Tag Archives: CMA

New CMA president-elect looks to Scotland as model of improvement

Kingston’s Dr. Chris Simpson has been acclaimed president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association. His term as President begins August 2014.

Simpson is professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at Queen’s University as well as medical director of the Cardiac program at Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu.

Simpson’s interest in health care policy is reflected in his BLOG which focusses on such issues as wait times, health human resources planning, and health care reform.

Critical over rising wait times towards the end of the 2004 Health Accord, Simpson is surprisingly frank: “The reasons are many but they essentially boil down to one indisputable truth: the money that was invested didn’t buy change. All we did was to make the numbers look a little better for a short time.”

In his BLOG he particularly looks at the achievements made in the Scottish Health System, suggesting our proximity to the United States makes it difficult to similarly modify our own system.

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Ontario gets worse grade than feds on CMA report card

Ontario is the only region in Canada to receive a worse rating than the federal government on how it deals with health care according to the Canadian Medical Association’s National Report Card for 2012.

The report card represents a poll of Canadians conducted in July by Ipsos Read Public Affairs.

Given most Canadians likely couldn’t name the Federal Health Minister, Ontario’s inferior ranking is a curious result.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has been largely invisible to the public. When questions started getting asked about the federal response to the Sandoz drug shortage, for example, Aglukkaq was largely missing in action.

Despite federal sponsorship of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Aglukkaq was a bit player at the launch of the Commission’s strategy earlier this year, her speech uninspired, her commitments no more than a nod to fund ongoing research.

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CMA responds to Citizen two-tier health care story

Further to our recent story about Bruyere Continuing Care CEO Michel Bilodeau’s public musings about introducing two-tier private insurance in Canada, Canadian Medical Association President Dr. John Haggie has written to the Ottawa Citizen regarding the suggestion that this was something the CMA  endorsed.

Haggie writes:

“The CMA’s position is that core services such as hospital and medical services should be publicly funded. Only when access to timely care cannot be provided in the publicly funded system should Canadians be able to use private health insurance to reimburse the cost of care obtained in the private sector.”

Haggie goes on to state that Canadian physicians agree with Canadians who want a strong, publicly funded system. Patients must have access based on need, not ability to pay, he states.

The Canadian Medical Association is the professional organization representing 74,000 doctors across Canada.

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CMA “national dialogue” supports expansion of Canada Health Act

The Canadian Medical Association has issued a report on its “national dialogue on health care transformation” – the results of six town halls (two in Ontario, one in Quebec, one in BC, Alberta and Nova Scotia) and its on-line consultation.

The report summarizes what the CMA heard, but makes no real recommendations.

“The message that came through most strongly from the public was the need to preserve and strengthen the current principles underpinning the Canada Health Act to ensure continued support for a universally accessible, publicly funded health care system,” the report states.

The report also made clear there was strong support for broadening the scope of the existing legislation. Various respondents spoke of the need of bringing dental care, eye care, drug coverage, long term care, home care, hospice care and care from alternate providers under the Act.

Not surprisingly, Maclean’s national editor Andrew Coyne filled the role of Chicken Little overstating the cost of health care, claiming it “is eating us alive.” Coyne claims 30 per cent efficiency can be had from reorganizing the system, but never points out where these savings would come from aside from making a pitch for more competition on pricing and decentralized funding.

When the public complained the Canada Health Act was not being enforced, Coyne invited them to vote NDP, claiming neither the Liberals or Tories would enforce the Act.

Dr. Danielle Martin of Canadian Doctors for Medicare said a public, single payer system is the best way to control health care costs, noting the cost of physician and hospital costs have been remarkably stable while drug costs have been the “Pac-Man” eating its way through provincial budgets.

The CMA concluded that Canadians suffering from unacceptable wait times, crowded hospitals and a lack of physician and other services were all signs the “once proud” system was under distress. While the majority felt underfunding was part of this scenario, others, like Coyne, believed the system was adequately funded but needed to be better organized.

Click here to download the full CMA report.