Dec. 17th, 2013

From: Ontario Health Coalition <>

Subject: [OHC] Federal government cutting promised health funding for Ontario

Date: 17 December, 2013 4:37:16 PM EST


Save Public Medicare! Information

We knew that the federal Conservative government was planning to walk away from the National Health Accord, and, in process, slash the funding formula for health care. But, based on the federal government's own statements and promises, we thought we had a couple of years (and a federal election) before the funding cuts actually hit. In fact, Stephen Harper said that the 6% funding would remain in place for 2 years after the Health Accord's expiry in 2014, thus extending the funding escalator until 2016.

But today, the Ontario Minister of Health revealed that federal health care funding for Ontario will be cut in approx. half in 2014 resulting in a shortfall from what was promised of about $650 million next year.

 Please contact your federal Member of Parliament (MP) and ask them what they are doing to stop the shrinking of federal funding for health care to Ontario. Here's a link to the list of MPs and their contact info:

News story is below. Please distribute this email to your lists.

 Ontario not receiving expected health transfer funds

Health Minister Deb Matthews says Ottawa providing half of what was promised

The Canadian Press Posted: Dec 17, 2013 1:49 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 17,

The federal Conservatives have betrayed Canada's most populous province by breaking their promise over health-care funding, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews charged Tuesday.

The Harper Tories promised all provinces a six per cent increase in health transfers, but they're only giving Ontario 3.4 per cent in 2014-15, she said.

That means Ontario is out $300 million, while Alberta is getting about $1 billion more — a 38 per cent increase, Matthews said.

"I think it's outrageous," she said during a visit to a Toronto eye surgery clinic.

"I think it's bad policy. We count on that money. We had counted on that money to continue to improve access to care in this province."

She said it's a devastating blow to Ontario, which is grappling with rising health-care costs as its population ages.

The $300 million that Ottawa is shortchanging Ontario is more than the province's increase in home care and other services for seniors this year, she said.

"It's less money to reduce wait times, it's less money to hire nurses, it's less time to provide Ontario families and particularly Ontario seniors with the care that they need," Matthews said.

The governing Liberals have made an effort to cut costs, but it appears the Harper Tories are balancing their budget on the backs of Ontario patients, she said.

Ontario, which is facing a nearly $12-billion deficit, is the only province that will see fewer federal dollars next year, with total transfer payments shrinking by $641 million to $19.1 billion.

A spokesman for Flaherty said Monday that the sums went down because Ontario's economy did better.

The province allocates about $49 billion a year on health care, the highest area of spending in its $127.6-billion budget.

Matthews said costs have risen by six to seven per cent annually in recent years, but the government has managed to hold it at 2.1 per cent this year.

© The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8


OHC Hearing summary report & full 92 page report
Summary of What We Heard
The Role of Small and Rural Hospitals
The hearings covered hospitals that ranged in size from very small to medium in communities that
varied in remoteness and rurality. Governance structures covered the gamut from amalgamated
corporations to alliances to stand-alone hospitals.

(Full 92 page report can be downloaded at bottom of this page)

Mayor Randy Hope's presentation
From my perspective as a leader of a community, a rural community, I think its important that we need to understand not only is it about a hospital being closed or closure of hospital or centralization of services but those that are going to be impacted like that of Community Living and others.
Read more

 David McCarron's presentation
My name is David McCarron with my father Michael. I am not going to touch on some of the aspects I know we are going to hear multiple times today. I did want to bring forward a couple of points. We have all read the newspaper I’m sure by now or at least received the Courier Press that says that market share of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is dropping.
Read more

Pastor Brian Horrobin's presentation
It was a very famous physician that once said “It’s not those who are well who need a doctor, it’s who are sick.” Jesus of Nazareth, and he also said “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also”. I want to come from a different perspective from the other people who have shared and talk about some of the intangibles, why our hospital is necessary in our community. The reason that Jesus said “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also”, when someone has their treasure, their money in something their heart’s in it. This hospital was paid for by private dollars back in the late 50’s, people’s heart is in this hospital.
Read More
 Cathy Zudeem's presentatiom
My name is Cathy Zuidema. I am a mother of 4, I have lived in Wallaceburg all my life. I recently moved to Chatham with my family in November of last year. That was a problem in itself. Two days after we had moved my daughter had a severe asthma attack. I did not know what was going on. As a mother you are very concerned. I took her to Wallaceburg because I know Wallaceburg hospital.
Aaron Neaves' presentation
Just real quick, I wrote a couple of things down. There have been so many speakers before me obviously probably going to echo same amount or sentiments that I’m going to say today. I just wrote it down, it’s very simple. The future of small rural hospitals and what it means to our community. I did some research today on the LHINs website and it states this, LHINS are an important part of the evolution of health care in Ontario eluding from a collection of services that were often uncoordinated to a true health care system. It is a patient focus process, I kind put that in there, and I thought that was kind of ironic, through the local health system integration act 2006. This legislation places a significant decision making power at the community level and focuses the health system on a community’s need. Talking about the community’s need, I wrote down a couple of issues.
Read More
Herb John's presentation
"I would like to thank the Ontario Health Coalition for organizing this province wide campaign.
The government needs a clear message about what we expect from
our elected representatives and from our health care system."
Read more

Submission of Bill Pollock – President of UAW Local 251
The Connect between Our Hospital (Sydenham District Hospital), jobs, and the Health and Well Being of Community and Citizens
Read more

Shirley Roebuck's Presentation at OHC Hearings

"Is There Room in Ontario’s Health Care System for a Heart???
Small Community hospitals have always had close ties to their communities, and Sydenham Campus is no exception. People call it “our hospital” and flyers proclaim “we want our hospital back”!


 Posted: May 26th, 2013

Save Public Medicare! Information

Save Our

Community Hospitals


Queen's Park Main Legislative Building

Tuesday, June 4 at 11:00 a.m.- approx. 2 p.m.

In real dollars, hospital funding is being cut every year now -- and small and rural hospitals are under grave threat. Already some communities are facing major service cuts that threaten the future viability of their local community hospitals --and this is after only the first year of a 5-year "austerity" (meaning major budget cuts) plan by the provincial government. At this rate, if we don't stop the cuts, entire hospitals will be closed down and vital services will be lost in smaller communities and rural areas all across Ontario.


After more than a decade of cuts and continual erosion of our local hospital services, it is time to stand up!

We are organizing a series of events that will run from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. including:

a media conference

meetings with political parties

rally at the Ministry of Health

meetings with rural MPPs


Standing up for our local services works. 


Dec. 19th,2013


         TDMH retaining 10 CCC beds ; HEALTH CARE

Tillsonburg News -Dec. 18,2013


Ten Complex Continuing Care (CCC) hospital beds slated for closure at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital -and the funding and jobs they represent -are being retained.

"It is very good news," said Lisa Gardner, Integrated Vice-President and Chief Nursing Executive TDMH/Alexandra Hospital Monday morning. "We were able to sustain beds within the community."

The South West LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) had announced 16 CCC beds at TDMH were slated for closure, in order to be distributed to other regions within the LHIN. But a press release issued from TDMH stated 'hard work on the part of the TDMH board of directors, its team members and municipal council,' has resulted in the retention of 10 of those beds.

