Wednesday, January 27, 2010

McGuinty Liberals admit "we can't deliver the best possible care within every Ontario community"


Karen Howlett wrote in "Ontario Premier shifts blame for emergency-room closings;
Opposition calls for review of health agencies that made decision
", (Globe and Mail, Jan.27, 2010, here):

"Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is distancing his government from the controversial closing of emergency departments in two hospitals, saying it was a provincially appointed health agency that made the decision.

The Premier was commenting for the first time on stories in The Globe and Mail about a Fort Erie teenager who was fatally injured in a car accident on Boxing Day. Reilly Anzovino's family has called for a coroner's inquest to determine whether the 18-year-old college student might still be alive if the emergency department at the local hospital had still been open.

"We rely on the best advice that we get from people on the ground, from the people who work in our Local Health Integration Networks," Mr. McGuinty told reporters yesterday. "The changes that were made there were all with a view to ensuring that we provide the best possible care."

But opposition members accuse the Premier of trying to hide behind the very bureaucracy created by his government and are calling for a review of all 14 Local Health Integration Networks, or LHINs, that control hospitals across Ontario.

Douglas Memorial Hospital in Fort Erie permanently closed its emergency department last September, forcing the ambulance to take nearly twice as long to transport Ms. Anzovino to the next nearest hospital in Welland. She died shortly before the ambulance arrived at the hospital.

Mr. McGuinty said he would welcome a coroner's inquest. But he said the "guiding imperative" that is driving many hospitals across Ontario to restructure is the stark reality that the government cannot afford the best health care in every single community.

The LHIN responsible for the Niagara Health System and its seven hospitals approved a restructuring plan that included converting the emergency departments in Fort Erie and Port Colborne into 24-hour urgent care centres. Niagara Health, which is awash in red ink, is trying to find $28-million in cost savings.

Christine Elliott, health critic for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, said Mr. McGuinty is quick to take credit when the news is good while blaming the LHINs for every "seemingly" bad decision.

"I think the Premier is trying to have his cake and eat it, too," she said.

Both she and New Democrat health critic France Gélinas called for a review of the LHINs created four years ago as part of a plan to hand over control of hospitals to local appointees.

The LHINs have enormous responsibilities for deciding how to spend scarce health-care dollars, but their boards of directors appointed by the province do not have the expertise or the tools to properly discharge these duties, Ms. Gélinas said.

"They are putting quality care at risk and also people's lives at risk with their decisions," she said. "

Did you read the opening line in the above story? Read it again!! McGuinty's now pretending HE DIDN'T KNOW know about the ER's which his own government closed in Niagara!

It's all the LHIN's fault!!!!

Do you laugh, or cry, at McGuinty's utterly shameless Liberal health care duplicity?

Doesn't McGuinty know - or did he conveniently forget - that David Caplan refused to get involved in the Niagara LHIN's decision to implement the NHS's Kitts HIP plan?

Didn't Niagara Liberal MPP's Jim Bradley or Kim Craitor ever mention this to McGuinty?!

Has the Liberal government of Ontario suddenly developed a case of mass political amnesia?



The Toronto Star, Jan.26, 2010, had a CP story, "McGuinty defends closure of Fort Erie hospital emergency room", here:

"Premier Dalton McGuinty is defending the decision to close the emergency room in Fort Erie, saying the province can't afford to provide every service in every community.

McGuinty says he doesn't want to pre-judge the outcome of an expected coroner's inquest into the death of Reilly Anzovino following a Boxing Day car accident.

The 18-year-old died as the ambulance carrying her was travelling more than 40 kilometres to Welland because the emergency department in Fort Erie had been closed.

The Ontario Health Coalition says the teen's death raises questions about whether closing the emergency room in Fort Erie led to an avoidable fatality.

McGuinty says it was the local health integration network that advised the government to close the Fort Erie emergency room.

He says hospital funding has increased 43 per cent since the Liberals came to power in 2003, but the government must decide which services it can afford to provide in which communities.

The premier also says there's nothing unusual in hospitals deciding to postpone elective surgeries until after their fiscal year end to avoid running deficits, which are illegal under Ontario law."
There's 'nothing unusual' in postponing elective surgeries (because they're not really important, eh?), in order to satisfy some Liberal politician's accounting edict?!


It is this kind of ignorant, smug, wrong-headed comment that is indicative of McGuinty's failing Liberal health care ideology.

Think about it: McGuinty, unbelievably, sees it as quite normal that elective surgeries are on a lower priority than politically-mandated accounting details!

McGuinty sees NOTHING UNUSUAL in putting a real patient's need below that of the state's accounting decrees! That McGuinty sees this as just a plain ole' truth, just a regular ole' way of doin' things, is WHY THESE LIBERALS ARE INCOMPETENT.

And, though the Star claims McGuinty doesn't want to "pre-judge the outcome" of the coroner's inquest, that's exactly what McGuinty has already done, as seen in the St.Catharines Standard story by Jonathan Jenkins, further below: whatever the coroner may recommend, McGuinty's already saying he won't change his mind!!



Adam Radwanski wrote in "A life lost, a potential poster girl against hospital restructuring found". (Globe and Mail. Jan.25, 2010, here)

"If a coroner launches a full inquest into the holiday-season death of Reilly Anzovino, it will be about more than whether one life could have been saved.

As reported in Saturday's Globe, the manner in which the 18-year-old died - in an ambulance en route to a hospital some distance away, because the emergency rooms in the hospital closest to the scene of her car accident recently stopped providing 24-hour emergency service - has caused considerable unrest in the Niagara area where she lived. And at stake might be one of the more controversial ways Ontario is supposed to be making its health-care system sustainable, not just in that region but provincewide.

Ask most of the people charged with devising health-care policy - from provincial officials to senior consultants to representatives of the Ontario Hospital Association - about how to get costs under control and the conversation will likely turn to "integration."

The word takes on different meanings, and in some cases it just refers to better co-ordination between health-care centres and between different medical professionals. But in many instances, it means attempting to improve efficiency by limiting the overlap in services offered by hospitals in close proximity to one another.

The idea is that it's both less expensive for taxpayers and better for patients to entrust certain services to one hospital that's well-equipped to deliver them, rather than several hospitals that deliver them less well.

The impediment to this sort of reform, even for governments that fervently believe in its merits, is that it's a public-relations nightmare. Nobody wants to hear that the nearest hospital is being downgraded or closed, and many local interests - doctors, hospital boards and especially politicians - will warn that the government's heartlessness will lead to lost lives.

In Ms. Anzovino, merger opponents may have the perfect poster girl the next time they want to put a face to those fears.

Her death sounds exactly like the sort of horror story we're always warned about. Ms. Anzovino, young and by all accounts extremely likeable, makes an incredibly sympathetic victim. And from the government's perspective, it could hardly have happened in a worse place.

The Niagara region is heralded by some insiders as a model for integration. For its willingness to make some tough decisions - decisions such as shifting services from the modest hospital in Ms. Anzovino's hometown of Fort Erie and another one down the road in Port Colborne to the more modern facility in nearby Welland - it's described by Ontario Hospital Association president Tom Closson as being "at the leading edge of change."

It also happens to be at the leading edge of protest. By the account of one former provincial health official, Niagara is "one of - if not the most - political health-care environments in the province."

Integration advocates attribute that to a particularly entrenched group of doctors. Others might contend it's because the province, and local health officials, have been more aggressive than elsewhere in trampling over local objections to reforms. In any event, it's an area where it's possible to get cross-partisan criticism of contentious health reforms, because even populist Liberal MPP Kim Craitor is prepared to wade in.

There is probably nowhere in the province where there would be more people ready to say "I told you so" if there proves any evidence that closing emergency rooms caused a teenager's death.

Of course, it may be that the coroner - if he moves forward with an inquest - will find no such thing. Perhaps the few minutes extra that it took to get to Welland made no difference. Or maybe, as defenders of the cutbacks suggest, the ERs in Port Colborne and Fort Erie would never have been equipped to save her, even if they'd been running as before.

But if the mergers bear even a hint of responsibility, it won't just matter in Niagara. The next time the government tries to merge services in some other corner of Ontario, any enterprising local politician will be invoking Ms. Anzovino's name in every second sentence.

The government already steps carefully on most attempts at merging services; there's a reason why many of the Local Health Integration Networks set up by the Liberals are too toothless to integrate much of anything. By the time this saga has played out, it may be time to move on to a different model of cost containment."

'A different model of cost containment'? Without any competitive choice given to the consumer, in a closed, McGuinty-run health monopoly?! How about citizens having the freedom of not having to deal with the incompetence of the Liberal-controlled LHIN's at all? The government can 'contain costs' - if that, and not actual healthcare, is their goal - by allowing citizens to buy their own non-McGuinty-controlled insurance.

And why should we be invoking just Anzovino's name, unfortunately, she is but the latest in a long string of victims of Liberal healthcare duplicity (see here). How about invoking the already-forgotten Suzanne Aucoin? How about Don Davis, or Helen Harris, or Shona Holmes (who luckily survived McGuinty's health care horror, only to be abused by the defenders of medicare)?
The Liberals dismissed them all as anomalies!



And lastly...

Jonathan Jenkins wrote "McGuinty would welcome inquest into teen's death "(St.Catharines Standard, Jan.27, 2010, here).

Oddly, the same story by the same reporter was also in the Toronto Sun - with a different (here) headline: the Sun's story headline was: "Did hospital closures lead to teen's death?"


Interesting local spin - eh?! - on the choice of headline wording from the Liberal-fawning St.Catharines Standard; because the story ISN'T about McGuinty being all agreeable and welcoming and nice and open - it's about whether McGuinty's ideology led to an Ontario girl's death.

The Standard's headline scribes obviously couldn't, what, bring themselves to portray McGuinty's Liberalism in a bad light?! That won't look good on local healthcare monopolist Good Ole Jimmy Bradley! Can't have that.

But, interestingly, besides spelling Kim Craitor's name incorrectly as Craiter, the Sun's story omitted (but the Standard's included) what I believe to be the most crucial indicator of Dalton McGuinty's admitted Liberal healthcare duplicity - this line:

"The minister of health has said we can't deliver the best possible care within every Ontario community," the premier said."
This damning quote from McGuinty says a hell of a lot about McGuinty's smarmy, failing, ideological health monopolism. It should be remembered by all who once believed in any Ontario Liberal's snake-oil health care promises.

Read it again.

It'll make you sick: McGuinty admits his Liberal government runs an asymetrical health care system: universally unequal. Promise one thing; deliver something else; bait and switch: call it what ever you want - but, unwittingly, McGuinty's admitted it.

This isn't the first time that a Liberal has acknowledged the limitations of their single-payer ideology - George Smitherman essentially said the same thing in a St.Catharines Standard story, Aug.11. 2005 (also here, pg.1); after admitting 'we can't do it all', Smitherman nevertheless continued the charade that they can (!), and merrily continued to force his despotic health monopolism!

McGuinty - the charlatan - now admits his ideological government can't deliver his single-payer-health-monopoly's promises equally, everywhere, to all!

But look closely: McGuinty coyly says that the health minister said that - you see this slimy method of operation!? Which health minister said this - the current one, Deb Matthews? When did she say that? Did anyone ask?!

I looked back, and McGuinty was possibly (?) referring to Deb Matthews' comments in Karen Howlett's Jan.23, 2010 Globe and Mail story "Teen's death ignites debate over emergency room closures", (here) where Howlett wrote:

"Hospitals do not all offer the same services, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said in an interview. “It's important that the public understands that if you want to take advantage of the best health care, we can't provide that in every single community.” "


"Ms. Matthews, however, maintained that closing the emergency departments was about providing better quality health care, not saving money. She said Douglas Memorial is not equipped to handle serious emergencies and often had to divert patients to other hospitals in the Niagara region or, in some cases, across the border to Buffalo.

“I am absolutely convinced that the people in Niagara have better quality health care now than they did before,” Ms. Matthews said."

A Liberal actually acknowledged that their Ontario government sends patients to the States, to Buffalo?! Someone, call Michael Moore and Mike Dukakis!

Matthews here also admits her Liberals haven't properly equipped Douglas Memorial, either; yet McGuinty's single-payer-Liberal-despotism contributed, if not forced, the south Niagara hospitals to deteriorate - counting on the fact that the Americans would be there to pick up the slack. What hypocrisy from Dalton's smug Liberal America bashers.

Has Matthews or any other McGuintyite admitted as much since 2003?

Now Deb Matthews tells us she can't provide the best health care in every community?!

Now Deb Matthews, unbelievably, wants to revise history to make us think that closing the hospital ER's in Niagara - a result of the Smitherman-Liberal-instigated,  Jack Kitts-reviewed, and Liberal-LHIN-approved HIP plan - WAS NOT about saving money!

But that's EXACTLY what it was about!! It was all about McGuinty's Liberals cutting budgets and finding 'savings'!! It was ALL ABOUT cutting the NHS's healthcare spending!

This has George Smitherman's stink ALL OVER IT.

What Liberal liars!!

