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What's in the news: Nov. 30 -- "Dismantle" Canadian health system, Sarah Palin urges

Sarah Palin generously offers health-policy advice to Canadians
"Canada needs to dismantle its public health-care system and allow private enterprise to get involved and turn a profit." That's what former Alaska governor Sarah Palin told "Marg Delahunty," the Mary Walsh character from This Hour Has 22 Minutes in a recent ambush Ms Walsh staged at a Palin book-signing.

Unfortunately, Ms Palin wasn't in on the joke: she was serious. [This Hour Has 22 Minutes on YouTube] [Canadian Press]

Watch the This Hour segment here:

Women behind majority of growth in physician workforce
It may be hard to tell in practice, but Canada has more doctors now than we did five years ago -- quite a few more. The precise number: 8% more, which is almost twice as fast a growth rate as our population experienced over that period.

Even more remarkable than that is the fact that, from 2004 to 2008, the number of male doctors grew 3.8% while the number of female doctors grew an incredible 16.3%. [CIHI report: Supply, distribution and migration of Canadian physicians, 2008] [CIHI news release]

Saskatchewan ditches heli-ambulance plan
Sure, a helicopter air-ambulance service out of Saskatoon and Regina sounded good, and, yeah, it was a Saskatchewan Party campaign promise in the run-up to their 2007 election win.

But then they got the estimate: $42.4 million in start-up costs and $9 million per year thereafter. And that's when Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris decided changed his mind. "It isn't a priority as our government moves forward, at least for the next couple years," he said.

The province does, however, still operate an airplane ambulance service out of Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. [Saskatchewan News Network]

Quebec and France near deal on mutual recognition of qualifications
After signing a deal on April 2 this year to allow Ontario physicians to work in Quebec without going through endless paperwork and testing, and vice versa, the province of Quebec is set to sign a similar agreement with France.

"Pour ce qui est du recrutement en France de professionnels de la santé, le Québec compte sur plusieurs atouts de taille, outre le partage de la même langue," said Health Minister Dr Yves Bolduc in a statement released Friday. "Les formations professionnelles ont une qualité équivalente, et il existe des liens étroits entre les universités et les établissements de santé du Québec et de la France. Enfin, nous profitons d'un avantage concurrentiel sous l'angle de la rémunération des médecins."

The agreement will also apply to pharmacists, midwives and dentists; Dr Bolduc plans to add nurses to the deal in July 2010. [Government of Quebec news release (French only)]

Out-of-province OHIP coverage requests almost triple over five years
The number of applications made to the Ontario public insurance plan for procedures provided outside the province has risen from 4,775 in a one year period from 2004-2005 to 12,393 in 2008, costing the province $127.9 million last year. That increase is largely attributable to DNA testing for genetic conditions that could predispose patients to diseases -- a service performed in American laboratories because it is not offered in Ontario. Health Minister Deb Mathews said she hopes the province will begin to offer DNA testing next spring, however.

Requests for bariatric surgery also increased dramatically, with around five times as many received in 2008 as were received in 2004-2005. The government already announced a plan earlier this year, involving $75 million in new funding, to try to address the demand for bariatric surgery. [Canadian Press] [CBC News]

NB will create electronic records for prescriptions
New Brunswick hopes to have an electronic records system set up by early 2011 to monitor prescriptions given to patients. Part of the impetus for the effort is the difficulty in preventing drug-seeking patients from obtaining narcotics prescriptions from multiple physicians without the physicians realizing what is happening. [CBC News]

Heparin doses get smaller
Heparin units are going to be made 10% weaker. There will be a transition period of two years in Canada when both the old and new strengths will be available. [Health Canada Information Update]

Transgender option on Ontario school vaccine form sparks anger
In Algoma, in northern Ontario, public health officials sent students home with H1N1-flu-vaccination permission slips that included a question asking for the student's gender. The options: male, female, or "other; unknown; transgender." A trustee of the region's Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board and the conservative advocacy group LifeSiteNews have taken issue with the officials' decision to allow students to be identified as they see fit. [LifeSiteNews]

Ukrainian pols exaggerate H1N1 flu pandemic to improve election chances
The woman currently leading the pack to become the next president of Ukraine in the January 17 elections may have intentionally made the country's struggle to keep the H1N1 flu pandemic under control seem far more dire than it actually is.

"We had to create a phantom and then have a white knight riding in to save the day," Taras Berezovets, a senior campaign adviser for the party of Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, admitted to a reporter. [Foreign Policy]

As heated as the debate on the Canadian government's response to the H1N1 flu pandemic has been in the House of Commons, the opposition parties haven't even come close to the level of exaggeration that's been seen in Ukraine.

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  1. sharon30 November, 2009 9:41 AM

    Title: What's in a word?

    RE: Sarah Palin

    In the Youtube encounter I heard Sarah utter the word "reform" and the phrase " let the private sector take over " some " of what the health care system is doing" .

    The word " dismantle" was applied by reporter Lee-Ann Goodman in The Canadian Press.

    It was not said by Sarah Palin.

    [The " nanananana" or "we gotcha" approach should not take "reporting"too far into the world of "interpretation".]

    I know little of Sarah Palin but I know two things from this video:

    1. the use of "the feigned ignorance of irony" used broadly in Canada ......brings more than just " laughing at ourselves" upon our shoulders.

    2. Sarah Palin displayed a generosity of spirit when she gave her brief response fully overlooking that she was being mocked and belittled.

    If the U.S. is the " land of the brave" are we " the land of the bully"?

    I think this entire approach is far from " Canadian".

    Now... let's talk about what Sarah Palin might have said if she was properly interviewed...and the interview was properly "reported".

    If the question posed was:

    'where does the private sector fit in Canadian
    service delivery ?' anyone inside the system could readily say:

    " funds follow the selection of the person.. not the service..not the bed.. not the sector but only from a " NEEDS-based " perspective."

    If the "person" uses the funding for "equivalents" Canada pays.

    If they want the funding used for " alternatives" they have to go through a policy changing process of having that " alternative " accepted by funders OR pay themselves ( a "WANTS-based" perspective).

    I have prepared a series of posters that I am presenting this week for use ( initially) in developing countries where "geographic destiny" has been dramatically altered.
    The cross-border, cross- country, cross-nations lines have been erased by technology and trading freedoms.
    There IS a place now for a P3 ( public, private, voluntary sector ) alliance.
    At the International and National levels it may be mapped as a model considered as a "procurement option" with a P3 alliance ......
    .....whereas at the state/provincial, regional, local levels it may be mapped as a selection of alternatives based on Collaboration, Openness and Apomediation (where the tacit knowledge of the client becomes part of the loop).

    First challenge?

    Teach decision-makers in those sectors " how to map" before they build roads to nowhere.

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