On Mismanagement of Health Care

Nipawin - March 4, 2000 - By: Mario deSantis
every provincial premier agrees that healthcare is underfunded The Alberta government has just tabled The Health Protection Act Bill 11 which will allow
privately run for profit clinics. This legislation has been prompted by the governmental claim
that health care is underfunded and that the establishment of private clinics will protect the public
system. Federal Minister of Health Alan Rock has reservations about the introduction of this
legislation, however every provincial premier agrees that healthcare is underfunded.
politicians and incompetent bureaucrats
Our past articles have provided evidence that healthcare has been mismanaged for very many
years. Our inept politicians and incompetent bureaucrats have compounded the health care state
of confusion by blaming underfunding all along, rather than looking at themselves in the mirror.
While our flip-flop Premier Roy Romanow is preaching across Canada the gospel that Medicare
is underfunded by the federal government, I am happy to realise that few people in Saskatchewan
have the common sense to state that something is basically wrong with health care.
ongoing mismanagement of health resources Dr. Stan Oleksinski, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, has rightly stated that
the present mess in health care should be attributed to the ongoing mismanagement of health
resources(1), and Glen Beck, professor of health economics at the University of Saskatchewan,
has stated that the reciprocal blaming between health districts and the government over health
care funding cannot be sustained(2). Our health care articles have focused on Saskatchewan,
and I find relevant the fact that whatever I have stated for Saskatchewan, has Canadian wide
implications as well.
they didn't save a dime Friday morning, I have visited the CBC(3) Web site and I noticed that Nova Scotia has parallel
health care problems to Saskatchewan's. We integrated health services through the Regina
Hospital and instead, to save money, we incurred a $50 million overrun; in Halifax, the Nova
Scotia government merged four hospitals into the Queen Elizabeth II to save money and they
didn't save a dime. In the last few years we down sized health care workers in the name of a
re-engineering process called the Saskatchewan Health Information Network (SHIN) with the
result of having a shortage of nurses along with the flushing of some $40 million into the
toilette(4); in Nova Scotia, the Queen Elizabeth II hospital has an operating deficit of $26
millions and it has a debt of $140 million.
fictitious dollar savings Guess what? The Nova Scotia government knows that 70 percent of this hospital budget goes
toward salaries, so the strategic plan is to cut costs by cutting staff. Does it sound familiar?
Yes, it sounds very familiar, it is just the continuation of a corrupted governmental and
bureaucratic administration which trades people's lives for fictitious dollar savings.
  General reference: Articles by Mario deSantis published by North Central Internet News


Saskatchewan Healthcare: Breaking the Law & Mismanagement, by Mario deSantis, January 20, 2000


An advice to our leaders and bureaucrats: Stop managing by the number game and begin managing by your stories, by Mario deSantis, February 29, 2000


On February 10, 1999, Newsworld provided special coverage of health care in Canada. http://cbc.ca/news/indepth/healthcare/ Accessed March 3, 2000


Nursing Shortage: Shifting the blame for our own Incompetence, by Mario deSantis, November 27, 1999
---------Editor's Comment:

Mr. deSantis wrote this material Friday afternoon and forwarded it to Ensign for inclusion in the Saturday edition. Ironically, late Friday afternoon the Minister of Health for Saskatchewan, Pat Atkinson, announced the closure of Carrot River's hospital. The hospital had lost its ability to handle emergency situation when it lost one of its two doctors a few month's back. An attempt to fill this vacancy has failed and so the minister is downgrading the facility to a "health centre" which simply means it will provide care to long term hospitallised individuals and that will be about the extent of its usefulness No services on weekends, (it will sort of be like North Battleford at Christmas.) This is a chronic blow to Carrot River which is not loosing population but remains a vibrant industrial community.

What is particularly upsetting to Carrot River residents and those people in surrounding areas is that some years ago Arborfield which had a functioning and busy hospital was closed and the people of Arborfield and Zenon Park were assured that the Carrot River hospital would be kept open for them in the future. The minister of health of course was not even serving in the government when that promise was made and today stated she would not honour such an agreement.

With the closing of Carrot River the province has seen the closing of fifty-five hospitals and since this process began the cost of health care in Saskatchewan has escalated proportionately to the closure of facilities. (Prior to the closures the cost of health care was below 33% of the provincial budget it now exceeds 40%. )With the announcement of this closure and this morning the minister was voicing her severe disappointment with the federal budget and its support for provincial health care programming, one wonders what sort of logic is being applied.

You will no doubt hear from various authorities that Saskatchewan's population is to small to warrant the high number of medical facilities in place and that fewer will cost less to operate. Saskatchewan's million souls are scattered over an area only slightly smaller then all of Western Europe. Small efficient health care facilities cost far less to operate then large ones and the cost of transportation greatly reduces appropriate medical response and with facilities operated only to meet the demands of the day before, any minor difficulty is beyond capacity. (A knife fight in a Regina neighbourhood a couple of years ago produced six victims and that exceed the city's ability to handle even this small emergency.)

Mr. deSantis has at various times expressed exasperation at the failure of both government and health administrators to realise that what they are doing is counter productive yet we see them proceed blindly to not only follow the same erroneous path but to compound it with doing more of the same making a bad situation worse.

To explain the situation, assume that tax funding is water coming out of a garden hose, the present government is filling a bucket, but the water is overflowing from the bucket.

The government solution to the problem is to get a smaller bucket, when that overflows even quicker their solution is to get an even smaller bucket, and so on and so on.

When it is noticed that the buckets are overflowing and making a mess of things the government's response is to explain that the problem is that the federal government has cut back on the flow of water and what they need to solve the problem is a bigger garden hose and an even smaller bucket.

Anyone can see the problem can be solved by getting more small buckets and getting the flow of water into a nicely organised plumbing system with valves and some holding tanks to establish a better balance.

The reason of course that all of this is happening is that the whole process has been taken over by accountants who think they know more about handling water then plumbers.

As an added complication, we have a whole set of other accountants waiting on the side lines with big bucket of their own waiting for the whole thing to fall on its face and they will move in and restore order by hauling all the water they can get away with for themselves

Timothy W. Shire