'This means that $1.2 million that would have been cut from the health care budget allocated by the South West LHIN will also remain here,' indicated the press release.

"It took a lot of meetings and negotiations, but we were happy to work with the South West LHIN to find a solution that addressed our community's concerns," said Crystal Houze, Integrated President and CEO, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll (AHI) via the press release.

CCC beds are defined as for patients who need the full services of a hospital, no longer in need of acute care, but requiring care needs, for example, one undergoing significant rehabilitation.

One example, said Gardner, would be a person requiring occupational and physiotherapy in order to learn to walk again, before they could return home.

"So it's kind of that phase of their visit," she said.

The beds which are being reallocated are being transferred to Grey Bruce, where previously there were none. This process is part of an ongoing rebalancing of service as part of a goal of equitable access to specialized care across the region. Care is also evolving with the development, of for example, the Home First program which allows those with lower needs to be cared for in their residence.

Although TDMH has approved the release of the reduced number of CCC beds, and the funding that goes with them, the LHIN Board of Directors will be voting whether to approve the decision at the December 18 meeting.

Seeking innovative solutions and collaboration will continue to be vital as health care progresses, given, indicated the press release, that TDMH and AHI have faced no increase in funds across the past three years.

"Funding has remained stagnant yet our costs increase, which presents certain challenges," says Houze. "But we have great plans for our community hospitals that will provide exemplary care to local people, including creating centres of excellence in both Tillsonburg and Ingersoll.

"This will solidify our place in regional health care."

• Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital.




Dec. 17th, 2013






The last time we mobilized significant numbers of people to go to Queen's Park we stopped the closure of smaller community emergency departments - and even entire hospitals- all across the province. We also won the sympathy of a majority of MPPs from all political parties.


Standing up for our local services works. But it has been several years since we have raised this issue. And now the threat to our local services has arisen again.


Help raise the profile of this vital issue in Ontario's Legislature.

Please come out. Car pools, vans and buses are being organized locally in a number of communities but more are needed to make this issue matter and save our services!

Quinte West bus will leave at 8 a.m. from the Ramada Inn at Hwy 401 and Glenn Miller Rd. Please call 613-392-2841 x4489 to register.

Petrolia & Lambton County van(s) will leave at 7:30 a.m. from Arlene's house at 1512 Mallah Drive. Please call Arlene at 519-542-1895 to register.

Wallaceburg & Chatham van(s) will leave at 7 a.m. from the Walmart mall parking lot near the Beer Store. Please call Shirley at 519-677-4460 to register.

Niagara we are arranging pick ups in various locations in Niagara according to the numbers we have registered from each town. Please call Sue at 905-932-1646 to register.

Perth bus will leave at 6:30 a.m. from Barnabe's (grocery store) at the mall. Please call John at 613-285-4048 to register.

Smiths Falls bus will leave at 7 a.m. from Walmart. Please call John at 613-285-4048 to register.

Please let me know if you are coming contact Natalie Mehra at the Ontario Health Coalition at or 416-441-2502.

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8

OntarioHealthCoalition mailing list


May 2, 2013

Attn: Assignment Editor                                                                                              For Immediate Release


Bad News Budget Will Result in Health Care Cuts and Privatization:

Rural Communities Funding & Community Care Claims

Are Merely “Smoke and Mirrors”


Toronto – Ontario’s budget will result in further cuts to all public services, and particularly hospitals, warned Ontario Health Coalition spokespeople as they left the budget lock-up.


A Low Tax, Low Service Province

BUDGET PLAN: Funding for all programs and services will be held to below 1 per cent increase, less than the rate of inflation in many cases.

Ontario already ranks dead-last in funding all public services from roads and transit to education, justice and health care. Why? Because we have the lowest corporate taxes and taxes for the wealthy of almost anywhere in North America. This budget will see Ontario fall further behind.  The result is a burgeoning array of user fees and out-of-pocket costs for residents. Ontario students already have the highest tuitions in the country and user fees are soaring for everything from parks to roads. In health care, we already have excessive user fees for seniors’ health care, sneaky extra-charges from hospitals like exorbitant parking charges, more and more offloading of chronic care costs, and a high out-of-pocket health burden compared to the rest of Canada.  We are paying for the shortfall in public service investment in a myriad of ways.


Cuts to Hospitals, Expanded User Fees for Seniors

BUDGET PLAN: Funding for hospitals will be less than inflation again this year, forcing more and more cuts.  More user fees and means-testing are being introduced for seniors’ drugs.  These cuts and user fees are obscured by Orwellian rhetoric such as “health transformation” and, unbelievably, “improving the fairness of the drug program”.


Hospital base operating funding will be held to zero per cent increase in 2013–14. This means very significant cuts to hospital beds (Ontario already rank lowest in the country for the number of hospital beds per person, by far) offloading and privatization of hospital clinics and services. The government’s claim that these services will be maintained as non-profit services is flagrantly untrue and we will be challenging this with the utmost vigour as they proceed to dismantle our local public community hospitals. The government outlines its explicit plan to continue dismantling our public community hospitals.


For the second year in a row, the government has announced a plan to increase user fees for seniors’ drugs.  Last year, the budget introduced new user fees for the wealthiest 5 per cent of seniors. Today’s budget expands that to “higher-income” seniors.  We have opposed the dismantling of the universality of the drug program, proposing instead that progressive taxation is a fairer and more compassionate way to raise funds for the program. User fees hit people when they are elderly and sick, shifting the burden of cost to the sick and dying whereas a fair tax system does the opposite – it supports people when they are sick and dying.  The slippery slope that we warned of last year is certainly becoming a reality as the government keeps moving to expand user fees and means testing to more and more seniors and threatens to include more services.


Claims about Supporting Rural and Small Communities “Smoke and Mirrors”

BUDGET PLAN: Home and community care increases to be upped to 5 per cent from 4 per cent per year; 2013 increase to be $260 million. Not enough to meet existing backlogs let alone offset the severe hospital cuts all over Ontario. No real money has been provided to protect small and rural hospitals despite rhetoric.


The government’s continual claims that hospital cuts are offset by increases in home care are demonstrably false. Home and community care funding increases, while welcome, are not sufficient to meet existing backlogs. Neither are the services commensurate (you don’t treat a heart attack in home care for example), nor are they sufficient to deal with downloading and offloading of hospital patients. Last fall alone, thousands of patients were wait-listed or cut off of home care because of a funding crunch. This year’s budget sets “targets” (not guarantees) for home care to be provided within 5 days. This does not help all the people deemed ineligible for service, nor is it a guarantee. It will not impact current waits for home nursing,  There is no promise of public reporting.  This year’s budget re-announces the $20 million for rural hospitals from last year’s budget but none of that money flowed during the 2012-13 fiscal year until April when two local announcements were made. None of that money is actually being used to save or protect small and rural hospital services. It is being used for community care. Most of the money was never actually flowed from the Ministry of Health despite the government’s lip-service to smaller and rural communities.


