Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Canada's health care system works "pretty damn well"

I have ranted about those ranting about Ontario healthcare.
Chronic illnesses and the ER; family expectations
Finally I found a good article. I know it's uneven across this country, but this is a factor of socioeconomics, and political will, as well as independence on the part of provincial and territorial aspects of governance, that shapes healthcare.

One widow of a prominent Canadian has ranted that her ill husband, with a chronic condition, deserved a bed before 48 hours. I'm not sure why. I have addressed this, based on the fact that those with a chronic condition, with a predictable trajectory, shouldn't be languishing in the ER. Once the disease affects the body, with particular symptoms, family members should be aware or be made aware of the issues. They should have it explained that the ER is no place for treatment or diagnosis for a condition such as ALS or Parkinson's Disease, as Herb Gray had and family must be prepared to plan for their loved ones to deteriorate. If she cannot cope at home, she needs to find a better placement.

In essence, no one want to pay more to keep spare beds available for an emergency. How does one plan for that? How does one pay for that? It's nothing to do with healthcare reform, but with paying for more beds, staff on duty, and taxpayers are not prepared to pay more.

The follow-up article in the paper said,

  • Ontario has a $900-a-year health premium for anyone > $20,000 a year. 
  • in the U.S.~45,000 people a year die for lack of proper health care
  • In the U.S. per capita cost is more than $8,600.
  • U.S. surgeries can cost as much as $500,000 
  • U.S. brain surgery runs anywhere from $75,000 to $125,000 not counting the extras like doctors’ fees and hospital stays and convalescence.
  • In the US carriers can drop your coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Canada's health care system works "pretty damn well"


No, our health care system is not perfect. Wait times can be long if you’re not knocking on heaven’s door. If there’s an underlying problem, it’s our taking this massive system for granted and seeing only the faults. Canada’s health care saves and improves lives without the attendant anxiety of how we will afford it.

Still room for improvement in hospital bed emergency wait times


Although wait times at the hospital’s Civic and General campuses are improving, there are still a small number of patients who must wait 48 hours in the emergency department for a hospital bed. At the Civic, as of July, 90 per cent of emergency room patients who needed to be admitted waited 29.6 hours or less. At the General, that wait was 23.5 hours or less. In 2011-2012, Civic patients who needed to be admitted were waiting up to 40 hours and General campus patients were waiting up to 29 hours. The waits for patients who do not need to be admitted are much shorter.

The language of these news releases are intended to get people upset:

Health ministers meeting a golden opportunity for Canada'sseniors, CMA says
"Long wait times for surgery, diagnosis or emergency room care are not the price we ...  The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians.

For example, the health system is currently warehousing seniors in hospital beds across the country because long-term or home care services are not available.  About three million hospital beds a year are occupied this way at a cost of $1,000 a day. A third of those beds are occupied by dementia patients. The CMA has calculated this is costing $2.3 billion a year that could be better spent on health care.

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