Code Blue Emergency Summit on Hospital Cuts and Privatization in Ottawa
Wednesday May 22, 6:00 p.m.,
McNabb Community Centre, Assembly Hall,
180 Percy Street, Ottawa
Ottawa is Ground Zero for hospital privatization in Ontario. The Ottawa Hospital is facing among the harshest health service cuts of anywhere in the province. Thousands of surgeries and hospital procedures are being offloaded, cut and privatized to for-profit clinics (day hospitals). The privatization of clinical hospital care is unprecedented. It threatens the start of for-profit hospitals.It must be stopped.
Speakers include: Maude Barlow Voluntary National Chairperson, The Council of Canadians
Michael McBane National Director, Canadian Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra Director, Ontario Health Coalition
Open Letter to the Health Minister on Home Care User & Drug Fees
Open letter endorsed by over 70 Seniors’ and Health Advocacy organizations expressing opposition to the Ontario Senior’s Strategy proposal for income-tested user fees and drug fees for Home Care.
OHC Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs questions lack of P3 audit
OHC Director Natalie Mehra queries why no audit done of $4 billion in privatized P3 Projects amidst new international evidence of exorbitant profit-taking in P3 hospitals -- at the same time regular Ontarians are told to accept deep cuts to needed local hospital care and services.
Ms. Mehra notes that the members of the Board of Infrastructure Ontario all come out of companies or entities with vested interests in P3s and for-profit privatization.
Formal Complaints Lodged Against LHIN: Request for Disclosure Launched in Ottawa Hospital Cuts and Privatization Scheme
The Ontario Health Coalition and OPSEU have launched formal complaints about the Champlain LHIN's process regarding the decision by the Ottawa Hospital to cut and privatize thousands of surgeries and other health care services.
Myth Buster: OHC Challenges Health Minister’s Claims - Hospital cuts and privatization are not offset by home care
The Ontario Health Coalition responded today to the Health Minister’s attempt to
downplay and minimize the cuts to – and privatization of – hospital services that she and her government are making. The Minister was responding to the Coalition’s report “Austerity Index” listing hospital cuts and privatization across Ontario. The coalition also held a cross?province “S.O.S” Save Our Services Day of Action yesterday featuring huge crowds encircling local hospitals, holding candlelight vigils, rallies and other demonstrations from Windsor to Ottawa to Sudbury.
The coalition notes that not only is the Health Minister covering up the cuts and privatization, she has also fomented these cuts without any proper health planning process and without any democratic process. There has been no legislation introduced to empower the government to dismantle hospital clinical services, no public consultation, no electoral mandate, and no democratic process whatsoever.
“OHC Austerity Index” details Hospital Cuts and Privatization Reach New Levels: Coalition Announces “S.O.S.” – Save Our Services – Day of Action
At a Queen’s Park press conference this morning, the Ontario Health Coalition, representing more than 400 organizations dedicated to protecting public health care, warned that the Ontario government’s austerity budget is causing unprecedented cuts to and privatization of hospital and health care services. The Ontario government is curtailing health spending by more than $3 billion, most of which will be shouldered by hospitals and OHIP. Ontario already funds its hospitals at the lowest rate per person of any province in Canada.
The coalition announced plans for a cross-province Day of Action on Monday March 4. Protests will be held across Ontario. The coalition has titled the event “S.O.S. -- Save Our Services” and with the Day of Action it is launching an S.O.S. campaign across Ontario.
The coalition takes issue with the Health Minister’s claims that services are being “transformed” or transferred to home care. This is simply untrue. In many cases, services being cut simply do not exist in home or community care. In other cases, services are being demonstrably privatized to for-profit corporations, despite repeated government promises to the contrary.
Hospital CEO Does Chatham-Kent Community a Disservice
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 in the paper this morning, to counter his statements.
Ontario Government Seniors’ Strategy Attacks Universality for Seniors’ Health Care; Thin on Improvements to Access
The Ontario Health Coalition, representing more than 400 organizations dedicated to protecting public health care, warns that the Ontario government’s newly proposed Seniors’ Strategy threatens the core principle of universal health care for all.
“Universality is a core principle for health care. As more and more services are moved out of hospital it is imperative that Ontarians insist that the Ontario government not abandon this principle in home and community care,” said Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “The proposal to create a means-tested home care system explicitly threatens privatization rather than upholding the equity principles of the Canada Health Act when it comes to home and community care services for the elderly.”
“We are strongly opposed to this approach,” added Derrell Dular, managing director of the Older Canadians Network and board member of the Ontario Health Coalition. “We have a means-tested system for funding care. It is called the tax system. Our tax system should be used so that health care is funded in a progressive way according to our ability to pay and corporations should pay their fair share. The burden of care should not put on the sickest individuals when they are elderly or dying. Such an approach is dangerous and violates core values of Ontarians.”
Unprecedented Health Cuts, Privatization and Dismantling of Hospitals
Starting Across Ontario: OHC Report
Ontario’s health care funding, already nearly the lowest per person in the country, is being curtailed by $3 billion, resulting in unprecedented hospital and home care service cuts across the province. The Ontario Health
Coalition has produced a tally of the cuts by region and community. The results, released today in a new report called, The Austerity Index: Health care cuts and deficits across Ontario include a litany of closed hospital clinics, more than one hundred bed closures, lengthening wait lists in home care and accelerating privatization.
