Editor’s Picks: Some recent stories you may have missed

It’s time for our summer break. We won’t be posting again until mid-August, but you may want to explore some of the almost 600 articles that are already up on our site. This year we won an award for best web content by the Canadian Association of Labour Media. We are also nominated in two categories for the fall Ninjamatics BLOG awards. Find out why!

Here are some important stories you may have overlooked from the last few months:

New funding mechanisms for hospitals both good and bad

There’s both good and bad in the province’s new funding formula for hospitals. At last there is some rational to how hospitals receive their funding. That’s the good news. The bad news is that with a freeze in base funding, some hospitals will actually see their revenues decline as the new formula is implemented. Further, the government is effectively creating a price competition for certain procedures that will reallocate services not according to where they are most needed, but to hospitals that can deliver them for the least amount of money. For more, click here to read our June 29 post.

We told you so: P3s having adverse effect on health care in the UK

Ontario has embraced the idea of public-private partnerships to build and operate new public hospitals. Following the British model, it was intended to be the no money down miracle. Now the UK is finding out that the model has some very negative consequences, particularly as the Cameron government implements its own austerity budget. For more, click here to read out June 27 post.

Mental Health: Who will buy into the new federal strategy?

In May the Mental Health Commission of Canada launched its new mental health strategy with much fanfare. There is a lot to be recommended in it. The problem is it comes at a time when the federal government believes it has no role in health care beyond cash transfers. It also comes at a time when the provinces are more fixated on bringing down health costs than investing in new initiatives. Pity.  For more, click here to read our May 8 post.

Unemployed docs: You don’t want fries with that

Dr. Sacha Bhatia, the former health care advisor to Premier Dalton McGuinty, says we are about to face a surplus of doctors. This comes at a time when the Federal government is changing the rules around employment insurance. A coincidence? Click here to read our tongue-in-cheek posting from May 25.

Falls Prevention: Will the LHINs overcome the impact of delisting and fiscal restraint?

The LHINs are presently working on a strategy to reduce the number of seniors injured from falls. We applaud the idea of looking towards more upstream solutions. However the route to falls prevention seems to be littered with poor decisions by government on everything from leaving out public health units from the LHIN structure to delisting services that could actually help reduce falls. To read our April 30 post, click here.

Fixing long-term care not one of Deb Matthews’ choices either

Whenever a reporter interviews Health Minister Deb Matthews, she can’t help but  add a comment — no matter the subject — to the effect that her cuts to doctor’s fees are a matter of making choices. Cuts to docs means more funding to where it is really needed, or so the idea goes. One place she isn’t reinvesting those savings is in long-term care, where she mostly ignored the 18 recommendations made by her own task force. Fixing long term care is not one of the choices she is making.  To read our May 17 post, click here.

Zero tolerance for abuse and neglect? Hardly.

While she fails to reinvest in long-term care, Health Minister Deb Matthews would also rather not know about the impact. Matthews now says long-term care homes will not have to undergo an annual inspection despite what it says in the McGuinty government’s own Long Term Care Homes Act (2007). To read our June 13 post, click here.

McGuinty says he needs majority to take hard-line against labour

Early this summer the Tories released an extreme-right labour platform that would take Ontario’s labour-relations environment back to the 19th century. They must have felt McGuinty was infringing on their turf when earlier this year the Premier told the news media that he needed to regain his majority government to take a hard-line against labour. If you are a Ontario health care worker, this is not looking good. To read our May 3rd post, click here.

Is Canadian Blood Services rolling the dice on the future security of needed plasma products?

It started out as a simple closure story. Canadian Blood Services said they had 10,000 units of plasma too many. As a result, CBS said they were closing the Thunder Bay Plasma Clinic, which produced 10,800 units annually. This seemed fairly straight forward until we realized CBS was simultaneously increasing imports of surplus American plasma. Then there was news of two very large plasma collection centers being opened in Toronto by a private for-profit company that CBS says it has no ties to.  What the heck is going on here? Read our May 15 post by clicking here.

Have a great summer and don’t forget to check us out again mid-August.

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