchieve” conference Health Minister Deb Matthews suggested she would bring hospitals under Freedom of Information legislation. She applauded OHA CEO Tom Closson’s call for greater transparency.

In response to rebuilding trust after the e-Health scandal, she said:

“One part of restoring that trust is being transparent about how we’re spending and what we’re doing. It’s about showing Ontarians what we’re achieving and being honest about our shortcomings.

I’d been on the job three weeks when Tom Closson wrote me suggesting that Freedom of Information laws be extended to cover hospitals.

He pointed out that recent events should be viewed as a wake-up call for leaders of all public-sector organizations, and hospitals should not be exempt from that.

He showed himself, the OHA and this province’s hospitals, to be transparent and accountable to taxpayers and to patients, and I salute you for that.

With that kind of leadership, we’ll be able to restore the trust and regain the confidence of Ontarians.”

Flash forward to this week. The NDP charged that at least 14 hospitals have hired Queen’s Park lobbyists, but only had figures on how much was spent by a handful of them. NDP leader Andrea Horwath called upon Matthews to put hospitals under Freedom of Information Legislation.

Matthews replied that the Liberals are “seriously considering” it.

Seriously considering it? It sure sounded like she more than giving it serious consideration a year ago.

Similarly, on the front page of the Toronto Star Premier Dalton McGuinty said the deplorable conditions identified in the newspaper’s probe into retirement homes was reason for him to stay on and do better. How inspirational. On page 17 of the same newspaper, when the NDP and Tories called for an emergency investigation into retirement homes, the government turned them down, suggesting last summer’s legislation would be enough to solve the problem.

Seems the present government has a bit of a credibility problem when it comes to their commitment to resolving health care issues.

3 responses to “Matthews signals change in commitment to transparency for hospitals

  1. Jill McIllwraith

    All I can think of this is thank goodness we have a choice next October. Clearly the Liberals do not want to save public health care and do not have the concerns of the people of Ontario at heart. We need to get the word out to all communities to see that Dalton is not paying attention to our health care and that Mathews doesn’t listen …even to herself.

  2. Ian L. Mitchell

    Has anyone investigated the relationship between the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Hospital Association?? The OHA was, at one time a semi-autonomous body, financed by fees from the member health facilities.. My understanding is that the Ministry would not allow the hospitals to pay (this support) as an allowable expense , with the result that the Ministry now provides its financing with the result that the OHA is now beholden to the Ministry with the obvious loss of any real, independent voice supporting the hospitals 100%

  3. Surprise Surprise! They do not know what transparency means!

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