“We are receiving reports from patients and careworkers daily who are telling us about service cuts all across Ontario,” said Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “Outpatient clinics are being closed down and
privatized. Hospital beds are being closed and services cut. Home care funding, just announced - seven months into this fiscal year - is not adequate to deal with existing wait lists let alone the more aggressive offloading of patients from hospitals. More and more patients are being denied home care or referred to other services that are not adequate to meet their needs.”
Kingston Health Coalition: “Provincial Official Misleads City Council on St. Mary’s P3 Hospital”
Dale McClintock, senior vice-president of Infrastructure Ontario (IO), the provincial agency telling Kingston to rebuild St. Mary’s Hospital as a privatized P3 hospital, told city council,"I believe a P3 will save 10…20…25 % over a traditional approach" yet no
facts were given to support his opinion. “Infrastructure Ontario did not provide Kingston City Council with the cost information it had been asked to provide,” said Ross Sutherland, Chair of the Kingston Health Coalition. “Instead it gave generalities, falsehoods and misinformation. It was insulting to Council and the residents of Kingston.” (Please see Media Release below for details)
Health Minister’s Veiled Threat Likened to Bullying:
Health Coalition Livid Over Health Minister’s Tactics
Response by the Ontario and Niagara Health Coalitions to threats by Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthew’s to cancel the proposed new hospital for Niagara. According to Matthews, if Niagara municipal leaders criticize her appointee’s choice of location for a still-fictional new hospital, the project – which has never been approved anyway – may be cancelled. Legitimate concerns about cuts to and loss of hospital services in local communities has been termed “bickering”.
Mike Harris: One More Reason to Create a Public Home Care System
Mike Harris infuriated Ontario's nurses by (wrongly) opining that they had gone the way of the hula-hoop. Now, a decade-and-a-half after promulgating massive hospital cuts and privatizing home care, Harris is opening a private for-profit home care company. (see below.)
The Harris government ignored the law, passed in 1994, that would have created a public home care system like every other province in Canada has. Instead, they created the Community Care Access Centres and then forced them to divest services -- even when it was demonstrated that privatization would cost more. This was the start of the despised system of "competitive bidding" in Ontario's home care. Today, we have more than 700 provider agencies, each with their duplicate administrations. The Harris government opened the system to for-profit bidders and today chain for-profit companies have gained the majority of the "market share" as they call it. Home care has been reorganized to facilitate the bidding -- care workers have less time to spend with their clients, and their work is the most precarious and underpaid in the health care system.
Unfortunately Health Minister Deb Matthews is considering making permanent the for-profit privatization of home care instead of setting up a public home care system. Without any public consultation whatsoever, the Minister is working with the industry (dominated by the for-profits) to redesign home care. This process should be immediately terminated and proper public consultation about the future of home care should be instituted.
We should take the news from Mike Harris as a catalyst for action: Mike Harris is the latest best reason to create a public home care system and rid ourselves of competitive bidding for once and for all.
ACTION ALERT:Stop For-Profit Hospital Chain's Expansion in Ontario UPDATE: Sale stopped, thanks for your help!
UPDATE: The purchase of the Shouldice Hospital by Centric Health a for-profit corporation with an ambitous expansion agenda has been stopped. A big thank you to all of you who sent letters into the Minister of Health to ask her to stop the deal.
The Ontario and Canadian Health Coalitions have teamed up with the Council of Canadians to stop Centric Health, a chain corporation with ambitious expansion plans, from expanding into Ontario. Centric Health is linked to Global Healthcare Investments and Solutions, a multinational giant private investment conglomerate. Several of its directors come from Netcare, another gargantuan multinational health privateer.
Centric Health is poised to buy the Shouldice Hospital, a private hernia hospital in Richmond Hill (just north of Toronto). Shouldice is a private family-created hospital that was "grand-parented" in prior to the creation of our public hospital system in Ontario. There are only a few private hospitals left, and the Private Hospitals Act was set up specifically to stop any further expansion of U.S.-style private for-profit hospitals in our province.
In order for the sale to go through, the agreement, struck between the Shouldice Hospital and Centric, requires the approval of the Minister of Health. The Minister has powers under the Private Hospitals Act to stop this sale. In fact, the Ontario government has the ability to pursue several different options that would result in the Shouldice operations being owned and operated as a non-profit/public hospital.
This is an issue that we can absolutely win. But we have to act right away. The Minister will make her decision by mid-October. Please send a quick note -- it can be one line! -- Just send it as soon as you can.
You can click onto the pre-written electronic letter by the Registered Nurses of Ontario and send it in by email right away. CLICK HERE
Please see our Open Letter to the Minister below: Please take from it, use it as a template, and distribute it widely! Please send your letters/emails/faxes asking the Minister to stop the sale to:
Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
10th Floor, Hepburn Block, 80 Grosvenor Street, Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C4
tel: 416-327-4300 fax:416-327-3679 email:email@example.com
Falling Behind: Report
Ontario Health Coalition director Natalie Mehra has authored a report for the Ontario Common Front -- a new coalition of which the OHC is a member. The report, titled "Falling Behind" looks at Ontario's growing income inequality, increasing poverty, and flagging funding for vital public services -- including health care. Ontario now ranks at the bottom of the country for increasing poverty, widening inequality, and a burgeoning array of user fees in community services, health care and schools. Tax cuts have benefitted the wealthy whose incomes are skyrocketing, while the middle class, working class and poor are falling behind.
