"While billion-dollar scandals like eHealth make these stories all the more frustrating for Ontarians, because of the appalling waste of scarce health-care dollars, the truth is governments across Canada, not just the Dalton McGuinty government in Ontario, are struggling with the same issues"
could have been written by me.
(In fact, I've written exactly such lines about the "National Programme for IT in the HHS" a/k/a the HITECH Act, regarding the waste of precious healthcare resources such as at my Jan. 2010 post "Electronic Medical Records and Going For Broke: Jackson Health System's Financial Future Appears Grim".)
This from the Toronto Sun:
Ontario must rethink health care
Saturday, September 29, 2012, 6:20 PM
The simple truth is Ontario’s health care system is running out of our money to pay for our health care.
That’s why we keep hearing about cases of patients being denied necessary surgery — particularly when it has to be done in the U.S. — and life-prolonging medications.
In the Sun’s news section today, Queen’s Park columnist Christina Blizzard tells the story of Erika Crawford, 17, whose family plans to go ahead with life-saving surgery in the U.S. to prevent her death from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, even though OHIP has callously refused to fund the expensive procedure.
Recently, Blizzard wrote about the plight of three-year-old Liam Reid, whose parents went ahead with eye-saving treatment available only in Detroit, with no guarantee OHIP will pay for that.
Over the summer, Blizzard wrote about 67-year-old Percy Bedard, denied OHIP funding for a life-prolonging drug for his prostate cancer because the health ministry doesn’t believe it’s cost effective.
The truth is that as time goes on, there are going to be more and more stories like this.
While billion-dollar scandals like eHealth make these stories all the more frustrating for Ontarians, because of the appalling waste of scarce health-care dollars, the truth is governments across Canada, not just the Dalton McGuinty government in Ontario, are struggling with the same issues.
I presume they're referring to the scandal such as I wrote of in May 2009 at my post "Canadian Health IT Ripoff ... Is Anyone in the U.S. Paying Attention?"
(Addendum Oct. 1, 2012: per the commenter, also see this July 2012 Toronto Sun story: eHealth Needs Surgery and this quote: "Auditor General Jim McCarter, in his clinical dissection of Ontario electronic health records woe in 2009, said $1 billion had been spent by over 10 years by two different governments, without getting full value for those dollars. He’s since been more specific about the numbers, saying “hundreds of millions of dollars” were likely wasted.")
From my aforementioned Jan. 2010 post:
... I have written on numerous occasions that health IT in its present form, often poorly designed and implemented under current IT leadership structures, is often a waste of precious healthcare resources. The resources might be better spent on essentials such as patient care for the poor or improved human staffing, until this experimental technology is perfected.
Add "and for the not so poor" to that list.
Since there isn’t enough money to give everyone the care they need, politicians and health bureaucrats routinely deny medically necessary services and treatments to save money.
This often means choosing between who will live and who will die, and who will suffer and who will lead a normal life.
To be sure, this review process has always been in place, particularly for out-of-province treatments and for funding new medications, since no publicly funded health care system can possibly provide every service to everyone.
But as the health care budget creeps towards eating up half of all spending in Ontario, these decisions are only going to become more frequent, and harder.
But in the U.S. let's go merrily ahead and spend a trillion dollars for health IT, even if it's bad health it (BHIT), which there currently is no reason for manufacturers to stop producing (e.g., complete lack of regulation).
No problem, right?