Monthly Archives: March 2013

OHIP to No-HIP

Ontario Health Care is continuously under scrutiny for how the close to $50 Billion is spent providing for sick Ontarians.  It is more apparent that preventative care and health education is needed to allow the money budgeted go to those that provide the care to the sick.  A very quiet change took place in OHIP funding at the start of the year, with the news that the annual check up with your family doctor is no longer going to be free.  It was so quiet that the Ontario Government chose NOT advertise the huge change in the same manner that we see countless TV ads for all day kindergarten to parents or commercials to students reminding them to apply for their Student tuition refund.  Nope, no ads on what the the biggest change in how we stay healthy.  Many may have seen this coming as more restrictions are placed on visits to a GP.  One visit per ‘health concern’, no more having quality time with your doctor to talk about a few heath issues, the 30 minute appointment as we know it maybe history.

Doctors are very busy and in demand, yet many Ontarians do not have a family GP.  There is a movement in the health care community to get to a preventative care system and not one of reactive health care.  With the removal of annual physical exams as a ‘free service’ of OHIP, preventative care takes a hit.  What makes this harder to take is that it was sneaked through by the Ontario Government, leaving many with a state of shock when faced with paying for something that is an important part of our health care system.

While I have not been able to locate what someone, between the ages of 18 and 64, would pay for the annual check up, if requested, current OHIP billing could suggest that clients could be billed the $77 that Doctors billed OHIP prior to the changes that took place January 1st.

Changes are required with our current health care system, Ontario must become patient centred not a bureaucratic system,  to one where hospitals will get funding for all procedures and Doctors, Nurses and everyone associated with Ontario Health system can feel they are empowered to treat the person.   The PC Party of Ontario has outlined Patient Centred Care and a route for a Healthier Ontario with new approaches that ensure all Ontarians receive care but we also plan for future care with knowledge, techniques and newer and better medication.

A healthier Ontario involves preventative care, not just reactive care.  Reduced tiers of medical administration allows money to go to patient centred care and to hospitals and health hubs to provide the care that suit their patients.  People of Ontario will benefit with greater funding to expanded home care, ‘closer to home’ community care and services that educate proper use of ER services for those that need it in an emergency, not hours after arriving in the ER.

For our dedicated Health Care providers to do the work they do, Ontario needs a government that will support and promote health care, not health scare.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97 and at www.robertdekker.ca.  Please follow me and send me your thoughts on this and other posts to rob@robertdekker.ca.

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A Tale of Two Consultations

The City of Ottawa has embarked on two different paths for consulting with the public for the future of Ottawa.

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The first path has been in the works for the past four years as the City has embarked on a new CDP for Centretown.  The Centretown Citizen’s Community Association, Heritage Ottawa and the CCOC have been on this since day one.  On the other side of the coin has been the developers who also have a vested interest in what the future of Centretown will look like and what can indeed be built and where it can be built.  Now this is a very strange coin as it has three sides – the 3rd side is the City, what is it they want to see happen in the downtown core?

The Planning Committee will be tabling the Final Draft of the Centretown Community Design Plan on March 26th.  Earlier in February the City revealed what is to be the CDP that will define Centretown to the CCCA, the CCOC, developers and other interested parties. What happened at the ‘reveal’ was very interesting.   It was clear from this meeting that the three sides of this discussion would not be able to agree on what the final outcome would look like.  In fact I can say that the only agreement in the room was that the City got what it wanted leaving everyone else to throw up their arms and say “what the heck did we just spend the last four years working on?”  The comments I made on behalf of the CCCA are found here as posted on the Centretown news website, http://www.centretownnews.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3694&Itemid=94.  Whether this outcome is the initiative needed for the community and developers to work together to change the CDP  is yet to be seen – but they start with one common reaction of disbelief and dumfoundedness.

The second path is for Liveable Ottawa, planning the entire city well into the next 20 years.  On first glance this consultation seems to be achieving what it wants.  Thousands of online surveys have been completed and over 200 people participated in a consultative process ranging on a wide scope of topics. The public consultation was very well organized and it kept to the timetable that was promised – a very good start to this process.

I have had my concerns about the representation of urban Ottawa on the Community Panel for a Liveable Ottawa, and it seems that others in the core have as well.  About half of the attendees represented the urban centres of the city; they came to have their ‘urban’ concerns heard.  Rural and suburban residents split the other half taking part.  In this process what surprised me is that urbanites are not that different in what they want to see Ottawa become.  And I think the rural residents felt comforted by comments from urbanites who feel that rural Ottawa has a character of its own that should be protected.

What happens to either consultation is yet to be seen. The Centretown CDP will be hard fought for by the community and developers against a city plan that did not take into consideration any suggestions from either side.  The whole city will have to wait until the city releases the preliminary report based on comments and surveys submitted for what a Liveable Ottawa cold look like.  From my observations, it does not look like the City will be able to ignore or sidestep what the citizens of this City are saying.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97 and at www.robertdekker.ca.  Please follow me and send me your thoughts on this and other posts to rob@robertdekker.ca.