National Day of Action for a 2014 Health Accord a success!
Over 75 people came out to participate in the National Day of Action for a 2014 Health Accord held on Wednesday July 18 at Riverdale Park East in Toronto, despite the extreme heat. The Ontario Health Coalition, joined by the Council of Canadians, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and many other enthusiastic volunteers gathered to form a giant human sculpture of a red umbrella (Medicare has you covered) for a photo-op and media conference. Please check out this short video of the event:
We were joined by events from Vancouver to Halifax! Here is a link so you can see the other events:
New Sudbury Health Coalition Brings Together Health Care Professionals, Workers and Patients to Advocate for Public Health Care
Last night, volunteers from the earlier town hall meeting got together to form a renewed Sudbury Health Coalition. The local coalition has been inactive for several years.The reformed and revitalized group -- which is made up of seniors, patients, unionized workers, health professionals and concerned citizens-- nominated four co-chairs to get the organization going.
Schedule 28 Update: Weak amendments to McGuinty omnibus budget bill facilitate sweeping privatization - Citizens’ groups call for privatization clause to be struck down
The Council of Canadians and Ontario Health Coalition are outraged that despite promises made by Ontario’s government, proposed amendments are too weak to stop the mass privatization of public services in Budget Bill 55, Schedule 28.
Proposed amendments do not remove wording from Schedule 28, subsection 10 that would allow for the privatization of broader public services. “Despite promises from Finance Minister Dwight Duncan the McGuinty government continues to grant itself extraordinary powers to privatize public services ranging from health care, education, water services, and municipal and provincial services, ”says Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition. “To put it into context, the proposed amendments are so weak that they still facilitate potentially the largest privatization in Ontario’s history. Amendments are not enough. Schedule 28 should be struck down in its entirety.”
McGuinty Reneging on Years of Progress in Long-Term Care Homes’
Inspections & Enforcement: Betrays Longstanding Promises to Ontario Seniors
The Ontario Health Coalition expressed its deep frustration at today’s reports quoting Health Minister Deb Matthews who said that Ontario’s long-term care homes will not be subject to annual inspections; a reversal of long-standing promises by her government. The Minister’s comments were made yesterday in response to the revelation by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union that long-term care inspectors are overwhelmed, and inspections may be delayed more than five years.
Withdraw Schedule 28 from the Ontario Omnibus Budget Bill entirely, says community and health advocates
The Council of Canadians, Ontario Health Coalition, and the Social Planning Network of
Ontario are disgusted by the Ontario government’s attempt to hide a massive privatization agenda in
the 327?paged omnibus budget bill. “The Finance Minister is lying when he claims that Schedule 28 will only impact Service Ontario? which is
bad enough,” says Adrienne Silnicki of The Council of Canadians. “This Act will absolutely impact
Ontarians’ health care, water, school boards, education, social services, hydro, and more”.
Schedule 28 of Bill 55 creates a new government ministry, which social justice and advocacy
organizations are calling the “Ministry of Privatization”. This Ministry would override existing legislation
and regulations to order the privatization of public services without any public or legislative
For the fifth year in a row the OHC is selling organic, locally grown, gourmet garlic. By ordering garlic with us, you are supporting our vital work and you are also supporting your good health and local farmers by purchasing fresh, organic and Ontario grown garlic. Once again, you have two garlic options to choose from – an attractive bag containing 7 to 9 heads of assorted garlic or our ever popular bundle of 7 braided heads of large hardneck garlic. Please download the document below and send us your order form and payment.
Ontario-Wide Tour to Visit 15 Communities
Warning of Ontario Budget Cutbacks to Health Care
Most Ontarians don’t realize that the McGuinty government’s recent “austerity” budget will catapult the health system into another round of cuts and restructuring. With this warning, the Ontario Health Coalition is launching a 15 city tour across Ontario to prepare citizens to stand up and protect local access to health care services. The government’s budget for health care is worse than even the most radical of recommendations. With the harsh new budget, the government is planning another major round of cutbacks and restructuring that will particularly hurt patients who need hospital care, nursing home placements, outpatient clinics and long-term care. We are holding a town hall meeting to discuss the government’s plans and what they might mean for our local communities. We don’t want to see any more hardship as a result of patients unable to access the care they need. With the town hall meeting, we will launching an action plan to protect each region’s health services from further cuts.
Please click below for our full media release and *updated* details of the tour which includes Niagara (May 10), Hamilton (May 12), Toronto (May 14 afternoon), Kitchener (May 14), Oshawa (May 15), London (May 16), Peterborough (May 17), Kingston (May 23), Cornwall (May 24), Ottawa (may 26), Matheson (May 28), Sault Ste Marie (May 30), Thunder Bay (May 31), Kenora (June 2), Sudbury (June 5), and Windsor (June 6).
Response to Niagara Hospital Consolidation Proposal
Niagara Health System's government-appointed Supervisor Kevin Smith has released an interim report recommending hospital restructuring in Niagara, including the closure of all the local hospitals outside of St. Catharines and the eventual construction of a new "mega hospital". The OHC released our response to the proposal.
