Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 5(1) September 2001 : 12-14.doi:10.12927/hcq.2001.20492

Quarterly Change

Health Minister Allan Rock recently announced $240 million in funding over a four-year period to support large-scale primary healthcare initiatives in Canada. Priorities include:
  • Partnerships with organizations that represent nurses, doctors, rural physicians and other healthcare providers to encourage the integration of primary healthcare measures;
  • Special assistance for low-population provincial jurisdictions such as the Territories and Prince Edward Island;
  • Collaborative initiatives involving more than one province or territory; and
  • Improvements in primary healthcare delivery to First Nations and Inuit and to official language minorities. Health Canada will establish a Primary
Healthcare Division to administer and implement the Fund. Based in Ottawa, this Division will work with the department's regional offices, to ensure close and strategic collaboration with provinces and territories.

Anne Sutherland Boal has been appointed to the newly created position of chief nurse executive for British Columbia. Boal will be responsible for advising the Ministry of Health Planning on ways to recruit, retain and educate more nurses as part of the development of the ministry's 10-year health human resources plan. She has most recently worked at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, where she was director of the Canadian Education Centre Network in China. Before that, she was director of patient services at the International Hospital in Beijing. Boal has also served as vice-president of patient services for Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia as well as president of B.C.'s Children's Hospital, where she improved recruitment and reduced turnover rates for nurses.

Minister Rock also announced the appointment of members to the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation. The Council complements the national plan for organ and tissue donation announced by Minister Rock earlier this year in Edmonton. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Philip Belitsky, the new members include: Dr. Eugene Bereza, Quebec; Dr. Rabbi Reuven Bulka, Ontario; Ms. Diane Craig, Ontario; Dr. Christopher Doig, Alberta; Mr. Edward Ferre, British Columbia; Dr. John Dossetor, Ontario; Dr. David Hollomby, Ontario; Dr. Rolf Loertscher, Quebec; Mr. James Mohr, Nova Scotia; Dr. Heather Ross, Ontario; Ms. Sheilagh Ross, Alberta; Dr. Graham J. Scoles, Saskatchewan; Dr. Sam D. Shemie, Ontario; Dr. Rosalie Starzomski, British Columbia and Ms. Heather Anne Marie Stoyles, Nova Scotia.

The Council will provide advice to the federal, provincial and territorial (F/P/T) Deputy Ministers of Health in support of their efforts to coordinate activities relating to organ and tissue donation and transplantation with the overall goal of forging a pan-Canadian strategy. The first meeting of the Council will be held this fall.

Meanwhile, the latest statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information show a 62% increase over the past five years in the number of patients waiting for liver transplantation. Of the 3,800 patients waiting for organ transplants, 338 were waiting for a single organ liver transplant, as of December 2000. Fifty-one people died while waiting for a liver transplant in 2000.

The Alberta Health and Wellness 2000/2001 annual report, released in late September, highlights the positive results of government initiatives to improve the quality of health services in Alberta. The focus on three key priorities - increasing the number of health professionals, reducing wait lists for vital procedures, and investing in facilities for acute care and long- term care - was supported by government spending on healthcare at $6 billion, almost a half-billion dollar increase over the previous year. The report is available on the ministry's website at

Newfoundland has launched an extensive consultation process on health issues. The consultation is two-fold with a separate focus for both the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador and the key stakeholders in the health system, including community groups. A comprehensive discussion document, titled Reaching Consensus and Planning Ahead, addresses the major health issues, including health services structure, funding, delivery model, human resources, accountability and wellness. It contains a series of questions to which individuals can respond. In addition, the Department of Health and Community Services has prepared a shortened version of the document in the form of a brochure that will be distributed across the province. The public will be able to access copies of the health forum discussion paper at offices of the regional health boards, through Government Service Centres around the province, or by contacting the department by mail at P.O. Box 8700, St. John's, NF, A1B 4J6, checking the website at, e-mailing or phoning 1-800-405-2570.

Manitoba recently announced that private day surgeries will increase with approximately 800 surgical procedures being redirected to the privately held Pan Am Clinic from the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre. As well, the clinic will take on an additional 700 procedures from waiting lists on a non-profit basis. Surgeries offered at the clinic will include arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the knee, ankle, wrist, elbow and shoulder, tendon repairs, and lacerations and facial fracture repair.

The Regina Health District has a new President and CEO. Dwight Nelson assumed the position in late August. He comes to the position after a seven-year tenure as CEO of the Headwaters Health Authority in southern Alberta. He replaces Jim Saunders who has been acting CEO for the past two years.

Nova Scotia's Department of Health is implementing several recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Capital Investment in Long-term Care, which has spent more than a year examining how the department might address the on-going capital needs of the province's long-term care facilities. Major initiatives include ensuring seniors have easier access to existing long-term care and home care services as a result of the Single Entry Access project. A demonstration portion of this project is now nearing completion in the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority and the Cape Breton District Health Authority. An advisory committee is in place and a steering committee is being formed to guide the province-wide implementation of the project. As well, a long-term care capital planning process has begun that will provide the means to assess the condition of the province's 74 long-term care facilities. There is $2.2 million in the current budget to address the immediate need for repairs, equipment and renovations. The report is available on the Web at or by calling Nancy Maguire at 902-424-7233.

Dr. Jack Kitts has been appointed Acting President and Chief Executive Officer at The Ottawa Hospital. Gino Picciano has been named Acting Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Kitts, an anaesthesiologist, has held the position of Vice-President, Medical Affairs, since 1998. Mr. Picciano, who also joined The Ottawa Hospital in 1998, is currently Campus Operating Officer, Riverside Campus, Vice-President Medicine, Mental Health and Family Practice, and Vice- President, Strategic Planning and Development. The hospital also received a base funding adjustment of $48.7 million bringing the total amount of base funding for the hospital to $403 million.

Manitoba also proclaimed three new acts that recognize the increased expertise and education of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and registered psychiatric nurses in delivering healthcare to Manitobans. Three different pieces of legislation establish the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba, the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba and the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba replacing the Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses, the Manitoba Association of Licensed Practical Nurses and the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Manitoba. These changes reflect the evolving roles of these organizations, placing greater emphasis on their regulatory functions. The conversion to colleges emphasizes for both the public and the profession the duty of the organizations to act in the public interest.

Ontario will step up support for physician recruitment with the establishment of two rural and regional networks for physician training. The Southwestern network will bring more physicians to the Windsor area, and to rural communities in southwestern Ontario. Windsor will become a new centre for clinical education. The Central network will bring more physicians to Niagara Region and Simcoe County. A new $1 million investment will be made in these two clinical networks this year with increased investment as the program continues to grow.

The University of Western Ontario will coordinate the Southwestern Ontario Regional and Rural Training Network. The first students entering the network program will be in July 2002 with advance family medicine trainees graduating in a year. Specialty trainees will be graduating in subsequent years. McMaster University and the Rural Ontario Medical Program, located in Collingwood, will collaborate to deliver the Central Ontario Regional and Rural Training Network with a focus on Niagara Region and Simcoe County.

The board of Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre has appointed Rodney Thorfinnson as interim CEO. Mr. Thorfinnson was most recently President and CEO of the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, a position he held for 14 years. He also spent 15 years as President and CEO of Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario.

Alberta Wellnet, an Alberta Health and Wellness initiative to improve patient care and the efficiency of the province's healthcare system, has won an Award of Excellence from the Canadian Information Productivity Awards. The awards are given annually to organizations in Canada that have used information technology to transform business operations. Wellnet won the award for its continuing work towards a secure electronic health record for Albertans along with an integrated computer network for medical information. When fully implemented, Wellnet's leadingedge programs will revolutionize healthcare in Alberta by giving doctors and other healthcare professionals quick access to a wide variety of up-to-date patient, research and other medical information. The resulting improvements will also help make better use of healthcare dollars in the province by avoiding unnecessary costs.


Toronto's University Health Network and Winnipeg's Victoria General Hospital recently entered into pilot projects to purchase supplies on-line. During the first phase of the pilots, the hospitals are purchasing supplies electronically from Johnson & Johnson Medical Products and Baxter Corporation. Other suppliers will be joining the pilots at later dates. The hospitals are connected to suppliers through the e-commerce exchange services of Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) and Ormed Medical Exchange (Ormed X).

Ron Kaczorowski has been appointed President of Phillips Medical Systems Canada.

MediSolution recently announced it has been awarded two major contracts. It will install its MediHR Human Resources Management System at William Osler Health Centre which is Ontario's largest community hospital corporation with more than 640 physicians, 4,000 staff and 1,200 dedicated volunteers. It is the amalgamation of Etobicoke Hospital Campus, Brampton Memorial Hospital Campus, and Georgetown Hospital Campus, and provides services to approximately 700,000 residents over 2,400 square kilometres. As well the company has been awarded a contract to install its patient billing and accounts receivable software at Toronto East General Hospital.

3M has launched an Infection Prevention website to give healthcare professionals a new source for infection prevention information. Found at, the site offers information on techniques and strategies to help prevent infection. It also describes 3M products that help ensure proper sterilization, skin preparation, sterile environments, wound management and more. With the publication of the 3M Infection Prevention website, 3M is taking down the former website.

The Medical Imaging business of Agfa-Gevaert N.V has changed its name from Medical Imaging to HealthCare. The new name, reflecting Agfa's move into new markets and wider business scope, is part of an ongoing and aggressive growth strategy. The company also announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire long-time technology partner Mitra Inc. based in Waterloo, Ontario. Mitra is one of the world's leading providers of imaging and information management systems for the healthcare enterprise, and has played an integral role in the development and success of Agfa's IMPAX PACS solutions for the past 10 years.

Clinidata Corporation has been awarded the contract as service provider for Telehealth Ontario in area codes 519 and 613. Telehealth Ontario is a free telephone-based health advice service that gives the people of Ontario free access to a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The nurses assist callers by providing advice about appropriate care options - whether to practice self-care, see their physician, go to an emergency department or contact a community service. Clinidata Corporation ( is the service provider for Telehealth Ontario in area codes 416, 905, 705 and 807.

Hewlett-Packard Company and Compaq Computer Corporation have announced a definitive merger agreement to create an $87 billion global technology leader. The combined company will have #1 worldwide revenue positions in servers, access devices (PCs & handhelds), and imaging & printing, as well as leading revenue positions in IT services, storage, and management software. The merger is expected to generate cost synergies reaching approximately $2.5 billion annually and drive a significantly improved cost structure. Based on both companies' last four reported fiscal quarters, the new HP would have approximate pro forma assets of $56.4 billion, annual revenues of $87.4 billion and annual operating earnings of $3.9 billion. It would also have operations in more than 160 countries and over 145,000 employees. A fact sheet related to the merger is available at attachments/hpcompaq_factsheet.html. Regulatory approval of this agreement is not taken for granted and so the companies remain staunch competitors.


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