A contributor named Bubbie just wrote a comment to my October 24, 2011 blog post Nova Scotia Health Care: is management, not money, the real issue?
I have approved Bubbie’s comment for that page and thought it so insightful I am also posting it here, on its own, because it explains a lot. Doctors across Nova Scotia have told me that health care administrators are only responsible for managing a budget, not patient outcomes. We, the public, foolishly assumed that helping ill people get better was an administrator’s primary function. Alas, patient care, at best, is a secondary consideration.
Read this summary of the situation:
I inquired of another renowned health researcher about all of the reports (Corpus Sanchez, Romanow, The Ross Reort, etc.) that have been done and why hardly any of the recommendations have never been implemented. It was disheartening, to say the least. Here is his reply;
Thank you for your inquiry about costs. I doubt that you will have much success determining report costs. I think that is a shame, not because I think reports are a waste of money, but because I think it is money well spent.
These reports are the only Quality Control efforts in government. In an accountable government, a fixed amount would be spent on Evaluation of Programs and Quality of Care. Then we could track progress (or fallback) in care for everyone – including the elderly.
Dr. John Ross did us a favor. He highlighted the fact that the Nova Scotia Ministry of Health does not track ANY expenditures – let alone the cost of his report. Essentially, the Finance Act does not require it. I contacted the Finance Minister about inaccuracies in the Annual Report from the Minister of Education. The response was that the Finance Act only requires the Minister to SUBMIT a report. The law does not require it to be accurate.
Hiding government cost is standard practice in Eastern Canada. Ontario specifically exempts all hospitals from the Freedom of Information Act, so the public cannot even ASK how health authorities spend their budgets.
You may wish to contact Dr. John Ross. The government usually requires evaluators to sign a contract, preventing them from releasing cost information. If not, Dr. Ross might provide you with some insight. He is proud of the work he did. And I think he deserves credit for at least TRYING to spend health dollars more wisely.