No Measures to Reduce Massive Long-Term Care Wait Lists, Some Money for Long-Term Care

More than 20,000 Ontarians remain on wait lists for placement in long-term care homes. There are no budget measures to address this. Long term care will get a 2 per cent funding increase earmarked to improve direct care. If actually implemented, this is a positive, but will not be sufficient to address the high acuity of hospital and mental health patients downloaded into long-term care.


No Revenue Measures to Save Services and Reduce User Fees and Privatization

The Ontario Health Coalition has recommended a number of revenue measures to help take the pressure off. Chief among these is a proposal from economist Hugh Mackenzie to close the Employer Health Tax loopholes. This measure alone, reports Mackenzie, would improve the fairness of the tax and would generate more than $2 billion per year – enough to stop all the hospital cuts in Ontario and improve services significantly. Instead, the government has tinkered with the Employer Health Tax but in a way that is “revenue neutral” – in other words, the loopholes are not closed and this revenue-generating potential has been ignored in favour of an ideology of hospital dismantling.


On the Positive Side: Some Measures to Help the Most Vulnerable

Those who have been hit hard in the recession, who find themselves among the growing ranks of Ontarians who are ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI) even though they have paid into it, or who have life-long difficulties that make it hard for them to hold a job, will find some help in this budget.

$200 monthly earnings exemption for social assistance and ODSP recipients.

Social assistance rates to increase by 1 per cent.

Unspecified top up for single mothers and fathers on social assistance.

Increase of asset limits for people on social assistance.


Also deserving of praise: home and community care will increase five per cent per year, rather than the four per cent in last year’s budget.


For more information: Natalie Mehra cellular  416-230-6402.

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8

OntarioHealthCoalition mailing list


May 2, 2013

Save Public Medicare! Information

What the Budget will Mean for Health Care


Today, Ontario's 2013-2014 budget will be revealed and the news is grim. Despite having over-stated the deficit (likely quite purposefully) the fact is that the provincial deficit remains high at $9.8 billion and the Ontario government has chosen to stick with the course of AUSTERITY.


"Austerity" is a particularly harsh approach to public budgeting, focused on deep cuts to public services, privatization, job cuts and wage roll-backs for public servants. 


Last week, Finance Minister Charles Sousa reported that his government intends to keep a severe approach to funding public services. Public funding for all programs and services is expected to rise at less than 1 % again this year. Ontario is already dead-last in the country in funding all of the public programs and services that people need, from our parks to roads and transportation; to education, justice and the health care system. This will only make it worse. 


The Toronto Star reports today that hospital funding will see a zero percent increase. This means funding will not keep pace with inflation, this - in real dollar terms - is a cut. The significant hospital service and bed cuts that we have seen for the last year will continue and worsen if we don't stop them. 


Despite the apparent deal between the hospital executives and the Ministry of Health to downplay the extent and impact of the hospital cuts, it is demonstrably false for anybody to claim that the hospital cuts are being offset by funding increases in community care. With last year's budget, Ontario dropped down to the bottom of the country in hospital funding per person. This year's budget will make that even worse. Ontario has - by far - the fewest hospital beds per person of any province in Canada and any comparable industrialized country. Wait-lists for long term care still exceed 20,000 and are months or even years-long. A few months ago, thousands of Ontarians were wait-listed or cut off from home care because funding flowed too slowly to meet their needs. This government's approach to budgeting is to cut services and privatize them while pretending that cuts and privatization are not happening. It is perhaps the worst of both worlds. When your local hospital CEO repeats the messaging that they have been given to understate or sidetrack from the very real hospital cuts in your community, it is imperative that you take them on, send letters to the editor, challenge them in your local media, don't let them get away with it. The same applies for the Health Minister. 


In home care, we are seeing moves towards further privatization. The system is still fragmented, full of redundancies and unnecessary duplication, and tiers upon tiers of administration. While this government pays lip service to public, non-profit health care, it refuses to build new capacity in, and develop a public non-profit home care system like other provinces have. Home care continues to be severely rationed and two-tiered. 


OHC Director Natalie Mehra will be in the budget lock-up this afternoon. When she is released at 4:00 pm we will be sending you our budget analysis. Please also see the article from today's Toronto Star below. For fast facts and figures on health care funding in Ontario and the latest list of hospital cuts across Ontario please click this link:


Toronto Star article: 



OntarioHealthCoalition mailing list


January 23, 2012

Chatham-Kent Hospital CEO Colin Patey made headlines last week when he advocated for for-profit privatization in a speech to the local Kiwanis Club. In his speech, Patey apparently copied almost verbatim the pro-privatization rhetoric being peddled by Jeffrey Simpson (Globe & Mail columnist and author of a new book pushing privatization). Ontario Health Coalition director Natalie Mehra and Ontario Nurses' Association Linda Haslam-Stroud wrote a letter to the editor, printed below, to counter his statements.

Letters to the editor

Hospital CEO Does Chatham Kent Community a Disservic

January 23, 2012

Chatham-Kent Hospital CEO Colin Patey made headlines last week when he advocated for for-profit privatization in a speech to the local Kiwanis Club. In his speech, Patey apparently copied almost verbatim the pro-privatization rhetoric being peddled by Jeffrey Simpson (Globe & Mail columnist and author of a new book pushing privatization). Ontario Health Coalition director Natalie Mehra and Ontario Nurses' Association Linda Haslam-Stroud wrote a letter to the editor, printed below, to counter his statements. 
Letters to the editor

Hospital CEO Does Chatham Kent Community a Disservic

The Chatham Daily News
Wed Jan 23 2013 Page: A4
Section: Editorial/Opinion
Column: Letters to the Editor

Sir: Colin Patey, CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, does this community a disservice when he advocates for private, for-profit health care.

In truth, there is much to be proud of in our public system.

Canadians are living longer than we were just 10 years ago. Every decade of Public Medicare has brought with it gains in lifespan for Canadians. We have reduced the incidence of heart attacks among Canadians, and those who do have heart attacks are living longer.

We have seen a decrease in stroke rates and an increase in cancer survival rates. In fact, we lead the world in cancer outcomes. We have more than doubled the number of hip and knee surgeries that are being done each year. Ontario's health system has reduced wait times across the board for surgeries and other treatments in the last decade. All of this has been accomplished within the single-tier public health care system.

Mr. Patey, who was previously the CEO of a multinational private for-profit hospital corporation, is quoted as opposing the high status of Public Medicare in Canada. With a whiff of contempt he urges Canadian's to "get over" their view that public health care is sacrosanct. He advocates the creation of a market for-profit privatization of the sort his former company sells.

His contempt is misplaced.

Mr. Patey's numbers are also inaccurate. In fact, health care spending has been shrinking, not growing, as a proportion of our provincial budget for more than a decade. By 2011 according to the Ministry of Finance, it was 42% of public spending, not 49%. This has been happening at a time when corporate tax cuts have taken billions out of the public coffers.

He is incorrect as well about how much Canada spends on health care: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S. all spend more than we do. In fact, the industrialized world's most privatized health system -- the U.S. -- costs almost twice what we spend per person and has worse outcomes.

Mr. Patey apparently has selected a very limited smattering of one-sided statistics to support his case, none of which are related to non-profit or for-profit ownership of health care services. Missing from these statistics are all the key indicators in which Canada's -- and Ontario's -- health systems are doing well.

We agree with one of Mr. Patey's points. The cost of drugs is too high. But what Mr. Patey fails to note is that pharmaceuticals are dominated by some of the biggest private for-profit corporations in the world. The high -- and growing -- cost of drugs is a good reason to create a public pharmacare program that would control prices and provide improved equitable access; the opposite of more privatization.

Privatization would diminish access for the people of Chatham-Kent, not improve it. We did a study in 2008 in which we found that the vast majority of private clinics charge their patients for services that are supposed to be covered through our tax-funded public health insurance (OHIP). Most of these for-profit clinics engaged in extra-billing and two-tier health care, charging the provincial public insurance plan and charging extra fees to patients on top.

This is how private clinics maximize their profit-margins. We found that private clinics took scarce specialists and health professionals out of local hospitals lengthening wait times for most while selling expensive care to the well-heeled. Many of the private clinics violate the Canada Health Act.

There is much we can do to improve our health system. For one, Chatham-Kent needs the two public hospitals in Chatham and Wallaceburg -- with comprehensive services -- to serve the local population with quality care close to home.

Ontario funds its hospitals the least well of any province in Canada and we are seeing the impacts of this in overcrowding. Ontario has fewer RNs to population than almost every province in Canada.

We need improved access to long-term care (nursing homes) and home care, covered by the public system. We need to stop the privatization of needed services like physiotherapy. More Ontarians have access to a nurse practitioner, community health centre or family doctor and progress on this front needs to be accelerated.

All of this requires proper funding and organization of the public health care system, not dismantling it by for-profit privatization.

As Canada's largest social program, Public Medicare provides millions of Canadians with access to health care as we age and experience illness. For good reason, the Canada Health Act has endured as a compelling symbol of Canadians' commitment to provide needed health care for each other on equal terms and conditions. It is one of our most cherished social achievements because we are proud of these values, and rightfully so.

Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition

Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, President, Ontario Nurses' Association

© 2013 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved


Posted  June 5, 2012

To: Ontario Health Coalition members and contacts

From: Natalie Mehra, director 

The minority McGuinty government has forged an agreement with the opposition parties to pass the provincial budget. You can make an oral or written submission to the government's standing committee for the budget, but they have given scant notice. See below for the details.

The Deal Struck between McGuinty and the Opposition

This is a minority government and McGuinty has to strike an agreement with the opposition in order to get it passed. Otherwise his government would fall. But the deal so far between McGuinty and the opposition will not stop the cuts to needed health care services that will result from the budget.

The NDP's main budget change has already passed as a motion in the Legislature. It places a very small surtax on individuals earning $500,000 or more. We support this, in fact, we would support more measures to restore balance and fairness to our tax system. However, the government will not use this money to protect services that people need. It is all going to pay down the deficit. Other "savings" (debt servicing etc) from this measure will be distributed to three things: child care; a 1% increase to disability and social assistance, and $20 million for small and rural hospitals. However, the money for the small and rural hospitals is apparently not going to preserve services, but rather to "find efficiencies" (meaning cuts and restructuring).

The NDP has also insisted on public hearings for the budget bill, something that we support. McGuinty has agreed to only 4 1/2 days of public hearings, but only in Toronto(!) and with almost no notice to allow people to prepare their submissions. The details are below. These will be the only hearings on the budget as the government did not hold pre-budget hearings this year. The process is appalling. (There was no debate and no revelation of the plans for major cuts and privatization in last fall's election, the government did not hold pre-budget hearings, and now the only hearings on the budget bill are perfunctory, with practically no notice, and in Toronto only. People who cannot get into Toronto to appear will have to join by teleconference -- sorry to the second class citizens across this province...)

The Conservatives' only budget change is a demand that the government set up a standing committee to investigate the corruption at Ornge. McGuinty has agreed to extend the Ornge hearings for extra dates. We support a full and proper investigation.

When are amendments due and when will the Budget Bill pass?

The Budget Bill (Bill 55) is scheduled to pass by June 25 after which the Legislature will close for the summer.

The opposition parties have to have their amendments in by 6 pm on Tuesday, June 12.

What does this mean for health care?

McGuinty's agreement with the opposition parties does not in any way allay any of our fears about impending health cuts as a result of underfunding. When the budget passes, hospital funding will be too little to protect existing services, outpatient clinics will be under serious threat, and seniors' services in hospitals, long-term care homes, and home care will be under even more pressure than we have seen in the last few years. Using the provincial auditor's figures as a basis, hospitals will have to carve >$1 billion out of their funded programs over the next three years; OHIP will have to carve out> $1.5 billion; long-term care funding will neither ameliorate care levels nor will it address the 30,000+ people on wait lists for long-term care beds (MOHLTC stats); home care increases previously reported are not for home care alone, they are going to a whole range of services, so home care backlogs and rationing will continue unabated.

This is not the end, it is the beginning of the fight back

We will push for amendments, but we are also planning to ratchet up our fight back to protect existing services and address the serious backlogs --- and stop privatization -- as we move through the summer into the fall. There is always funding available to protect services if we fight hard enough. We have succeeded time and time again in stopping and rolling back cuts and privatization. We have just travelled across Ontario priming key activisits and preparing for the fight-back. We will succeed again -- with all of you.

Special Urgent Warning: The Budget Bill's Privatization Clause

In addition, it turns out that the McGuinty government has included a sweeping new power for cabinet and a "Privatization" Minister to order the privatization of a significant range of Ontario's public services under Schedule 28 of the Budget Bill (Bill 55). Despite the same tired rhetoric from government that these privatizations will be cheaper and better (where have we heard that before?!) in truth, this power to privatization of heretofore publicly-controlled and delivered services by a stroke of a pen, is unprecendented, holds dangerous implications for further privatizations under trade agreements, and does not serve the public interest. McGuinty has no mandate to privatize our public service, having run multiple elections promising to uphold public services. A future Tim Hudak government could use this to privatize our health insurance system, our hospitals and a whole range of services. The threat is grave and we must stop it.

We will provide you with:

- A briefing on the Budget Bill (Bill 55) including the privatization clause. I will send this to you tonight.

- An action package - help to write a letter to McGuinty, a petition, actions you can take to protect local health care services

- Information on how to make a deputation (oral presentation) to the Standing Committee hearings on the Budget Bill (immediately below here)

- Our submission on Bill 55 (to be emailed to you tomorrow)

How to appear before the hearings:

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will meet to consider Bill 55, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact and amend various Acts.

The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Toronto on June 6, 7, 8, 11 and 12, 2012.

Interested people who wish to be considered to make an oral presentation on Bill 55 should contact the Clerk of the Committee by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 8, 2012.

Those who do not wish to make an oral presentation but wish to comment on the Bill may send written submissions to the Clerk of the Committee at the address below by 12:00 noon on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

An electronic version of the Bill is available on the Legislative Assembly website at:

To book a spot to make an oral presentation, or if you want to send in a written presentation, please contact:

Valerie Quioc Lim

Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
Room 1405, Whitney Block/Bureau 1405, édifice Whitney
Queen's Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2
Telephone/Téléphone: (416) 325-7352
Facsimile/Télécopieur: (416) 325-3505
TTY/ATS: (416) 325-3538

Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8


Thursday, April 26, 2012


                                                           A new N0-BED hospital?