Budget: OHC Releases Four Demands to Protect Public Interest - Warns Ontario Budget Puts Health Care in Peril
As the Ontario budget debate begins in the legislature, the Ontario Health Coalition warned that the budget as it is now written would dismantle community hospitals and curtail access to care for thousands of elderly residents on wait lists. The coalition released four key demands to protect the public interest and access to health care. Please click below for details.
Ontario Budget Leaves More than 30,000 Ontarians Waiting for Health Care
In a provincial budget that notes Ontario is a “low tax” (and low service) province that spends the least on public services of any province in Canada, the government has unapologetically written a provincial budget that will lead to ballooning health care wait lists, more out-of-pocket costs, and unsafe conditions for Ontario patients. “The funding levels for health care services in the provincial budget are worse than expected,” noted Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “Funding levels announced for hospitals and long-term care are far less than what is needed to maintain existing services, let alone address backlogs. The result will be major cuts to needed care services, longer wait lists for long-term care and unsafe conditions in our hospitals.
City of Toronto Proposed Divestment of Public Long-Term Care Homes Affecting More than 2,000 Residents: New Report
For-profit homes have higher rates of preventable adverse outcomes, including bed sores (pressure ulcers), dehydration, pneumonia, falls and fractures, are more likely to engage in inappropriate use of restraints or psychoactive drugs, and over-usage of catheterization or tube feeding and provide less staffing and fewer hours of care for resident according to a report compiled by the University of Toronto Health Policy course, in collaboration with the Ontario Health Coalition.
The report released today, Protecting the Public Interest in Toronto’s Long-Term Care Homes: A Review of the Evidence on Privatization, collected research regarding the privatization of LTC homes. The students reviewed the body of research from across Canada and the United States and found that privatization of the ownership of long-term care homes has a significant impact on quality of care.
In 2011, the City of Toronto commissioned the consulting group KPMG to conduct a “core services review” to identify cost cutbacks. One of KPMG’s recommendations is that the City of Toronto could divest their ownership of long-term care (LTC) homes from ten homes to the provincially mandated minimum of one per municipality. The KPMG report proposes various options, including sale of these nine homes to private owners. This issue is being considered by a City committee this spring and will be significant in the lead-into the 2013 budget.
New Report Assesses Access to Health Care and the Status of the Social Determinants of Health in Toronto
Health Care in Toronto: Access to Health Care and the Status of Social Determinants of Health is a new report researched and written by students in the Introduction to Health Policy class at the University of Toronto in co-operationwith the Ontario Health Coalition. Includes findings about hospital occupancy, waiting times for Long-Term Care, Home Care, emerg, surgeries and access to primary care for new Canadians and the homeless compared to average Torontonians. Also findings on income inequality, unemployment, poverty, risk of homelessness and other social determinants of health as well as environmental determinants such as air and water quality.
Webinar on the Drummond Report
This is a recording of the OHC Webinar consisting of a full briefing and analysis of the Drummond Report. To view the Webinar click here, enter your name in the field, click “view recording”, enter your email and then click “view recording” and then click on “high fidelity” option to download the video and webinar (works best using MS Explorer). The “Live Meeting Replay” option downloads only the audio and the PowerPoint without the video. For a copy of the PowerPoint used during the presentation see below.< br>
Health Coalition Issues Pre-Drummond Report Warning of Major Health Cuts: First Do No Harm
Though Ontario’s public has never been properly informed about the plans, the provincial government is planning severe curtailment of health care funding growth that will result in $3 billion or more to be carved out of hospitals and OHIP, warned the Ontario Health Coalition in a new report released today. If the provincial government adopts the recommendation of former TD banker Don Drummond, Chair of the government’s Commission on Public Service Reform, the cutbacks will increase to $4 billion. Don Drummond’s report, which will contain recommendations to restructure Ontario’s health care system, is expected to be released next Wednesday.
In its own report, the coalition recommends that the government close two loopholes in the Employer Health Tax to ensure that high income earners pay a fairer share. This measure would generate $2.4 billion to help relieve some pressure, according to an analysis by economist Hugh Mackenzie. The report lists a litany of urgent and unmet health care needs that are not being addressed.
Briefing Note Re. Today’s Minister of Health Speech on Health Reform
The Ontario Health Coalition’s analysis and response to Minister of Health Deb Matthews two speeches made today at exclusive business and executive audiences to launch a new round of health care reform.
The Drummond Commission & Public Service Cuts: Public Interest Groups Deeply Concerned About Undemocratic Process
The McGuinty government is planning sweeping public service cuts and restructuring without public input and proper democratic processes, public interest groups revealed in a press conference this morning at Queen’s Park. The groups are concerned about the Drummond Commission, which was created by the McGuinty government to make recommendations to cut public services and budgets.
The Drummond Commission: A Cover for Cuts and Privatization
The Ontario Health Coalition exposes the Drummond Commission, Drummond’s history of dismantling our social safety net and privatizing public assets when he was in government, his past advocacy for health care privatization and his links to the private sector.
