Premier Higgs recently said what many thoughtful people have expressed for years; the news report made it sound like he was blaming MLAs for issues in economic progress in New Brunswick. And social media then picked it up and had concerns expressed about language and culture. Pity the poor public that is reliant only on sound bytes and headlines.
Health Care Reform is a topic that is discussed in many important places in New Brunswick; in government, in educational sessions, in association meetings, by the Medical Society, in Think Tanks, and at Tim Horton’s. The fact that the current expression is Health Care Reform suggests that the problems and issues are not simply cosmetic and that they need a major push to change! It also suggests that established methods are failing us, and they are. Read more here
Clinical Laboratory Consolidations in New Brunswick
The Minister of Health has given the green light to inviting proposals to plan a consolidation of Clinical Laboratory Services in New Brunswick. Great idea for all the right reasons!
In 1962 I was allowed each Friday afternoon to visit the Lab at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital where the Chief Technologist was a personal friend. I learned the basics of how hospital labs work, learned how to do Haemoglobin tests with a hand-held device, and learned how to use pipettes and test tubes. That was sufficiently fascinating that I determined to choose Medical Lab Technology as a career. Later in my development my career path changed but the memories remain!
In the 1980’s, visionaries in Ontario could see the impact on health care that would be brought by new technologies and computerization together with predicted labor supply issues and consolidation of hospital and health programs. So we saw the beginnings of the development of large central labs springing up in the population centres. This enabled highly expensive, state of the art equipment to be consolidated where it could be used around the clock, seven days per week. Read more here
Each year in New Brunswick the Department of Health publishes physician payments from Medicare, the responsible thing to do from a public accountability perspective. Physicians constitute a highly respected profession in which the public invests enormous trust in their practice and professional activity. That the majority of their professional billings come from the provincial government through the Medicare Branch suggests that public disclosure is essential. As a principle, all who draw income from the public purse should have their government-paid compensation fully disclosed.
The numbers reported in December 2019 had some unique characteristics because for the first time a family doctor was the leader in Medicare billings, reported at nearly $1.7 million. The public has come to anticipate billings by high-earning specialties in that range, but this was the first time for a family physician. The CBC report went on to note that this was the first year that a female physician led the earnings list. Read more here
Health Care Reform in New Brunswick: some tips for policy-makers
The provincial government has sent many signals promising that we would see major health care reform in New Brunswick in January 2020. So what will it look like really?
Regionalization of hospitals in 1992 was the last time that the health care system in New Brunswick was truly shaken up. It is true that the two health authorities were formed long after that but the public hardly noticed except to note that there was a division between French and English. Read more here
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.