Within hours of being sworn in as Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott provided a small example of how the “efficiencies” that some are equating with draconian cutbacks can be achieved relatively painlessly. By tinkering with the so-called OHIP “Plus” plan, Elliott has left the intention of the plan intact—namely that no one under 25 should be without supplementary health coverage for prescriptions, while saving the taxpayers some money. Under the hastily cobbled-together Wynne plan the government program covered all under 25-ers—even those who were already covered by parent’s insurance. That made the plan more of a gift to insurance companies than to young Ontarians. Under the revised plan the government will become the second insurer, behind any existing private insurer. That seems to be a sensible approach. At a time when resources are scarce it is important that our social safety net funds go to those who actually need the assistance.

Municipal Severance needs review

For the dozens of Liberal MPPs who were defeated last month, there is not a lot of good news. But one comfort they will realize is that they will be receiving severance packages which will bridge them in to the next phase of their lives. Ontario politicians get severance equivalent to six months pay for less than four years service, one year’s pay for more than four years and less than eight years, and 18 month’s pay for more than eight years service . This gives a former member an opportunity to lick their wounds for a while and then get on with finding new opportunities. We think it is reasonable. We also think something similar should exist at the municipal level, if for no other reason than to encourage some new blood.

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

12 Comments to: Early example of “finding efficiencies”

  1. Marshall

    July 17th, 2018

    Next up in shoring up the social safety net: No OHIP, pension benefits, or other “entitlements” for the top 10% of income earners.

    And maybe no lavish patronage appointments for partisan cronies and family friends.

    On the 2018 Sunshine List, former PC president and Ford loyalist Dr. Reuben Devlin was snarfing up more than half a billion dollars annually. Now, Devlin’s double-dipping $348K bonus salary (which gets on top of a six-figure public pension) is almost as much as the Premier and the Minister of Health make, combined.

    Reply
    • jim graham

      July 18th, 2018

      half a billion annually? Were you in charge of the NDP’s election budget? Ooopsey.
      Do a little research, double check those figures, and check your insipid bias at the door.

      Reply
      • Marshall

        July 18th, 2018

        Not insipid bias. A typo from a stray finger (b/n/m), corrected.

        Some prteliminary research:

        “In 1986 while an orthopedic surgeon at York County Hospital, Devlin was complaining loudly about a shortage of hospital beds not only where he practices, but across the province. But even though he was a key Tory power broker during the Mike Harris era, he had little apparent influence in reducing wait times or hospital crowding.

        In 2006-07, Humber River Regional Hospital, which he headed, had the second worst death rate in Canada and the worst in the Greater Toronto Area. At that time Devlin had been head of the hospital for almost seven years.

        In 2009, emergency wait times at two Humber River sites in northwest Toronto averaged nearly 23 hours and 21 hours respectively during a one-month period, extremely high measures by any standard.

        In 2014, the Ontario Nursing Association warned patients that two of Humber River’s busy emergency departments were “dangerous places for those seeking care” because of chronic understaffing.

        Also, Devlin oversaw the closing of three hospitals, replacing them with one public-private “digital-first” hospital at a cost of $1.76 billion. The new facility has failed to meet the demands of the local population. Last fall, the Wynne government was forced to reopen one of the closed sites to deal with the crowding issue.”

        https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/07/11/fords-cynical-display-of-political-patronage.html

        Reply
        • Marshall

          July 18th, 2018

          “The Teamsters Union would like to inform the public and fellow hospital workers of several serious health and safety problems at the new Humber River Hospital.

          Since the hospital’s opening last October, some 900 workers represented by Teamsters Canada Local Union 419 have noticed and documented dozens of hygiene issues such as the failure to use proper disinfectants in rooms and public spaces.

          Some of the issues documented by the workers and the Union:

          • Traces of blood, urine and other bodily fluids can be found throughout the hospital, usually on the floor.
          • Workers had no mops, brooms or adequate cleaning supplies during the first ten days after the hospital’s opening.
          • Feces, urine and other bodily fluids can’t be cleaned properly because the micro-fibre mops aren’t made to wash certain surfaces. Furthermore, there is no vacuum cleaner in some departments.
          • Tap water is used to clean some departments because workers lack proper cleaning products.
          • Cleaning products used in some departments are not approved for use in hospitals.
          • Trays with leftovers are left accumulating in certain areas.
          • Meals are occasionally served below 74 degrees Celsius, despite safety standards, which could lead to food-borne illness.
          • Patients sometimes cannot get hot meals.
          • Mismanagement has created food shortages resulting in some patients not being served bread or milk with their bedside meals.
          • Housekeeping workers are extremely overworked in most departments.
          • Steaming is done in a way that may not kill all bed bugs. Bed bug removal protocols have been compromised by mismanagement.
          • Garbage bags and linen bags don’t fit in the chutes and are left for days piling up in soiled utility rooms.
          • When the hospital re-opened with even more square footage, management did not hire enough new workers to adequately meet hospital standards.
          • The collective agreement is regularly violated as certain tasks are performed by non-bargaining unit members who aren’t properly trained (such as well-meaning volunteers and middle-managers).
          • Management has not adequately trained some workers on disinfection procedures.
          • Despite adequate hospital funding, absent workers aren’t always replaced. That puts more pressure on the rest of the staff.
          • Robots have priority access to elevators; staff and patients must wait or remain trapped inside the elevator.
          • Patients have been observed taking the elevator at the same time as workers with waste bins.
          • Rodents have been observed in the hospital.

          “Mismanagement is a threat to the health and safety of patients and workers,” worries Tim Oribine, union representative at Teamsters Canada Local Union 419. “It is my duty as a citizen and as a trade unionist to blow the whistle and warn the public of these serious issues.”

          The Teamsters believe the government should open an investigation as soon as possible to address and resolve these issues.

          “Our members are very concerned and seriously question management’s decision-making process,” added the trade unionist. “The managers have to listen to us because we could provide them with a game plan to deal with these issues once and for all.”

          The Teamsters recommend that the public exercise caution when visiting the hospital.”

          https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/safety-of-patients-may-be-compromised-at-humber-river-hospital-568042291.html

          “Now Doug Ford, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative leader, is trying to tap into some of that medical-tech street cred, naming Devlin to head development of the Tories’ health policy and suggesting the hospital would be a “template” for health care under a Ford government.”

          https://nationalpost.com/health/the-hospital-ceo-who-created-the-continents-first-digital-hospital-is-now-behind-doug-fords-health-policy

          Reply
        • Marshall

          July 19th, 2018

          “The Teamsters Union would like to inform the public and fellow hospital workers of several serious health and safety problems at the new Humber River Hospital.

          Since the hospital’s opening last October, some 900 workers represented by Teamsters Canada Local Union 419 have noticed and documented dozens of hygiene issues such as the failure to use proper disinfectants in rooms and public spaces.
          Some of the issues documented by the workers and the Union:
          ” Traces of blood, urine and other bodily fluids can be found throughout the hospital, usually on the floor.
          ” Workers had no mops, brooms or adequate cleaning supplies during the first ten days after the hospital’s opening.
          ” Feces, urine and other bodily fluids can’t be cleaned properly because the micro-fibre mops aren’t made to wash certain surfaces. Furthermore, there is no vacuum cleaner in some departments.
          ” Tap water is used to clean some departments because workers lack proper cleaning products.
          ” Cleaning products used in some departments are not approved for use in hospitals.
          ” Trays with leftovers are left accumulating in certain areas.
          ” Meals are occasionally served below 74 degrees Celsius, despite safety standards, which could lead to food-borne illness.
          ” Patients sometimes cannot get hot meals.
          ” Mismanagement has created food shortages resulting in some patients not being served bread or milk with their bedside meals.
          ” Housekeeping workers are extremely overworked in most departments.
          ” Steaming is done in a way that may not kill all bed bugs. Bed bug removal protocols have been compromised by mismanagement.
          ” Garbage bags and linen bags don’t fit in the chutes and are left for days piling up in soiled utility rooms.
          ” When the hospital re-opened with even more square footage, management did not hire enough new workers to adequately meet hospital standards.
          ” The collective agreement is regularly violated as certain tasks are performed by non-bargaining unit members who aren’t properly trained (such as well-meaning volunteers and middle-managers).
          ” Management has not adequately trained some workers on disinfection procedures.
          ” Despite adequate hospital funding, absent workers aren’t always replaced. That puts more pressure on the rest of the staff.
          ” Robots have priority access to elevators; staff and patients must wait or remain trapped inside the elevator.
          ” Patients have been observed taking the elevator at the same time as workers with waste bins.
          ” Rodents have been observed in the hospital.
          “Mismanagement is a threat to the health and safety of patients and workers,” worries Tim Oribine, union representative at Teamsters Canada Local Union 419. “It is my duty as a citizen and as a trade unionist to blow the whistle and warn the public of these serious issues.”
          The Teamsters believe the government should open an investigation as soon as possible to address and resolve these issues.
          “Our members are very concerned and seriously question management’s decision-making process,” added the trade unionist. “The managers have to listen to us because we could provide them with a game plan to deal with these issues once and for all.”