SOS continues to fight for hospital beds!

A No-Bed facility, as proposed by the CKHA W1 !magine project does not meet the needs for the residents serviced by Sydenham District Hospital.

As far as SOS is concerned, also voiced by many residents, the !magine project with No-Beds, fails the catchment community of Sydenham District Hospital.

Background Information

For those present at the January 11th   SOS meeting at the OAKS Inn in Wallaceburg,  three options were presented. They were also  posted on the SOS Website (

Option A: Wallaceburg would have a Residential Campus of Care Model with an Emergency Dept., 5 Acute beds and 20-25 Complex Continuing Care beds.

Option B: Wallaceburg becomes a Primary Care / Community Care Model with an Emergency Department, 5 Acute beds BUT the  LOSS of  20-25 Complex Continuing Care beds. In reality, it’s a loss of 45 beds which is what we presently have at SDH.

Option C:  Renovation of the existing facility of SDH.

In spite of everything that was voiced at this meeting, the CKHA Tri-Board totally ignored the community.  On Tuesday, January 31st , 2012 the CKHA Tri-board made their decision to  approve the No-Bed Option for Wallaceburg. For Sydenham District Hospital, the option chosen by CKHA is Option B which is  labelled as the W1 project includes an Emergency Department with only 5 Acute beds.

For our readers, these 5 beds are considered as observation beds for the Emergency Department.  As of April 2012, SDH Emergency Department has a total of 5 Acute beds in 3 rooms.  Both men and women are often placed in one of the two rooms which have  2 beds. 

BUT, what about our 45 Complex Continuing Care beds that SDH presently has?  They are excluded in the CKHA !magine W1 option. They are GONE ! No beds for us! But who will be getting them?  Chatham of course. Chatham will get between 50 -75 beds in their bed requirement.

On Tuesday, February 28th, CKHA !magine committee presented their project for a $79 million new facility for Wallaceburg to the ESLHIN. This new proposed facility will be a one-storey primary care/community care model.

What has transpired since our SOS community meeting on  January 11, 2012?

             ·         SOS was misled by CKHA with the initial renovation/ replacement cost which were presented on January 5th to    4 members of the SOS executive. We were told that a replacement cost would be approximately $15 million.

·         But as soon as SOS presented these figures at the Wallaceburg Oaks Inn  on January 11 meeting, CKHA was quick to contradict the figures. Out of thin air, CKHA stated that the Renovation Option would cost closer to $30-35 million because what they had quoted was for replacements: i.e. window for window, brick for brick etc …

To this date, CKHA has never provided proof that SDH is falling apart and the cost to renovate would be in the neighbourhood of 30-35 million. The Stantec Report  (2005) has not been officially revisited. No new tendered and unbiased reports on the condition of SDH have been presented. CKHA’s arguments are that the rooms are too small, the cost of removing the asbestos would be enormous, the ceilings are too low, present building doesn’t meet current codes, millions of dollars would be needed to replace the windows, etc.  And, of course, they are not willing to seriously consider it.

·         SOS  admits that renovations are not funded at the same rate as new construction.  New constructions receive approximately 80 % Ministry funding while renovations are at the expense of the CKHA.   It doesn’t make much sense to spend that much money on an old building if we need to support the CKHA and help raise $30-35 million.


·         SOS executive met with SDH community representatives to devise a plan of action.  Their reaction was unanimous.  A hospital with NO  BEDS is unacceptable. !magine project W1 cannot and will not be supported for Sydenham District Hospital.

·         An SOS vice chair’s  letter to the editor of the Courier Press was published on February 29th.  Everyone who has an interest in SDH was invited to make their voice heard by sending comments, opinions and suggestions through the SOS website

What action is SOS going to take now?

·         A public meeting has been scheduled for 6:30 pm on Thursday, May 3rd at the UAW Hall, 88 Elm Street, Wallaceburg.

·         SOS  will outline the course of action that needs to be taken by the community:

1.       Take all necessary steps through ESLHIN, the Premier of Ontario and Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, support from our local MPP so that the CKHA !magine proposal W1  be improved.

RationaI:  !magine proposal W1  has failed to receive community support.


2.       That the Residential Campus of Care Model includes 31 Acute/Medicine beds. There are 5 beds already assigned to the Emergency Department. We presently have a hospital with a potential of 45 beds. Unfortunately, the medical floor has been closed. We request a restoration of a minimum of 31 beds which includes 5 beds dedicated to the Emergency Department.  Looking ahead at the future needs of SDH,  these 31 beds are to be  designated as:

Medicine / Intensive Care / Surgery/ Paediatrics/ Family Medicine  and Complex Continuing Care.


1.       Sydenham District  Hospital services a large population which includes residents from Wallaceburg, WIFN,  Chatham, St. Clair Township, Dresden, Grande Pointe, Pain Court and many more  smaller communities.   We need and deserve a full service rural hospital. We must make sure that health care needs of SDH catchment area are met in Wallaceburg,  not only in the present but also for the next 50 years.  If provincial funding is to be provided for a new hospital, this needs to be a top priority.


2.       SDH is funded separately from PGH and St. Joseph in Chatham.  In 2010, the revenue allocation Sydenham District Hospital was $21,522,244 and $22,430,695 for 2011.  According to the Legal Alliance Agreement, that money should be for the operation of health services at SDH.  Every year, CKHA financial statements declare that SDH receives 16.7 % of their overall budget. A negative of $121,347 is reported for 2011.  How much of the $22,430,695 has actually been spent for SDH?  Just look at the building. Doesn’t it tell you a different story?  So where has the money gone?  It’s called CREATIVE accounting.  It goes into the operation of the CKHA’s two Chatham hospitals and the administrative salaries.

3.       If these millions of dollars were allocated to SDH, the funds would adequately pay for the difference in the Wallaceburg: Residential Campus of Care Model  with 31 Acute Care beds.

Purpose of the meeting.

The purpose of the SOS public meeting is not to discuss the three options but how we  move ahead to express our needs for a hospital with a minimum of 31 beds.

How will this be accomplished?

·         Letters  to the ESLHIN will be available for you to sign. We are requesting their support for a hospital with a minimum of 31 beds. 

·         Mailing  and email addresses will be provided for you to send your personal comments to the ESLHIN, Premier of Ontario, Minister of Health and Long Term Care and local MPP.

SOS needs your presence, your involvement and your support on Thursday, May 3rd at 6:30 at the UAW Hall, 88 Elm Street, Wallaceburg.

For more information, please email Conrad Noel  at or or log on to the SOS website at

Respectfully submitted on behalf of your SOS executive.


To:    Sydenham District Hospital Community
From:  Conrad Noel, SOS Vice chairperson
Re:    Where do we go from here?
Date:  February 7, 2012

SOS executive wants to hear from you in regards to CKHA's decision to move forward with the Primary Care / Community Care Model for Sydenham District Hospital. 

