Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hospital and physician transparency

This is what happens when people in control keep things private:
Respect isn't part of the mandate. It is crowd control. Read about this man: Perry Dunlop, he spoke truth to power, while being a police officer, and ended up in jail.

With hospitals and physicians determined to keep errors, and information secret, they have been lobbying to permit a change in FIPPA (privacy laws) to exclude them from divulging information, such as statistics about physician and hospital errors. These are our tax dollars. We must hold them accountable.

In this way, the public will not be able to determine how many error occur, and in which areas of health. Already, we know that the cost of malpractice insurance for hospitals and individual physicians is enormous, thanks to an extremely litigious society. 

Ontario taxpayers have spent $1.1 billion in the past decade reimbursing doctors for most of the cost of their malpractice fees. Last year, it amounted to about $112 million.
The doctors themselves paid $24 million collectively. That means we -- the taxpayers, the patients -- covered about 83 per cent of the cost of malpractice insurance.

Update to FIPPA changes in Ontario

With the new proposed legislation, originally not adopted in the fall, lawyers are advising hospitals to shred evidence. See below:  (a) cleansing existing files on or before December 31, 2011
Turns out that the law firm changed 'cleansing' to organising files.

HANSARD - APRIL 20, 2011   ACCESS TO INFORMATION Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Premier. Ontario hospitals such as London Health Sciences Centre are receiving legal advice to shred anything that might be embarrassing to the government

Re: the Ontario Hospital Association's Press Release:    The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is trying to distance itself from comments by law firm Osler, that hospitals should "cleanse" their records to prevent scandal.  But its arguments simply don't stand up.

McGuinty to hospitals: Don't shred files before FOI bill

TORONTO — Staff at Ontario hospitals should not be shredding documents before the institutions become subject to freedom of information legislation next year, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned Wednesday.

Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, a Toronto law firm, posted a review of the legislation requiring hospitals to open their records to the public in which it recommended they "cleanse" files if they want to avoid another eHealth scandal.

This is the Osler website recommendation in part: now corrected from 'cleansing files' to org.:

Hospitals Face Reputational Risks Under FIPPA
In recent years controversies involving public sector organizations have demonstrated the significant reputational risks they face when information about their business conduct is made public.  Hospitals will therefore want to adopt best practices in not only responding to FIPPA requests but, equally importantly, in (a) organizing existing files by identifying records subject to FIPPA (records coming into the custody or under the control of hospitals on or after January 1, 2007) before December 31, 2011, and by applying record retention schedules, subject to legislative record-keeping requirements [1]; and (b) educating all staff including the Board of Directors, as to how they should conduct business under the FIPPA regime, particularly with respect to expenses, procurement and decision-making relating to hospital services, in order to avoid any reputational risks.  For example, the appropriate level of care must be paid to all correspondence dealing with hospital business, especially email, as it considered to be a “record” under FIPPA and subject to the public right of access. 

No comments: