(June, 2003) - The Health Care/Wealth Care Initiative asks the question,
"is it all about money?," a rhetorical reminder that it is supposed to be
all about health. A new BANNERLINE publication chronicles not just an
extraordinary 2002 health conference, but sets the stage for an
international common sense assault on health system mismanagement.
early 2002, Dr. Don Nixdorf, executive director of our client, the
British Columbia Chiropractic Association, came to us with an idea for a
conference of health insurers, government administrators, noted
economists, business people, labour leaders and health professionals. The
September conference was sponsored by Scotiabank, Pacific Blue Cross, and
John Ross Insurance.
Most speakers emphasized that we spend enough money on
health, but we don't spend it wisely. The conference has led to the
establishment of a long term "Initiative." More will be heard in due
Here are the major themes of the initiative:
Outcomes-based planning means that
patients would immediately be directed toward the most-effective and
least costly treatment. Why are we afraid of results-based methodology
Administrative change does not improve
healing - getting patients better, faster. Can we get injured or ill
people back to productive lives and work more expeditiously, with less
cost for them and the system?
How can we end the shell game of
cutting specific costs and services from one budget, and then transfer
these responsibilities to other insurers, employers and the public?
Moving problems does not treat the patient.
Has patient care become merely an
excuse to enrich health professionals, equipment manufacturers,
administrators, pharmaceutical companies, consultants, insurers,
contractors and suppliers?
The health system is frequently more
concerned about catering to professional and employee monopolies than it
is in quality, economical patient care.
Why does the "health crisis" disappear
from news columns after professional contracts get signed?
According to the Canadian Medical
Association, 40 cents of the payroll dollar is attributable to health
costs, including lost employee time due to illness and injury.
Since 30 per cent of all visits to
medical doctors and health professionals are for spine related illnesses
and injuries, why does the system not insist that primary diagnoses and
care is delivered by those most thoroughly trained to recognize and
treat these problems?
The gatekeeper role exclusively held
by medical doctors frequently puts them in position of diagnosing and/or
treating conditions for which they have little or no qualifications or
expertise. Often, the "referral" role of MDs with respect to
specialists, dietitians, physiotherapists and other professionals,
simply compounds the costs, delays treatment and extends patient
There should be far more effective use
of nurse practitioners, naturopaths, chiropractors, podiatrists and
other health professionals. Expanding the coverage of Medicare to
encourage the use of these services would actually save substantial
amounts of money.
As much as 50 per cent of all the
drugs prescribed in Canada are wasted. Dramatic action is necessary to
more accurately prescribe the proper pharmaceutical for each patient and
each condition, and to curtail a tendency to keep experimenting "until
we get it right." Misuse of drugs has become a major contributor to
disease in Canada, and an alarming factor in cause of death statistics.
Health Care/Wealth Care Initiative - Canada
Bannerline Corporate Communications
Bank of Canada Building
777-900 West Hastings Street
VANCOUVER, B.C. V7C 1E5 Canada
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