The renovations of SDH has two strikes against us: 1) CKHA will not consider RENOVATIONS as an option;  2) Ministry of Health and Long Term Care will not fund renovations at the same rate as they presently fund new construction.

CKHA's option to move forward with the Primary Care /Community Care model does not include Complex Continuing Care beds.  In my opinion, a hospital without the CCC beds would become a glorified and costly Campus ER. 

What are your thoughts?  Do we need another community meeting? Would you attend if we organized a meeting later on this month?  Are we going to give in or give up? Are you supportive of the CKHA decision?

Your SOS executive needs to hear from you. Email your thoughts to:  Responses will be posted on our SOS Website and a follow up will be elaborated.

Posted: February 7, 2012

The SOS Website has received many inquiries in relation to the possible Lab closure at SDH. This is the email written to Colin Patey, CKHA CEO.


 I read with interest the newspaper article in the Chatham    Daily News Re: 'Burg lab to stay open.

The reporter paraphrased your comments : But he said at this point there is no recommendation to close the

lab or curtail services  BUT isn't there a budget to purchase two machines for SDH : 1) Stratus  & 2) STAT?

In the future, are these two machines to replace  the 3 existing machines in the Lab?   If yes, that would curtail

services because the Medical Lab Technologists would be replaced by two small machines and all the blood

analysis  would be done in Chatham.   If no, are these two small machines to be used by the ER

nurses only when the Medical Lab Technologist finishes her  shift at 23:00?  That would make sense to me.

In the same paraphrased sentence: But he said  AT THIS POINT.  At this point raises a red flag for me. I ask

myself: " What's behind this comment?  What are they planning in the future?"   In my past career I was

trained to read in  between the lines and ponder exactly what was said. Maybe, you could clarify: AT THIS



Conrad Noel

SOS Vice chairperson.


Colin's response to my email Re: Possible lab closure at SDH.

Subject: RE: Lab services in WB

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 11:38:46 -0500



I think we all appreciate your concerns around access to lab services at SDH. There is no recommendation to close the lab and, given that only now are we initiating our 2012/13 and 2013/14 budget planning process, there is currently no budget to purchase the two machines you have cited.

Although I understand and appreciate your close analysis of the

coverage, you have rightly noted that this was not a quote and rather the reporters interpretation of my response, which by the way was exactly the same as the one I provided to Jeff.

To both the media and Jeff, here is what I offered as next steps: "After sharing this information with staff and receiving feedback, the next steps include the development of an implementation plan which naturally include budgetary considerations, procurement options, recruitment challenges, shared service models, and everything management must do to generate action to contain risk, improve safety, accommodate new regulations and standards, and emerging trends to name a few of the considerations such decisions require."

Colin Patey

President & CEO

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, PO Box 2030

Chatham, ON N7M 5L9

Tel: 519-437-6000 Fax: 519-436-2522



Posted February 1, 2012


Jeff Wesley's thoughts on the CKHA decision last night's CKHA decision to approve the Primary Care option for SDH.


SOS is pleased that the option chosen includes a 24/7/365 emergency

department for the communities served by SDH. The potential loss of our

emergency department was why SOS came into being and the communities should be very proud of their efforts to save this important health care service – the communities spoke up, showed up and got their message heard.

We must now monitor this project as it goes forward so that changes are not made to this option that will negatively impact the community.

SOS is disappointed that the no long term care bed option was chosen – this

could impact the 24/7/365 emergency department. SOS does recognize that the province is moving towards having these long term care beds in a non hospital setting – whether that is achievable or not remains to be seen.****

Finally SOS is disappointed that the renovation option was not given a more sincere look by CKHA. The cost of the option chosen is not only a very large price tag for communities served by SDH but a very large price tag for all of Chatham-Kent. Given the state of the local economy I am not

convinced that CK can afford a project worth half a billion dollars. Less expensive options should have been given a closer look.****




FFebruary 1, 2012


 Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Marks Project Milestone


with Tri-Board Approval  of Stage 1 Proposal


Chatham-Kent:  February

1, 2012 – At last night`s meeting, the Tri-Board of Directors for

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) approved its Stage 1 Proposal for the

redevelopment of both of its facilities in Chatham and Wallaceburg. 



“I`m very proud of the leadership the Tri-Board has demonstrated in

planning for the future of hospital care in Chatham-Kent; this is an important

milestone for our organization and our community,” said Tri-Board Executive

Committee Chair, Wayne Schnabel.  “We have shown our commitment to providing our community

with access to a full range of services, including emergency services in Chatham and Wallaceburg.”


In its !magine Stage 1 Proposal, innovative and flexible options that consider

coordination and integration, where appropriate, with other healthcare

providers were preferred. “We`re committed to creating facilities that are

sustainable to meet the needs of our aging population yet flexible enough to provide

the services our community’s next generation will need in 30 or 40 years,”

added Schnabel.


The preferred option for Chatham is to a single-phase 6-storey,

northeast extension and a 1-storey podium extension to the north of the St.

Joseph’s wing of the Chatham Campus. In Wallaceburg, the preferred option is a

single-storey freestanding facility, with a full service Emergency Department,

which establishes the cornerstone for the “campus of care”. This option also provides

a cluster of complementary healthcare services to draw people primarily for

ambulatory and wellbeing appointment-based services (primary care).


Through its community engagement process, CKHA`s Tri-Board and !magine

Project Team heard a number of key messages, including concerns around costs

and potential changes in services.  “We’ve

been engaging the community for over six months and heard from the community

that they are concerned about the project`s costs and we are too,” Schnabel

said.  “There are a number of ways to fund

the local share and the Tri-Board, through the !magine Steering Committee, will

look into every possibility, including fundraising, mortgages, private-public

partnerships and funding from local government. As a community that values access

to quality, safe healthcare in Chatham-Kent, we cannot fail before we begin

because that is a cost we really can`t afford. ”


CKHA will submit its Stage 1 Proposal to the Erie St. Clair Local Health

Integration Network (LHIN) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

(MOHLTC) in February. “This is an exciting time to be part of CKHA and an

exciting milestone for our community,” concluded Schnabel.



Contact; Wayne  Schnabel



Tri-Board, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance



Fact sheet - Preferred Options


Rationale  for Direction:


§  Meet the emergent care and future needs of our community


§  Most fiscally responsible and possible options  for our community


§  Supports the delivery of safe and quality  care across both campuses


§  Maximizes in-patient bed usage


§  Provides efficient use of resources across  the Alliance


§  Provides Wallaceburg a sustainable primary care model by creating a ‘Campus of Care’ that

 brings together complementary healthcare services


§  Quickest route to re-building in Wallaceburg   with an expedited implementation plan

that could see a new facility built 2-years faster than originally anticipated


§  Offers flexible facility designs that can be supported through innovative financing


§  Aligns with LHIN & MOHLTC strategies



 Wallaceburg Campus

§  Construction of a single storey single-phase

free-standing facility and subsequent demolition of the existing building. 


§  This option accommodates emergency services,

ambulatory and primary care and diagnostic services in a new building, with

inpatient care accommodated at the Chatham Campus.


§  Relocation of the hospital facility to an area of the site, not designated as flood plain.

§  Through the primary care/non-residential

facility option, establish the cornerstone for the “campus of care” model that

provides a cluster of complementary healthcare services to draw people

primarily for ambulatory and wellbeing appointment-based services (primary


§  Total project cost of $77 M (includes construction,  operating costs, etc.)

§  Local share requirement:  $13.5 M at Wallaceburg; $2.8 M for Chatham;  Total $16.3 M.

§  Implementation timeline: 4 years


From: Natalie Mehra, Director, Ontario Health Coalitio

Re:  Minister of Health's speech today

Date:  Jan. 20, 2012


Minister of Health Deb Matthews made two speeches today at exclusive

business and executive audiences to launch a new round of health care

reform. The OHC held a media conference and issued a media release last

Friday to protest the poor process. The media release from Friday is here:

In the past, governments have issued "White Papers" prior to major policy

changes. There was opportunity for public input and proper legislative

debate. Policy changes (such as health reform) are supposed to be created

by legislation, with public hearings and healthy public debate. The

McGuinty government has sidestepped all of these processes with the

Drummond Commission and this launch of new health reform. Moreover, the

government's messaging is manipulative, sidetracking from the major cuts

they are planning.

*Content of the Minister's speech:*

Minister Deb Matthews announced a few new initiatives and a number of

re-announcements including:

   - 200 family health teams will be under the LHINs (to date, physicians

   were excluded from the LHINs' powers)

   - More hospital services will be moved out to specialized surgical

   centres (non-profit).

   - A "patient-centred" funding model to be introduced. The Minister

   provided no details. (This could be H-BAM which would be fine as long as it is evaluated based on whether population need for care is being met.

   However, it might be the opposite: fee-for-service hospital funding 

which we oppose because it leads to competitive bidding, raises costs, 

reduces the scope of health care services, leads to privatization, and 

consolidates services into fewer sites thereby reducing the scope of 

services in local communities. Britain has adopted this destructive 

funding system and it  helped push a number of hospitals into bankruptcy).

   - Shift ALC patients into home care (this is just a cover for cutting

   hospital services as less than 200 of 4,000 ALC patients are assessed as

   being appropriate for home care)

   - She announced several of other items including continued progress on

   drug reform.

*Key Issues:*

Many of the government's messages leading into the Drummond Report release

(which is expected any time now) distract from the real issues.

Since just before the provincial election, health funding projections have

been ratcheted down three times. The latest recommendation from

Don Drummond is that health funding be limited to 2.5% -- well below

requirements of population growth, aging, and inflation. This means

significant cuts. In fact, Ontario's Auditor General issued a report in

June. At that time the government was projecting 3% health care funding

increases. At that rate, the auditor reported that hospitals would have to

carve out $1 billion in addition to wage freezes over the next two

years. OHIP would have to find $1.5 billion in "savings" over two years.

Home and long-term care would not offset the hospital cuts, he warned.

He noted that patients would not be able to be moved to home care and long

term care because home care projected increases would be 1/3 of what they

have been for the last 8 years and those for long term care will be half of

what they have been. (Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, The

Auditor Generals Review of the 2011 Pre-Election Report on Ontarios

Finances, June 28, 2011.)


The bottom line is that major cuts are coming and the government has not

revealed what these cuts will be. Media are not asking the questions -- ie.

how many hospital beds are they targetting for closure; will they be

closing rural emergency departments; how much worse will the 24,000 person

wait list for long-term care homes get; how can they claim that home care

will take all these hospital patients when there are already 10,000 people

on wait lists and care is more strictly rationed than ever?


Our key message is this: we need the real answers to the real questions

about what services this government is planning to cut. We do not buy

claims that home and long-term care will take the cut hospital patients.

Over the last 20 years of restructuring, home and long-term care have never

kept pace with the hospital cuts. Moreover, as the provincial Auditor

General reports, government projections for home and long-term care funding

are inadequate to meet current needs, let alone another round of downloaded

hospital patients.


We believe it is important that physicians be integrated into the health

system. But the LHINs legislation is deeply flawed. The government delayed

the required review of the LHINs until after the election (and there has

been no word since) in a totally undemocratic amendment that they snuck

into an omnibus budget. The LHINs are not required to conduct the primary

function of any public health care system: to measure and try to meet

population need for care. Their mandate is instead to find endless

opportunities to restructure -- including merging, amalgamating, and

centralizing health services. This mandate continues to be deeply


Similarly, wile we support the notion that specialized surgical centres be

non-profit, we know that such hospital restructuring can cost a fortune

(the Harris-era restructuring cost more than $3.9 billion according to the

Provincial Auditor General - see Provincial Auditor General Reports 1999

and 2001) taking money away from care and worsening service. Moreover, this

proposal is totally Toronto-centred. In a province with the geography and

population distribution of Ontario, consolidating services into fewer

highly-specialized sites, worsens access, forcing patients who are mainly

elderly to travel from place to place to place to get care, and moving care

services out of local communities, further risking the viability of smaller

and rural hospitals.

*There Are Alternatives:*

Though the govenrment has not asked and is not conducting any appropriate

consultations, we will be releasing a report with alternatives in the next

month and will conduct our own consultations on progressive health care

reform that is based on providing for the needs of Ontarians under the

principles of the Canada Health Act.


Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305

Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8



OntarioHealthCoalition mailing list


Nov. 29


Subject: [OHC] OHC Director Natalie Mehra on TVO Agenda and CHCH


Save Public Medicare! Information

To: OHC Members and Supporters


Ontario Health Coalition director Natalie Mehra will appear on CHCH TV today at 5:30 pm. She will be debating Mark Rovere,the Fraser Institute's associate director of health policy research and co-author of a new report calling for Canada to "suspend" the Canada Health Act for five years to enable the privatization of health care across Canada. She will explain how privatization would dismantle the fairness and equity in Canada's universal single-tier health care. She will explain how private clinics charge patients user fees that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and while they increase costs they reduce access to care for average Canadians.


She will also be appearing on TVO's Agenda with Steve Paiken tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 8:00 and 11:00 pm, on a panel about "Patient-Centred Care". The show will be posted to the TVO website at:


Don't forget to renew your membership before the end of the year, if you haven't already. Membership forms are available here:


Thank you,

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8
OntarioHealthCoalition mailing list



Nov. 28

Battle brews over access to hospital records

Nicki Thomas Staff Reporter

Both the provincial Liberals and Conservatives are seeking to scale back a bill that proponents say lifts the “code of silence” around quality of care in hospitals.

Bill 122 is intended to increase transparency by bringing hospitals under provincial freedom of information laws. That would allow access to hospital records, including medical errors, expenses and use of consultants.

But motions put forward by the government and opposition last week seek to exempt some records from the proposed legislation, known as the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act.

The amendments ask that records created when reviewing medical errors or assessing risk be protected from freedom of information requests.

Those in favour of the amendments argue that access to those records could have a chilling effect.

Health care professionals might be reluctant to fully participate in quality of care reviews if they felt “records of their frank and open discussion could be made public,” the Ontario Hospital Association argued in their submission.

The Ontario Medical Association and the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada, an insurance provider for health authorities, also lobbied for the changes.

“We ask pointed questions; we require critical self-appraisal and brutal honesty; and as a result, hospital documents are created,” Polly Stevens of the HIROC said in a committee meeting last week.

“All it would take would be one request in one hospital, and participation in our programs and, really, other quality programs, may diminish.”

Cybele Sack, an advocate for patients’ rights, said that scenario is remedied by simply blacking out names from documents made public.

“The code of silence isn’t protecting patients. Transparency protects patients,” she said.

Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, agrees.

“The public has a right to know if there are major issues of concern,” she said.

The Service Employees International Union also objects to the amendments.

The bill will be reviewed at a committee meeting at Queen’s Park on Monday.


Posted Nov. 20
From: Ontario Health Coalition
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 9:02 AM
Subject: [OHC] Auditor General report on consultants - OHC response today

Save Public Medicare! Information

October 19, 2010 For Immediate Release

Health Coalition Responds to Auditor General’s Report on LHINs and Consultants

Toronto – Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter is releasing his report on use of consultants by the Ontario Ministry of Health, LHINs and hospitals. The Ontario Health Coalition responded with its own findings on overuse, exorbitant costs and redundancy in the use of consultants by the LHINs and the Ministry.

The coalition receives frequent complaints about the overuse and exorbitant costs of consultants. Some hospitals have had repeated “peer reviews” followed by LHIN consultant reviews, followed by provincial appointed investigators or supervisors. The processes are redundant and expensive; each time a review is done more money is taken away from patient care.

Last spring, the coalition conducted cross-province hearings on the future of small and rural hospitals. More than 1, 150 people attended the hearings and more than 480 written and oral submissions were received. The coalition’s expert panel wrote a report and recommendations, based on the input we received, including an outline of their findings on the misuse of consultants.

“It is widely observed that the Ministry and the LHINs misuse consultants at great expense to the public, in addition to having growing staff teams and high executive salaries. The public sees the use of consultants as unnecessary and their costs as excessive. It is understood that they are taking scarce resources away from needed health care services,” stated Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “Consultants are not seen as independent and have little public credibility. In several areas consultant reports were criticized for misinformation and inaccuracies. In all cases, these reports were seen as biased or their conclusions are believed to be pre-determined by the LHIN. Our expert panel was dismayed to learn of the volume of reports produced by exorbitantly costly and unaccountable consultants rather than by professional accountable (and reasonably paid) public servants.”

Key Findings in the OHC Report:

“Almost without exception, the public cannot see value in the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). In every area of the province, the LHINs lack credibility and support. In many areas, the LHINs are the object of extreme public anger. Witnesses conveyed a litany of grievances relating to poor planning, poor management and misspending, including:

* Poor service coordination and worsening gaps in access to care.
* Erratic, inconsistent and unprincipled decision-making.
* Poor public accountability and manipulative or non-existent consultation processes.
* High costs of LHINs compounded by worsening access to hospital care.
* Overuse and misuse of consultants and high cost to the public.
* Biased or inaccurate consultant reports that lack credibility.
* Failure to plan for population need and evaluate consequences of decisions.
* Failure to investigate and respond appropriately to serious complaints.
* Unqualified board members who are seen as political appointees.
* Lack of process to protect local donations and bequests from expropriation.
* Increasing privatization and total lack of democracy.

This panel found all of these observations to be supported by evidence.”

Key recommendations by the OHC expert panel to address this situation include:

1. Impose a hiring freeze on the use of consultants by the LHINs and curtail the use of consultants by the Ministry of Health.

Create a plan, started prior to the next election to plan for and restore the capacity of the professional civil service to conduct planning and evaluation functions in an accountable way.

2. Place a moratorium on hiring PR firms and curb the use of communications programs in the LHINs.

Health care dollars should not be used for political purposes. Communications programs should be limited to functions necessary to inform communities about services and gather public input for planning and evaluation purposes only.

3. Create policy that sets out clear expectations for transparency and public release of information.

Hospital financial data and planning documents should not be withheld from the public who have built, paid for, and need our local hospitals.

4. Contracts involving public funds should not be veiled in secrecy and must be exempted from “commercial confidentiality” provisions.

If the public cannot scrutinize the use of public money based on a notion of “commercial confidentiality” then private companies should not be involved in the sector.

5. Take real measures to contain exorbitant hospital executive costs and set reasonable expectations for remuneration. This cannot be done through new bonus systems.

In many cases hospital executive salaries are in excess of ten times the average wage of the community and are increasing faster than can be justified by any measure. Executives are already handsomely recompensed for their services and do not need “bonus” systems to perform to expectations. Provincial policy makers should recognize that so-called performance measures that support cutting hospital services while giving bonuses to executives will stoke further public outrage.

The full report can be found at:

For more information: Natalie Mehra (office) 416-441-2502.

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8

Nov. 13

PRHC unit limits visitors after outbreak 


A germ outbreak at Peterborough Regional Health Centre has caused the hospital to restrict visitors in one of its main medical units, hospital officials announced on Friday.


An unusually large number of cases of patients with three different germs have been found in one of the hospital's main medical units, where there are 36 patients, said Dr. John Vlasschaert, the head of the hospital's physicians' committee on infection control.

Vlasschaert called it a coincidence and an anomaly that clostridium difficile (C. difficile), methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) have been found in a large number of patients in the same hospital unit.

"It's not usual that you would see the three organisms coming together like that, but they're all transmitted in the same way," he said.

Starting on Friday, the hospital began restricting visiting to patients in the B3 medical unit to two immediate family members at a time.

Patients with one of the three germs have been put in isolation with one patient per room, Vlasschaert said.

"Anyone entering or leaving the room has to put on personal protective garments... gowns, gloves to make sure that they are not going to bring infection in or take infection out," he said.

There have been seven cases linked to the C. difficile outbreak that the hospital declared on Oct. 22. No new cases have been identified over the past 10 years and the hospital will consider declaring the outbreak over next week.

The hospital declared the MRSA outbreak on Nov. 5. There have been 11 cases linked to the outbreak. If no new cases are identified when screening is done on Nov. 15, the hospital will declare the outbreak over.

The hospital is now investigating two cases of VRE. All the patients in the unit will be tested for the third organism on Monday.

The hospital is still open for business, Peterborough Regional Health Centre president and CEO Ken Tremblay said, stressing that the restrictions are isolated to the B3 medical unit.

"We're taking this seriously. Clearly infection control is a paramount concern to hospitals," he said. "We're trying to get to the bottom of how this outbreak can be contained... We are investigating the source of these things."

Tremblay added that the outbreak isn't connected to recent staffing cuts at the hospital that are a part of its plan to balance its budget.

"No, this is a discreet activity that is independent of that. While there was a retirement in this area back in July, the staffing and the protocols and all of the things that are in place remain constant," he said.

The hospital is investigating the outbreak, Vlasschaert said.

"It can come from the community. These germs are becoming more prevalent in the community all the time. It can start in the hospital and some of these infections undoubtedly did start in the hospital," he said.

The hospital is looking at hand hygiene measures, environmental cleaning and isolation practices, infection prevention and control and environmental services manager Margaret Jay said.

Article ID# 2844877



Mike Persyn,
May 22, 2010, 10:05 AM