McGuinty Warned to Stop Health Care Privatization: OHC Responds to Drummond Commission
The Ontario Health Coalition warns that the McGuinty government’s Drummond Commission must consider the vast body of evidence against health care privatization when drafting its report on public service reform
in a press conference today at the Ontario Legislative building. Don Drummond, a bank executive, has used the enhanced platform given to him through his appointment as the head of the Commission on Public Sector Reform to become a spokesperson recommending health care privatization across
Canada. Last summer, the coalition wrote an open letter to the Minister of Finance listing their concerns about Drummond’s connections with the banking industry that is involved in privatized P3 hospitals in Ontario.
Home Care Administrative Costs:
Four Tiers of Administration Before Home Care Funding Reaches Front Lines
The Ontario Health Coalition today reiterated its findings from a home care report it released in April this year. The report includes figures from Ontario’s Auditor General, showing the cost of home care administration through the CCACs. In addition to the Auditor General’s figures, the coalition notes that home care funding in Ontario goes through no less than four tiers of administration before funding reaches front-line care. The coalition has been calling for reform of home care to create a public non-profit system which would redirect funding and staff to front line care.
Ontario Election 2011
A newsletter tabloid containing a voter’s guide to the key health care issues.
It includes short articles on the key issues like hospital overcrowding, improving home care and protecting rural health care. It has questions for candidates and a chart comparing the political parties’ positions on the key health care issues. We have produced 200,000 for distribution.
No Vacancy: Hospital Overcrowding in Ontario, Impact on Patient Safety and Access to Care
The OHC's new report, “No Vacancy: Hospital Overcrowding in Ontario, Impact on Patient Safety and Access to Care” released July 21st 2011 finds that
Ontario has the fewest hospital beds per person of all provinces in Canada. The result is serious hospital overcrowding that puts patients at risk.
Rally To Safeguard Public Health Care For People, Not For Profit
Queen's Park, Toronto - Tuesday, September 13, 12 o'clock noon In this October’s provincial election we need clear commitments to safeguard local health care services and improve access to care. We will be inviting each of Ontario's political parties to attend and make clear commitments to all of us on key issues to protect and improve.
GET ON THE BUS! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416-441-2502 for more information.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Health Care and Taxes
A newspaper leaflet by the Ontario Health Coalition is ready for distribution across Ontario. A link to a reduced-resolution version is here. Please note: if you are printing it out, it is 11" x 13" (large, not letter-sized paper).
If you would like multiple copies for distribution door-to-door, in seniors' centres and other community agencies, doctor's offices, clinics, libraries etc., please send in an order form below. There is no cost. We have the first 100,000 to distribute now and will order more as needed, so please order whatever you can get out. Please let us know where you are distributing them so we can coordinate distribution plans with our local health coalitions and member groups.
Coalition Applauds McGuinty Government for Taking Steps
to Safeguard Single-Tier Medicare: All Ontario Political Parties Should Make Clear Commitment Against For-Profit Privatization of Health Care
Before October 6 Provincial Election The OHC applauds the McGuinty government for making a clear commitment to pursue legal action against private for-profit clinics and physicians that charge patients unlawful fees for health care. The government has launched a toll free phone line and email complaint line for patients to use if they have a complaint or question about a fee that they have been charged for health care services. The toll-free number is 1-888-662-6613 and the email address is: email@example.comThe government's announcement and details can be found here. Our release is below.
Second Opinion: Exciting new magazine from the OHC Second Opinion is published three times each year and is dedicated to addressing major issues in health care. The tone of the magazine is positive and it has a wide distribution, 20,000 copies sent across the province to a wide demographic.
We focus on “big picture” issues, rather than daily policy issues.Articles include such topics as: Private vs public health care - Innovation in the public system
- Health care sustainablility - The history of Medicare in Canada.
Health Coalition Launches www.votehealthontario.ca:
Social Media Campaign to Identify Key Health Care Issues
in Provincial Election
The Ontario Health Coalition is using a democratic social media campaign to identify the public’s top health care issues and promote them leading into the October 6th provincial election. Today, the coalition launched phase 1 of www.votehealthontario.ca an election “pledge” website which invites Ontarians to visit and input their key health concerns and issues. In phase 2 (July/Aug), Ontarians will be invited to vote for their priorities and phase 3 will ask Ontarians to take the pledge to help make their priorities the key health care election issues.
Public Service Reform: Open Letter to Dalton McGuinty
Open letter from the OHC to the Premier to express concern that the mandate of the “Commission on Broader Public Service Reform” announced in the provincial budget in April. The OHC raises concerns about a pro-privatization and pro-marketization bias that is not based on evidence. Further, the coalition rebuts government-appointed Commission head Don Drummond who has made repeated public statements in support of privatizing our public not-for-profit health care institutions and services.
OHC Newsletter and Action Alert The May 2011 issue of The Pulse includes a news about a new OHC report that finds 10,000 people are waiting for Home Care, the hospital secrecy law, how the Canada-Europe Free Trade deal (CETA) could negatively impact the health care system, a review of Colin Leys’ new book “The Plot Against the NHS” and more. The Action Alert includes news about the OHC’s Health Care Pledge, the upcoming September 13 rally at Queen’s Park to safeguard Public Health Care, our upcoming Health Action Assembly November 19/20 and June’s High Level Briefing on Retirement Homes and ALC.
