Sunday House Call, #588, October 9, 2016: Welcome to the Ontario Ministry of Health Gulag
Topics today include: The Ontario Ministry of Health is set to completely run roughshod over all aspects of the health care system from accessing patients’ personal medical information without warrant to empowering local bureaucrats to interfere with the physicians’ medical practices.
Ontario Liberals to Waste Millions More on the Expansion of Healthcare Bureaucracy with Today’s Bill 41 Announcement
Toronto, ON (October 6, 2016) — Today, the Ontario Liberal government is set to continue what may be its most destructive, scandal-in-waiting odyssey yet: the introduction of Bill 41. With the previous passage of Bill 119 (the Health Information Protection Act) in May, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) can now access any Ontario patient’s private medical record. Never before has a provincial government been able to do to this and even physicians are unclear as to why bureaucrats would require such far-reaching access. Long considered a patient’s private and personal domain, a medical record is now accessible, under law, by government appointed bureaucrats – and without a patient’s consent.
Bill 41, ironically called the Patients First Act, is the continuation of Bill 119, and had been introduced by the Liberal government as Bill 210 on June 2, 2016. Bill 210 died in September with Kathleen Wynne’s prorogation of the Legislature. It was reintroduced today as Bill 41. Once passed, Bill 41 will grant the MOHLTC absolute authority over anything and everything to do with Ontario’s healthcare system — from LHINs to home care to hospitals to private community-based medical clinics. Under this Act, provincial medical standards will be determined by politicians and bureaucrats rather than by medical experts.
The Liberal theme of prioritizing bureaucracy over frontline patient care is evident in its intent to create 80 or more new sub-LHINs. At a price tag of $90 million dollars a year, the LHINs were criticized just last year by the Auditor General as being an ineffective, expensive drain on healthcare. And yet, in a system already strained for funding, Wynne’s government is choosing to waste millions more on unnecessary middle management.
Under this new Bill, government-appointed investigators will have the legal right to enter physicians’ clinics and review any and all documents, including patients’ private medical health records. There are no clear regulations surrounding the conduct of these investigators nor is there any guarantee that the private information obtained will not be subject to public leaks.
“Accountability and transparency by all involved in the management and provision of patient care is important,” said Dr. Kulvinder Gill, leader of Concerned Ontario Doctors. “But Bill 41 is a direct threat to patient privacy, prioritizes bureaucracy over patient care and is yet another example of this Liberal government’s aggressive and overly paternalistic attitude towards Ontario patients and healthcare providers.”
Upon hearing many concerns from patients and healthcare providers, Concerned Ontario Doctors in collaboration with the Coalition of Ontario Doctors, have prepared an online petition. Ontarians have the opportunity to sign the petition and fight not only to preserve their healthcare system, but to prevent the Liberal government from entering the exam room of clinics across Ontario.