Tag Archives: Jim Flaherty

Should the LHINs really be the e-Harmony of health care providers?

When the province decided to call its most recent crown agencies Local Health Integration Networks, it was clear where the emphasis lay.

Rather than plan a system based on need, it appears the primary function of the LHIN was to ‘integrate’ health services.

Integration can be broadly interpreted – it doesn’t necessarily mean mergers of health providers, although it can be. It can also mean greater cooperation and collaboration between providers, or transfers or even swaps of services from one entity to another. Under the Act’s definition, integration can also be the winding up or closure of a service – something most of us would not see under the normal dictionary interpretation of ‘integration.’ The extension of that illogical concept is that by blowing up the entire health system you’d have full integration.

It seems the province was short a philosopher when they needed one.

The province maintains that about 250 integrations have taken place since the LHINs came into effect in 2006 – most being of more recent vintage. That surprises us given much of the system seems to be still dipping a toe into the integration pool.

Some integrations happen by default. Sometimes a small agency just decides it can’t continue any more and the LHIN is left scrambling to transfer the work to another health provider. Perram House hospice, for example, gave the Toronto Central LHIN just a couple of weeks notice to say they were calling it quits.

Just because a service transfers from point A to point B, doesn’t mean that the system as a whole becomes any more fluid or patient-centered. Sometimes it makes it worse.

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Jim – it’s you who loves P3s, not us

The Honourable Jim Flaherty
Minister of Finance
House of Commons Centre Block Building – Room 435-S
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Jim  –

We get it. You love public-private partnerships, or as most like to call ‘em, P3s. The sound of big business rushing in and signing great big multi-million and multi-billion dollar contracts with governments to privately finance, build, maintain and sometimes operate hospitals, court houses, schools, bridges, transit systems – why it just makes your ol’ leprechaun heart sing.

Y’er getting all that “dead” corporate money moving, right?

We know these days that investors are nervous of even their own shadow, so governments need to give them sure-fire money makers at the public’s expense. It’ll buck ‘em up.

Paying it all back, well yeah, those are details best left for another day. What the heck – our children use this infrastructure too, so why shouldn’t they be prepared to pay for it over a generation or two? And if they can’t, there are always their children to pay after them. And their children’s children. Hold on, we’re getting a bit dizzy here.

With the over-inflated costs of these projects, we can hear the big profits clinking from here, even with our windows closed. And at the union we have good windows.

Here comes our beef:

On Tuesday you told a panel that the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre P3 was “incredibly successful” and that the “unions love it, the nurses love it, the physicians love it, the patients love it.”

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Health and education vs. sports executive boxes

It’s no surprise that the root cause of the recent recession would be eventually reinterpreted to blame the public sector.

Now that the bankers and the auto industry have now renounced their brief flirtation with socialism, it seems we are told our problems stem from us little people having it too good when it comes to health, education and other public services.

Even the ever apoplectic Rex Murphy blames Premier Dalton McGuinty for the sudden state of the province’s finances, and not the bankers who crashed the economy and suddenly put a big hole in Ontario’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, blowing harder than usual these days, says Ontario has fundamental budget problems – “major spending problems that they’ve built up over the course of eight years.”

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Unilateral Federal funding decision shouldn’t be a surprise, even if it makes little sense

Less than a week before Christmas Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty marched into a luncheon meeting of his provincial counterparts and told them what the Federal contribution to health care funding would be to 2024.

“They just landed this on the table over the lunch hour,” Manitoba’s finance minister told the Globe and Mail. “It caught us all by surprise.”

The “take it or leave it” deal includes:

  • a six per cent annual funding increase for three years to 2017
  • funding increases tied to nominal* GDP beginning in 2018 with a three per cent floor
  • new funding would be on a per capita basis only – weighting for equalization would be removed from the Canada Health Transfer
  • no strings are attached, although provinces are “encouraged” to experiment with private delivery of public health care

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Future of Medicare at stake as health ministers plan Halifax meeting

With a majority government in Ottawa, will Prime Minister Stephen Harper thumb his nose at provinces seeking a fresh deal that would transfer billions to sustain their cash-strapped health systems?

Provincial Health Ministers may be discussing strategies to avoid such a catastrophe when they meet in Halifax next month.

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