McGuinty Government Fails to Take Hospital Secrecy Off the Table - Amendment to Budget Bill Gives Hospitals Wide Berth to Hide Information
Public interest and patient advocates are calling on Premier McGuinty to withdraw a controversial clause slipped into the Budget Bill that will enable hospitals to hide information from the public. Earlier this month, the McGuinty government included a clause – Schedule 15 – in the Budget Measures Bill (173) that would enable hospital CEOs to shield from public scrutiny any information about quality of care produced for or by a hospital committee. The government has pushed through the budget bill quickly, opting for only one day of public hearings last week, on the eve of a national holiday. A proposed amendment announced by the government provides no substantive change.
OHC Calls on McGuinty Government
to Stop NHS Privatization Plan in Welland
The Niagara Health System is planning to close about 120 hospitals beds at the Welland Hospital. The beds are housed in a wing of the Welland hospital that includes an “extended care unit” and a “long-term care unit”. The Ontario Health Coalition calls upon Health Minister Deb Matthews to intervene to protect these services at the Welland hospital.
Tory MP Boycotts Health Care Debate London West Conservative MP Ed Holder has refused to attend an all-candidates meeting on health care to be held on April 20. The London Health Coalition released a letter from Mr. Holder’s communication director stating that Mr. Holder does not see health care as a federal issue and they “are not interested” in seeing Ed
Holder debate health care. Green, Liberal and NDP candidates have all agreed to attend.
Still Waiting: An Assessment of Ontario's Home Care System After Two Decades of Restructuring A new report by the Ontario Health Coalition on the state of Ontario's home care system finds more than 10,000 people on wait lists for services and reveals that major problems reported by Ontario's Auditor Generals since 1998 are still not resolved. As a result, Ontario’s home care system is plagued by inadequate services, inequitable access to care and poor oversight. The report also reveals that 18,500 hospital beds have been closed since 1990 and other hospital services such as outpatient rehabilitation are being cut across Ontario. While patients are being downloaded from hospitals, too often there are inadequate services in the community.
Federal Election Action Alert: Health Care Checklist In the upcoming federal election issues pertaining to public health care are crucial. The OHC has produced a checklist of measured needed to protect health care that voters should keep in mind when talking to candidates. We are asking our member groups and individuals to help distribute 100,000 leaflets door?to?door across Ontario during this election campaign. The colourful leaflets feature patient stories, a voter's check list and short highlights explaining the key health care issues with a focus on safeguarding and improving single?tier public Medicare. We will coordinate distribution in each area with the local health coalitions and our key member groups. Will you help us distribute the leaflets in your area? If so please fill in the order form attached to the leaflet and send it to us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416-441-2502.
Rural and Northern Framework/Plan The Ontario government has released its “Stage 1” report from the Health Minister’s panel on Rural and Northern Health Care. The Ontario Health Coalition has filed its written submission to the panel.
Health Coalition Responds to Auditor General’s Report on LHINs and Consultants 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.
Health Spending and Revenues in Ontario: A closer look at financial trends and the recommendations of TD Economics
The Ontario Health Coalition’s critical review of the findings of the Ontario government commissioned TD Economics report on health spending finds that the TD report is rife with inaccuracies and contradictions. The authors appear to fail to understand the extent of restructuring in the 1990s, and they draw no lessons from it. Similarly their analysis of health care privatization is perfunctory and incomplete. There is no costing of the recommendations, and while the report is ostensibly about containing health costs, a number of the recommendations would likely increase expenditures.
TD’s support of profit-driven health care is not a solution. It is not an amelioration of the public health
system. It is fundamentally incompatible with the principles of equity and universality in Canada Health
Act. It would undermine and dismantle efforts to create an effective health system that is organized to
meet human need for care.
“LHINs Under Fire” on TVOntario’s The Agenda
Panel discussion featuring OHC Director Natalie Mehra, Health Policy analyst Steven Lewis, Globe & Mail columnist Adam Radwanski and Erie St. Clair LHINs CEO Gary Switzer.
(September 13, 2010)
The Economic Case for Universal Pharmacare: Costs and benefits of publicly funded drug coverage for all Canadians
The Canadian Health Coalition has released an important and timely report in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Authored by pharmaceutical policy expert Marc Andre Gagnon, the report shows that Canadians are paying far too much for drugs, and that our patchwork of public plans, private insurance and out-of-pocket costs is inequitable, overly expensive and inefficient. The Ontario government is leading the provinces in trying to establish a common purchasing plan for drugs so that they can levy bulk-buying power..
OHC Applauds Ombudsman’s Report on LHIN Spin: Sends McGuinty Open Letter Calling for LHINs Review, and Investigate Poor LHIN Decisions to Cut Hospital Care for Thousands
The Ontario Health Coalition applauds Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin’s report “The LHIN Spin”. But the Coalition is deeply concerned that the McGuinty government has evaded its legislative
requirement to conduct a full review of its Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the legislation that governs them and is continuing a major round of health system cuts and restructuring while shutting out virtually all public advocates that have expressed concerns or criticized their reforms.
