Ontario doctors vs. the Ontario government: the public deserves better

Maaike de Vries and Jonathan Gravel

Last week, taking in the failed negotiations between the MOHLTC and the OMA, Dr. Mario Elia voiced his thoughts in the Healthy Debate column: “Ontario doctors vs. Ontario government: we need better”. The ‘we’ in Dr. Elia’s title refers to the collective group of physicians represented by the OMA, and his arguments draw attention to

Ontario doctors vs. the Ontario government: we need better

Mario Elia

Like most Ontario physicians, I’ve spent the past few days trying to digest our failed negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). I don’t typically consider myself to be someone who is particularly passionate about matters of remuneration. I generally feel I’m paid adequately for the services I provide, and I think most physicians

Could incentives be the answer to resident burnout?

Kieran Quinn

Within our hospital walls there rages a nightly war in the Emergency Department. The front-line soldiers (a.k.a. ‘residents’ – medical doctors still in the throes of training) work endlessly through the night to admit patients to hospital and provide care to those in need. On occasion, the combination of consistently overburdened teams and overworked residents

Is Canada’s medical malpractice system working?

Starting next year, doctors’ malpractice insurance in most parts of the country will cost a lot more – more than doubling in many places. Fortunately for physicians, however, that will affect provincial health budgets more than their own practices. Most doctors are covered by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), a non-profit mutual defence organization

Are family doctors cherry picking patients?

When Anne Lyddiatt’s family doctor retired, she went looking for a new one.  The Ingersoll, Ontario resident thought she’d found one for herself, her two daughters, and her granddaughter, and they filled out application forms with their health information. But only one of the four was accepted: the daughter who had no chronic conditions. “When

Do health care workers have a duty to treat Ebola victims?

Maureen Taylor

Every decade or so, a new or exotic infectious disease boards a flight and lands at a Western hospital, and suddenly ethical questions of risks to health care workers and “duty to treat” are front and centre. In the 1980’s and 90’s it was HIV/AIDS.  In 2003 it was SARS.  Today it’s Ebola. There is no question the

Changes to temporary foreign worker program have unintended impacts on doctors

Reports of low-skilled Canadian workers being replaced with those from other countries spurred changes earlier this year to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. But they’ve made it harder for areas in need of physicians as well. The system was overhauled this summer after reports that companies were misusing the program, with Canadian workers at RBC and

Keeping doctors where we need them

Maria Matthews Healthy Debate

How do we get more doctors to practice in rural communities?  This has been a long standing challenge in Canada — getting physicians to work where we need them — especially in provinces with large rural populations.  Policy makers have created and implemented some promising solutions, but until recently, there has been little evidence on

Should the public know how much doctors are paid?

The United States began releasing the Medicare payments it made to individual doctors on April 9, a move that sparked sensational headlines and debates about privacy. The data offer insights into the $77 billion paid by Medicare’s fee-for-service program to more than 880,000 health care professionals in 2012. Should Canadian provinces follow the U.S.’s lead and publicly

Family medicine attracts record number of graduates

Family doctor

Family medicine was a popular choice among medical graduates in the 1980s, when Roger Strasser was training at The University of Western Ontario. “The residents had almost a missionary zeal that they were going to be family doctors,” he says. He shared their passion, becoming a family physician. But when he returned to Canada in 2002, after going back

Can Kaiser Permanente’s success be replicated in Canada?

Michael Schull

I recently attended a briefing of Ontario health system stakeholders by representatives of the famed Kaiser Permanente Health System, often called America’s leading nonprofit integrated health plan. Kaiser Permanente representatives are regularly invited to Ontario to provide advice (and maybe hope) to the rest of us that health system reforms could produce the same sort

Tensions around physicians and environmental advocacy

A poll of Canadians from earlier this year found that the environment ranks as the third most important issue to us, behind the economy and health care. In fact, Canadians are quite divided in their opinions about the environment and what we ought to be doing to protect natural resources and regulate environmental pollutants. Some of

A 15 million-dollar case for reforming medical malpractice in Canada

Five years after her life irreversibly changed, Danielle Boyd won her case and received one of the highest medical malpractice payouts in Canadian history. The agreed-upon facts: Dr. Edington, a rural family physician who also practices anesthesia, obstetrics, and emergency medicine, saw then 24 year-old patient Ms. Boyd in the Hanover ER at a little

Physician health: reducing stigma and improving care

John Bradford always prided himself on being psychologically tough. After all, he needed to be. As one of Canada’s top forensic psychiatrists, he analyzed some of the country’s most high-profile murderers including Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka and Robert Pickton. In order to keep healthy and reduce stress, Bradford exercised regularly and played competitive squash and

Medical marijuana: what doctors need to know about Canada’s new rules

Medical marijuana

Herbal marijuana is not an approved drug in Canada, but court rulings have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a physician. On April 1st, Canada’s current regulatory system for medical marijuana will be replaced entirely by a new set of rules. These new regulations will have important implications for