Is the McGuinty Government “breaking the Law” with it’s Health Care Policy?

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Lawsuits and legal challenge’s by Doctors and the Police Investigation into ORNGE not to mention the upcoming inquiry into Family Health Teams may signal the beginning of the “end” for this Government’s “political influence” which was once Ontario’s greatest sanctified socail programs: Ontario Health Care!

When a Government blindly blows the bundle of tax payers $$$ on a stupid, idiotic and dream-like push for Green Energy everywhere at a cost to home-owners that out weighs it’s intended outcome of cheap greeen renewable energy supply with unstable hugely expensive non producing power then something has to go to support this monstrosity.

Obviously McGuinty has focused on Health Care!

Ontario government faces lawsuits over troubled Family Health Teams

  Jun 8, 2012

Ashley Fraser/Postmedia News files

Dalton McGuinty’s government has faced a number of scandals as it tries to improve Ontario’s health care system: eHealth, Air Ornge and now, possibly, its Family Health Teams. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia News files

TORONTO — Major flaws are emerging in what is supposed to be the crown jewel in Ontario’s changing health care system.

Family Health Teams or FHTs, a seven-year-old creation of the Dalton McGuinty government, are widely seen as the best model for family doctors and patients both.

Though they take different forms, they share a common vision — to offer better primary care by having groups of physicians, nurses, nurse-practitioners and other medical professionals work as a team either in one physical location or through a single hub.

And for the most part, the early evidence is that FHTs do result in better outcomes for patients, particularly those with complex medical problems such as diabetes.

The move to FHTs also has seen more than 2.1 million Ontarians who didn’t have a family doctor get one.

Rolled out in five waves starting in 2005, Ontario has poured millions into the teams — $244-million in fiscal 2010-11 and $347-million in fiscal 2011-12 alone — and now has 200 FHTs across the province, serving 2.8 million patients.

Darren Calabrese/National Post

The Humber River Family Health Team building, located near the high-needs Jane-Finch community in Toronto, is one of the FHTs that has recently seen clashes between administrators.

That money doesn’t include salaries paid to physicians, who — under the complex new “alternate funding arrangements” which go hand-in-hand with FHTs — earn about 25% more than their counterparts who work solo and are paid on the old fee-for-service model.

But serious problems at two different FHTs — one of the oldest, a community-led team in Shelburne, north of Toronto, and one of the newest, a physician-led team in the city’s impoverished Jane-Finch area — suggest there may be widespread gaps with oversight and real potential for abuse and even wrongdoing.

“It’s a better [potential] scandal than Air Ornge or eHealth,” says one insider, referring to the province’s beleaguered air ambulance service and well-documented spending spree with electronic health records, “because it’s a systemic problem.”

With at least a couple of FHTs, for instance, Postmedia News has learned that the province has been paying for years for what could be called “ghost” employees, contract health practitioners the FHTs are funded to hire on a part-time basis but haven’t yet been able to find.

And when the FHTs in question told the ministry that, for instance, they hadn’t yet hired the nurse-practitioner or other “allied professional” they were funded for, “they kept sending us the money,” the bewildered source says.

The ministry disputes the term “ghost” employees but acknowledges some funds aren’t spent by FHTs “for a period of time” and defends the practice as giving the teams “the flexibility to hire” whenever they’re able to do so.

At one FHT, when staff reportedly couldn’t persuade bureaucrats to stop sending payments for ghost employees, the FHT banked the money and allegedly gave their regular physicians an unsolicited — and improper, as defined by the FHT-ministry deal — “bonus” at year’s end.

All three troubled areas — Air Ornge, e-Health and FHTs — fall under the ambit of the same government arm, the Ontario ministry of health and long-term care.

Both the Mel Lloyd FHT in Shelburne and the Humber River FHT in northwest Toronto recently have seen clashes between administrators allegedly trying to bring standard governance procedures to the FHT boards, followed by a round of firings and staff or board member resignations.

Aaron Lynett/National Post files

Health minister Deb Matthews says “yes, absolutely” her ministry is looking at how it can do more to improve Family Health Teams governance.

The Mel Lloyd FHT, where board directors have twice resigned en masse and where staff turnover reached 51% last year, now faces two wrongful dismissal suits from a former executive-director and a former administrator.

One of the suits, which seeks $800,000 in damages, alleges some of the doctors had been lured to the FHT by promises they could work part-time hours but be paid full-time.

The FHT is vigorously defending one of the suits, which was filed last December: the $800,000 one was just recently filed. None of the allegations in either suit have been proven.


Ontario’s doctors take province to court to fight $340-million in fee cuts

  Jun 12, 2012

Ontario’s doctors are taking their fee fight with the Liberal government to court.

The Ontario Medical Association is applying to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a review of the government’s negotiating tactics and its unilateral fee cuts.

The province cut $340-million worth of fees for services provided by doctors after the OMA walked away from the negotiating table.

The OMA says the government has not negotiated in good faith, and wants the court to reverse the fee cuts.

It also wants the court to decide that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to doctors, and order the government to negotiate in good faith before taking unilateral action like cuts.



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