Ontario Health Coalition
Analysis of the Peterborough Hospital Peer Review
& Hospital “Improvement” Plan (HIP) According to a detailed analysis conducted by the OHC, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP) recommends draconian cuts to staffing levels and proposes significant cuts to hospital beds and services, though it does not reveal the extent of these service reductions because it continues to list unstaffed (and therefore unusable beds) as open beds. The reduction in public hospital services for the Peterborough community and surrounding region proposed in the so-called Hospital Improvement Plan is based on the findings of the Peer Review relating to key performance indicators and financial data. In our analysis of the two documents - the HIP and the Peer Review – we have found that the financial “crisis” is overstated and key financial information has not been provided and the methodology used to determine the PRHC’s status in key performance indicators is deeply flawed.
Legal Opinion on Retirement Homes Act (Bill 21): Concerns for Human Rights and Public Interest According to the legal opinion from Sack Golblatt Mitchell LLP, “This Bill raises significant questions in relation to safeguarding the public interest in regulating Ontario health facilities and respecting fundamental human rights. It is to be hoped that the Legislature will subject the provisions of the draft Bill to more thorough scrutiny to ensure that residents of Ontario retirement homes are adequately protected.” It is expected that the Government will pass the legislation this week. The OHC has written a letter to all MPPs asking them to vote against the bill.
Toward Equality and Access: Realigning Ontario’s Approach to Small and Rural Hospitals to Serve Public Values This report appeals for equity and improved access to hospital services in rural Ontario and is based on input received from more than 1,150 people who attended 12 hearings in regions across Ontario in March 2010. The coalition organized its own public hearings after the government’s own rural and northern health panel, created after hospital closures in small and rural communities, refused to hold any public consultations. In total the coalition received 487 submissions into the state and future of local hospitals. The report has been written and submitted to the Ontario Health Coalition by a non-partisan panel including doctors, nurses, health professional, representatives of each region of Ontario, and representatives active in each political party.
OHC Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy Regarding Bill 21 An Act to Regulate Retirement Homes The Ontario Health Coalition, while applauding the provincial government for bringing in new legislation to govern retirement homes, is deeply concerned about significant portions of the legislation. We support the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly's (ACE's) recommendation that the government take this legislation back and think about the approach. The retirement homes industry is dominated by multinational for-profit chains and its behaviour impacts on thousands of seniors who live in the homes. In Ontario, there have been a number of retirement home fires in which residents have died. Other residents have died from inadequate care. There have been high-profile stories, court cases and coroner's inquests detailing the problems that have contributed to these tragedies. It is completely inappropriate that these facilities be self-regulating. It is important, that when establishing this new Act, the government takes the opportunity to take into account the input it has received from public interest groups and seniors' advocates and heed the warnings.
OHC Response to Provincial Budget: McGuinty Must Stop “Over the Top” Crisis Rhetoric Used to Justify Hospital Cuts The Ontario Health Coalition is warning Ontarians that the rhetoric used by the McGuinty government to justify hospital cuts is “over the top” and is not supported by the facts.
OHC Response to Throne Speech: Fears that New Hospital Funding System Threatens Patient Access, Leads to Privatization Premier Dalton McGuinty is planning changes to hospital funding systems, according to his Throne Speech today. The changes, if implemented, will have a profound impact on Ontarian’s access to care. “We are deeply opposed to the government’s proposal to force hospitals to try to underbid each other for funding,” said Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “This system is the opposite of patient-centred care. It ignores the human element of health care entirely.”
OHC Calls For Coroner’s Inquest in the Death of Reilly Anzovino The Ontario Health Coalition is requesting a coroner’s inquest into the death of Reilly Anzovino after a Boxing Day car accident. Ms. Anzovino was taken by ambulance to Welland because the closest emergency department in Fort Erie was recently closed due to budget cuts. She passed away prior to arriving at the hospital. This is the second death since the emergency department closures in Fort Erie and Port Colborne that has raised questions about whether the closures have contributed to avoidable fatality. Prior to the closure of the Emergency Departments in Niagara, the Ontario Health Coalition conducted in-depth interviews with 50 paramedics across Ontario. For more information on that report see the next item on this page.
Putting Patients at Risk: Interviews with Ontario Paramedics on the Consequences of Closing Local Emergency Departments A new report, based on interviews with 50 paramedics across Ontario, on what the provincial government’s planned emergency room closures would mean for patient care in communities across the province. The report will address the following questions:
What do paramedics think of the Ontario government’s plan to close small and rural hospital emergency rooms?
Can paramedics really replace hospital emergency rooms?
What are the implications for patients and customers of ambulance services?
OHC’s Response to 2nd Set of Draft Regulations under
Bill 140 the Long-Term Care Homes Act Our analysis and response to the second set of draft regulations put out by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Once these regulations are completed, the new Long Term Care Homes Act (Bill 140) will come into effect. The regulations, under the Act, provide detail about the provisions in the Act. Notable is that there is no minimum care standard. The new draft regulations contain very few required program standards and criteria and no outcomes. At the same time, the Ministry is undertaking a "Compliance Transformation" process. It is not clear how inspectors will be able to provide evidence of breaches of requirements if there are no clear requirements.
What's Wrong with Ontario's Health Ministry and How to Fix It Natalie Mehra on the resignation of Health Minister David Caplan and the deeper problems of lack of transparency and democratic accountability that plague the ministry.
