BC Court Challenge

There's legal challenge that could end Canadian Medicare as we know it, and it scheduled to go before the Supreme Court of British Columbia on September 6. 

The British Columbia provincial government is facing a lawsuit from a group of for-profit clinics led by former Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Brian Day, the owner of Vancouver’s for-profit Cambie Surgery Centre and the leading proponent of privatized health care. The group is seeking to strike down provincial health legislation that limits the for-profit delivery of medically necessary services, claiming that these rules violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The BC private clinics legal challenge represents a crossroads for Medicare. Canadian Doctors for Medicare is there as an intervener in the case to respond on behalf of physicians and supporters who want to ensure that the voices for our publicly-insured universal health care system are heard. CDM is part of a pro-Medicare intervener group that also includes the British Columbia Health Coalition, one physician and two patients.

We will be posting more information in the coming months here and at SaveMedicare.ca

 


Health Care Delivery Models

Within Canada’s publicly financed health care system, some physicians and other advocates are promoting delivery models that incorporate increasing pro-market elements including privatization, investor-ownership, commodification, commercialization, and profit beyond the provincially-approved fee schedules. Variants of these models already exist in Canada, and more are developing.

Provincial and territorial health policymakers are challenged to ensure that service capacity is sustainable, and that it meets the health care needs of Canadians. Policymakers are grappling with the questions of whether it matters who delivers health care, and whether private for-profit delivery should be allowed, even encouraged, within the public system. A framework for approaching these questions in a way that is transparent, thoughtful, and evidence-based is long overdue. Canadian Doctors for Medicare developed the following resources to support this process.

The Health Care Delivery Assessment Tool (HDAT) provides a systematic, criteria-based approach to assessing any proposed innovation within the publicly financed system. The tool assesses proposed innovations based on four sets of criteria with the following focuses:

  • Equitable access
  • High-quality care
  • Effective, clinically indicated services
  • Effective integration and system stewardship

 

At their 2014 General Council, the Canadian Medical Association passed a motion brought forward by CDM to develop and use of an HDAT-like system for health care innovation evaluation. The CMA recognized that in order to assess the impact of models of delivery that are increasingly prevalent in health care transformation, such as stand-alone clinics, community-based care and home care, the Canadian Medical Association requires policy tools capable of assessing and identifying barriers to quality, efficiency and equity in emerging models of health care delivery.

The second resource developed by CDM to assist policy makers with evaluating health care proposals and initiatives is the policy tool kit. This collection of tools will assist Canadian policymakers, the public, and the media in analyzing whether proposed models of market-driven healthcare delivery should be encouraged, regulated, or opposed. We begin with the premise that healthcare should be equitably accessed by all Canadians, regardless of ability to pay, and provide a framework for examining the ways in which private for-profit delivery of publicly financed services might affect that principle.

Read Principles and Toolkit for Assessing Healthcare Delivery Models.

Appropriateness

We need to make sure that as health professionals, we’re helping our patients make the best possible choices to improve their health. Prescriptions, procedures and tests that are the most effective, and are based on the best evidence, produce the best patient care and have the most value for money. Over the last 10 years, the biggest cost drivers in our health care system are utilization of drugs and diagnostics1 - with little evidence that we are any healthier as a result. In fact, overuse of medications and tests can result in unnecessary risks such as overexposure to radiation from testing, unnecessary, invasive follow-up procedures or problematic drug reactions, which can be avoided by appropriate care. Better choices can result in healthier citizens, and lower system costs.

Read the full policy paper 

Acute to Community Care

Governments across Canada have been talking about moving care out of hospitals and into the community for decades. Recent policy changes suggest that this trend is intensifying as technology allows more procedures to be done on an outpatient basis and acute care services are increasingly concentrated in large centres of excellence. Post-acute care is also shifting to the community, with more care being provided in the home or through community-based organizations instead of recovery or ongoing care occurring in hospital. How can governments, health care providers, and citizens ensure that this shift takes place in a way that preserves quality of health care services, access to services and equity of health outcomes?

Read our full policy paper

Subcategories

The Sustainability of Medicare

Simply shifting costs from governments to individuals does not make a healthcare system sustainable, even if it helps governments “control” spending. It simply downloads the cost of health care to individuals.

What does the evidence say about private, for-profit health care?

It’s not what you think.

What Canadian Health Care Can Really Learn from Europe and Beyond

Some participants in Canada’s ongoing debate about the organization and financing of health care have argued that additional private funding will improve health care outcomes in Canada. The most common claim is that we should model our financing system on the ones currently used in Europe. However, the idea that changing to the European financing model would solve our health care problems is a vast oversimplification.

In recent months some people in Canada, including the leadership of the Canadian Medical Association, have advocated for a shift away from hospital block funding towards “activity-based” funding. It is argued that Activity-Based Funding (ABF) would provide an incentive for hospitals and surgical facilities to improve productivity, thereby decreasing waiting times and costs.