          The Teamsters recommend that the public exercise caution when visiting the hospital.”

          https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/safety-of-patients-may-be-compromised-at-humber-river-hospital-568042291.html

          “Now Doug Ford, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative leader, is trying to tap into some of that medical-tech street cred, naming Devlin to head development of the Tories’ health policy and suggesting the hospital would be a “template” for health care under a Ford government.”

          https://nationalpost.com/health/the-hospital-ceo-who-created-the-continents-first-digital-hospital-is-now-behind-doug-fords-health-policy

          Reply
          • jim graham

            July 31st, 2018

            under Ms.Kathy, funding for Health Care in Ontario was frozen at 0% for 4 consecutive years, followed by a 1% increase in 2017, all while the rate of inflation rose at an average of 1.8 annually and the population increased by almost 6%
            Not Doug. Kathy.

  2. Marshall

    July 17th, 2018

    Next up in shoring up the social safety net: No OHIP, pension benefits, or other “entitlements” for the top 10% of income earners.

    And maybe no lavish patronage appointments for partisan cronies and family friends.

    On the 2018 Sunshine List, former PC president and Ford loyalist Dr. Reuben Devlin was snarfing up more than half a million dollars annually. Now, Devlin’s double-dipping $348K bonus salary (which gets on top of a six-figure public pension) is almost as much as the Premier and the Minister of Health make, combined.

    Reply
    • jim graham

      July 18th, 2018

      after years of restricting health-care funding growth in favour of transit initiatives few support, Ontario’s Liberals were recently jettisoned by the electorate. Bounced to the curb. Humbled.
      We agree, Devlin is a weasel. They could do better, easily. Replace him.

      Reply
      • Marshall

        July 19th, 2018

        “From 2005-06[2] to 2011-12, health sector expense in Ontario grew by an average of 5.9 per cent annually. However, after the 2008-2009 recession, limiting the growth of health sector spending was a critical part of the Province’s plan to achieve a balanced budget in 2017-18. From 2011-12 to 2015-16, annual health sector expense grew by only 2.4 per cent on average.”

        http://www.fao-on.org/en/Blog/Publications/health-sector-march-18#3.%20Health%20Sector%20Expense%20Trends

        Health care is the single largest expense in the province’s budget (approx. 44% of all such expenditures) and while post-recession spending had decreased, Ontario’s 2018-19 budget increased hospital funding by 4.6%.

        At least temporarily. Ford plans to cut government spending by 4%. That will be interesting regardless of whichever friend he tasks with the cuts.

        Reply
  3. Mike Orangefield

    July 19th, 2018

    “That made the plan more of a gift to insurance companies than to young Ontarians.” The real gift is forcing parents with insurance coverage to through their private insurer that will charge a much higher rate for the product and the service than if delivered through public insurance cause its a one pay and submit claim. For any med the cost will be much much higher as one script through the system then when done in bulk like our provincial system Huge huge windfall for the insurance companies to be able to charge many times the same amount through private than public. And what about “the little guy” that see their premium and deductible go up while service and quality is reduced? Thanks but no thanks for these “efficiencies”

    Reply
  4. Mike orangefield

    July 20th, 2018

    And I love the ‘efficient” tax break Dougie has given to his friends in the fossil fuel industry. Dougie giving the fossil fuel industry a 10 cent per litre tax break will loose untold millions in much needed revenue for the province. Dont remember the “little guy” in Ontario asking for tax breaks for the industry that gouges us on a daily basis. Very “efficient”

    Reply
  5. Marshall

    July 21st, 2018

    None of the tax cutters ever has the guts to be honest with people about the impact of reduced revenue on public services. But the pattern has been repeated over and over again across Canada.

    Municipal tax freezes and cuts slowly starve the services that are closest and most visible to us.

    Provincial tax cuts are coupled with growing provincial fiscal deficits, followed by crisis-driven cuts in public services.

    Massive tax cuts were introduced by Paul Martin’s Liberals in the early-2000s coupled with a retreat by the federal government from public services in areas of jurisdiction shared with the provinces.

    A cut in the GST rate by the Stephen Harper’s Conservatives led directly to the current federal deficit.

    The aggregate impact has been stunning. In 1992, the five-year average of total government expenditures as a share of GDP was 48.6 per cent. In 2016, the five-year average was 40.1 per cent — in the context of today’s $2 trillion economy, that’s worth $170 billion in lost spending on public services.

    We see clear crisis indicators of decline everywhere we look:

    • Crumbling public infrastructure.
    • An elementary and secondary education system whose funding cannot meet the needs of today’s students.
    • Post-secondary tuition that is now more than triple what it was 25 years ago.
    • The lack affordable housing and the rise in homelessness.
    • A public health insurance system that excludes the fastest growing component of health care costs (pharmaceutical drugs) and that is straining to meet the needs of an aging population.

    And now, in Ontario, here we go again, with a clear denial of the link between taxes and public services “no dollar is better spent — than the dollar that is left in the pockets of the taxpayer” elevated from meaningless political rhetoric to a line in the official Throne Speech of the new provincial government.

    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2018/07/20/still-waiting-for-that-adult-conversation-about-taxes-and-public-services.html

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (not be published)