Documents Revealed Through Freedom of Information Request Show Increasing Privatization and Consolidation of Ontario's Medical Laboratory Services Documents released after a two year Freedom of Information battle reveal almost
complete control of Ontario's community medical laboratory services by three multinational corporations. Three multinational corporations are the big winners
while local communities are losing lab services.
Video Player The OHC has a new YouTube video player featuring presentations from the OHC’s Emergency Summit on Hospital Cuts and Restructuring in January, Save Our Hospital Town Hall meetings and more.
Thousands Join Rally at Ontario Legislature to Stop Hospital Cuts
More than 3,000 people came by bus, car pool and public transit to the front lawn of Queen’s Park on April 29, 2009 to demand that Premier Dalton McGuinty stop the cuts and closures of local hospitals across Ontario. Small and rural communities were particularly visible with people carrying messages from Wallaceburg, Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Welland, Niagara Falls, Strathroy, Petrolia, Burk’s Falls, Kincardine, Quinte West, Picton and other towns. Larger communities also facing cuts such as Hamilton, Guelph, Cambridge and Toronto were also well represented.
Mayors from small and rural communities across Ontario convened a press conference at Queen’s Park during the protest to announce the formation of an alliance of municipalities working to protect their local hospitals. Liberal MPP Kim Craitor from Niagara Falls, where birthing is slated to be cut, sponsored the media studio. Opposition MPPs from the Conservative and NDP parties peppered the Health Minister with questions during Question Period, then joined protesters outside where leaders and health critics from both parties spoke to the assembled crowd.
Is Health Spending Out of Control? Dr. Gordon Guyatt of McMaster University busts myths about health spending and uses facts to prove that Canadian health spending is stable and that privatization costs more and generates worse health outcomes.
Long Term Care: Final Response to Draft Regulations Updated June 5 For those of you who are particularly concerned about long term care homes, please find attached the draft OHC response to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care draft regulations under the new Long Term Care Homes Act. The draft regulations will replace the current regulations under the Acts governing for-profit, non-profit and municipal long term care homes, and the Facility Program Manual. Please feel free to copy, distribute, or use the attached materials for your own submissions. The deadline for submissions or comments to the Ministry regarding the draft regulations is June 5. Click here for our action alert containing information on how to send your input to the government and click below for our detailed response to the government’s proposal.
Long Term Care: Letter to David Caplan The following letter has been sent to the Minister of Health regarding his decision to move towards finalizing the draft regulations before the results of the Ontario Ombudsman's investigation into long term care homes sector is released. Please send in your letters as soon as possible. The Minister has set the deadline for submissions regarding the regulations for Friday, June 5.
Long Term Care Homes: High Level Briefing and One Day Conference This March the Ontario Health Coalition and the Alliance of Seniors/Older Canadians Network hosted a conference on regulating Long Term Care Homes to improve care which reviewed the recent history of LTC in Ontario, critical issues, best and worst practices, and prospects for the future. Below is a presentation on the US nursing home sector by Toby Edelman M.Ed., JD, Senior Policy Attorney, Centre for Medicare Advocacy, Washington D.C., and an
overview of the situation in Ontario by OHC Director Natalie Mehra.
Budget Will Not Help Save Hospitals From Closures, Cuts “This budget does not provide even what is needed to maintain existing services, or save our local hospitals from major cuts,” noted Dora Jeffries, coalition co chair. “In hard economic times hospital closures, cuts to services and lay offs are the worst possible option. In many communities, the local hospital is vital to economic development. McGuinty is risking important hospital capacity for the long term by underfunding the hospital system. ”
Brampton P3 Audit: Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in ‘Mistakes’ in Brampton P3 Finances The Auditor-General has revealed cost overruns at Brampton’s privatized P3 hospital. The Ontario Health Coalition is providing an analysis of the AG’s findings, our submission to the Auditor-General made in March and a link to the AG’s report itself. The auditor’s findings show that the Brampton P3 hospital costs increased from a projected $357 million at the outset of the P3 project to $614 million at the end of construction.
Briefing Note on Ontario’s Hospital Cuts and Restructuring 2008 A major round of hospital restructuring and cuts is underway in every health region in the province causing major layoffs, privatization and threaten local Emergency Rooms, birthing facilities and hospital beds. This new briefing note by the Ontario Health Coalition examines the cuts region by region. This year and next, provincial budget levels for hospital global budgets are insufficient to meet hospital rates of inflation and population growth. Cabinet-appointed Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are reviewing services in hospitals with deficits, and at the behest of the provincial government, are forcing hospitals to eliminate their deficits through drastic cuts.
Home Care Report: The Change We Need A new independent report on Ontario’s home care sector by Patricia Baranek, Carol Kushner and the late Marion Dewar. An non-partisan independent review of the current research along with input received through 78 presentations and 69 written submissions to five public hearings held across Ontario in June 2008. The report makes 20 recommendations to reform home care and provide urgently needed change.
Private Clinics Report: Eroding Public Medicare:
Lessons and Consequences of For-Profit Health Care Across Canada Groundbreaking report on the growth and practices of for-profit surgical, MRI and boutique physician clinics across Canada. Where are they? How are they making their profits? How are they promoting two-tier medicare? Where do they get their staff from? What does this mean for public health care in Canada.