Even Dr. Kitts (who wrote the HIP review report) said in Oct.2008 that the NHS was already, undeniably, underfunded - (see here) , where I wrote:

"So now, Kitts tells us what had already been obvious, and what the McGuinty Liberals have always denied, and attempted to cover up: that the NHS is underfunded.
“The shortage of cash has resulted in the deferral of plant and equipment expenditures,” Kitts stated about the NHS in his written report to the LHIN. “While some capital investments can be deferred, they likely cannot be eliminated, and inappropriate business and clinical decisions may be made in the meantime.” The Liberals have been UNDERfunding the NHS for years – the question now is, has the “shortage of cash” for capital investments - or for operating budgets – ALREADY caused “inappropriate” business or clinical decisions affecting patient health? How will we ever know? Are we just supposed to believe that the systemic problems in the NHS will magically disappear when the new hospital is built - or will the same problems just transfer over there?"

"INAPPROPRIATE DECISIONS MAY BE MADE", Dr. Kitts had forewarned: now let's see McGuinty's Liberals backtrack, defending themselves that they didn't know anything about the predictable blowback to their monopolistic health ideology!!

The Liberals admit "we can't deliver" to all Ontarians, contrary to McGuinty's smarmy election propaganda: you ever remember McGuinty or Kim Craitor or Jim Bradley promising that ?!!

The incompetent Liberals admit they can't deliver - yet these Liberal despots also PREVENT YOU from being able to buy YOUR OWN health care services.
McGuinty says his Liberals can't deliver on their health care promises/lies/deceptions everywhere in Ontario - YET THAT DIDN'T STOP HIM FROM TAXING the crap out of us - no matter where we lived.

And this is the ultimate point:

McGUINTY - fully aware that his Liberals can't - as Smitherman already admitted five years ago - 'do it all' , nevertheless knowingly continued to perpetuate his no-other-choice monopolistic Liberal healthcare duplicity, consequences be damned.

This is an outrage.

Dalton McGuinty and his Liberals should be held criminally liable for deaths that occur due to their unaccountable political monopolist ideology: if you want to champion a universal health care system for political gain, peddling the political fabrication that it's a Liberal utopia where all care is equally available to everyone everywhere, and if you want to force a single-payer, state-run monopoly to do that, banning citizens from insuring themselves, then you simply can't say "oh, I wasn't aware of the consequences of my ideologically monopolist decisions."

McGuinty, the lying Liberal leader, knew, or should have known: in either case, he'd be negligent, and guilty.

Jenkins' story, from the Jan.27, 2010 St.Catharines Standard:
"An inquest into whether emergency room closures in Niagara contributed to teenager Reilly Anzovino's death would be welcome, but that doesn't mean he would reverse those decisions if the inquest recommended it, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.

"First of all, my thoughts are with the family of the young girl that lost her life," McGuinty said.

"I understand there might be a coroner's inquest connected to this. If there were, we would welcome that and we would welcome any recommendations that came from that," he said.

Anzovino, 18, died Dec. 27 after a car she was a passenger in crashed near Nigh Road and Highway 3 near the Fort Erie-Port Colborne boundary.

Friends and family of the Fort Erie teen asked if the Local Health Integration Network's decision t close the Fort Erie and Port Colborne hospital emergency rooms may have left her too far from medical help.

The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN closed the two emergency rooms to save money.
Anzovino died en route to the Welland hospital, a trip that took just under 20 minutes.

"I'm not going to speculate on the outcome of any potential inquest," McGuinty said.

"But I can say we are always motivated by a desire to ensure we're delivering the best possible care to our families and as close as possible to home," he said.

"The minister of health has said we can't deliver the best possible care within every Ontario community," the premier said.

"We have to localize some of that expertise, that excellence in different parts of the province."

McGuinty's own backbench MPP from Niagara Falls, Kim Craitor, called for the coroner's inquest to be held, along with Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and Welland NDP MPP Peter Kormos.

The Ontario Federation of Labour joined that call Tuesday.

"It's not enough to wring our hands over this tragedy," OFL president Sid Ryan said in a statement. "We have to take concrete action to prevent this kind of thing from happening again."

Read the opening line again:

"An inquest into whether emergency room closures in Niagara contributed to teenager Reilly Anzovino's death would be welcome, but that doesn't mean he would reverse those decisions if the inquest recommended it, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday."

This smug Liberal is already saying 'yeah, inquest... whatever... I don't care what they say, I ain't changing my mind.' Unreal. Truly unbelievable. McGuinty calculated that he could write off the south half of Niagara, make cuts which he then pretended he didn't, and that no-one'd give a shit.

This serial Liberal liar can't continue to claim he didn't know about any of this and deny his own political complicity.

What McGuinty needs is jail time.

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