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Healthcare Hurricane

Posted Nov 12 2009 10:01pm

Once again, I 've been remiss in keeping up with my journal entries. Thanks to all of you who keep this blog going.

One of the interesting things about the H1N1 pandemic here in Ontario is that it points out how our health care system has barely been hanging on. We've cut beds and providers over theyears and the powers that be are still on a binge of decentralizing care (seems we did the "centralizing" binge a decade or so ago and now it is time to reverse the process!)

All those alternate level care patients...OUT. All those dialysis patients...OUT. All those cardiac pacemaker patients...OUT. It seems keeping everybody "out"  of hospitals and tertiary care centres these days is the solution for at least a few LHINs trying to manage budgets that are not realistic. I guess nobody told the LHIN chiefs that the cost of off-site infrastructure is likely to be higher than centralized care...but nevermind...Meanwhile the feds and provinces claim that eHealth will amount to billions of dollars in savings for health care annually---not likely.

Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun has written an excellent article in the November 12 paper. He describes how successive governments have  managed to avoid providing the resources necessary for public health to do its job well. So far with H1N1 we have managed to avoid the bullet but he makes a serious prediction.

Yes, public health needs many more resources as germs evolve and Mother Nature challenges our abilities to maintain our population health during various outbreaks inside or outside of health care institutions.

The solution is to revamp the spending pyramid. Patients should be paying more for lesser health related problems through tax free savings accounts and private insurance while government spends more on public health and catastrophic care. Miscellaneous pieces of health care should be funded in a greater proportion by individuals.

I've provided the link to Lorrie Goldstein's piece as I did not want to copy it in its entirety...and it deserves to be read in its entirety.

Thanks Lorrie.

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