Sunday, January 6, 2008

Medicare's secretive death rates and Liberal unaccountability

For St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley's attention:

D.G. Smith wrote in “What is Welland death rate?”, (Niagara This Week, Jan.4, 2008):

“When the Canadian Institute for Health Information published their mortality report for hospitals across the country, it was noted St. Catharine’s General Hospital made the list of five worst hospitals in the country. Noting this, I contacted the Institute and asked if they had the mortality rate for the Welland Hospital. I received the following reply;
“Because the Welland Hospital did not have at least 2,500 qualifying cases during each of the years in the study period, it is only included in the Regional results, not the individual results. Due to its lower volume the results for it individually would not be statistically precise.” Have hospitals now gone to Qualifying and Lower volumes? This is like Air Miles.
Regardless of the results I believe the people of Welland should know the Welland Hospital’s mortality rate. Since it was disclosed by the institute, administrators have known their respective hospital mortality rate figures for a number of years yet did not reveal them. The institute states all hospitals must make public those rates. What are the Welland Hospital’s rates?”

Mr. Bradley, can you answer the questions posed in Smith’s letter? Do you have any comment or response to Smith’s letter?

Why did your Liberal government not launch an immediate investigation into your health-monopoly’s dismally high mortality–rate performance here in Niagara? Your government made it clear it is only considering a NHS governance review, ignoring the mortality–rate issue.

Can you verify whether or not the administrators in any of the Niagara Health System’s hospitals knew well beforehand of these high rates? If so, was your government notified, and what action was then undertaken?

Further to this same topic, Rob Janssen wrote in “Taxpayers are justified to want to keep the NHS accountable”, (St. Catharines Standard, Jan.5, 2008):

Re: NHS review pondered, The Standard, Dec. 7.

Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor was recently talking about overhauling the Niagara Health System.
Because of rapid yearly tax increases, the operating budgets of the Niagara Regional Police and other regional departments have been scrutinized.
But with the NHS, very little information is released. It is very secretive.
The vast majority of Niagara residents have no clue what is going on at the NHS. Our Niagara health-care system has serious problems and has an accumulated debt of $13 million.
Taxpayers are justified to keep these people accountable. Now the NHS is after the taxpayers again for a lot of money to pay for the new hospital. Where is that money going to?
There has been so much waste and mistakes; how can we trust the NHS to represent the interests of Niagara residents?”

Mr. Bradley, do you have any comment or response in regards to Janssen’s letter?

How can patients and taxpayers trust your Liberal government’s administration of Ontario’s entire monopoly health system, let alone trust its components, which are wrapped by a veil of secrecy, unaccountability, and legislated lack of alternatives?

Mr. Bradley, when did you first learn of the results of this CIHI report? As a cabinet-level Liberal MPP, did you have any prior knowledge of the findings contained in CIHI’s report before it was publicly released? Or, were you and your Liberal government unaware of the shockingly-high NHS mortality rate until CIHI’s report was actually released?

Also, the recent Ontario Auditor’s report revealed further widespread problems within your health monopoly.

Pursuant to both the Auditor’s, and CIHI’s, recent findings, will you and your Liberal government immediately call upon the Ontario Ombudsman’s office to launch a sweeping investigation into your government–run health monopoly?

No comments: