Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 2(2) December 1998 : 12-13.doi:10.12927/hcq.1998.20589

Quarterly Change

MURRAY ELSTON, a former Ontario Minister of Health, has been appointed president of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada replacing Judy Erola who retired after 12 years in the position.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has appointed DR. JOHN MILLER, former Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, to the role of Vice-President. Dr. Miller will be responsible for expanding CIHI's analytical and research programs, overseeing dissemination of research findings and guiding CIHI's involvement in the Canadian Population Health Initiatives.


Before the end of 1998, Health Minister Allan Rock announced money from the HEALTH TRANSITION FUND for several new provincial healthcare projects:

  • In Saskatchewan, a total of $509,000 will be provided for three projects: an analysis of how non-medical home care services affect the health and life span of elderly Saskatchewan residents and their use of other health services; a community survey project which will examine the effects of changes and integration of health services in rural areas under the district health board structure; and a third project which will assess the integration of First Nations support and liaison workers into a primary healthcare team in Northern Saskatchewan.
  • In Nova Scotia, $4,800,000 was allocated to a range of projects including: development of a child and youth health strategy which will provide evidence for the reform, development and coordination of health services for children and youths; a primary care project which will evaluate various ways of funding, organizing and delivering primary care services in Nova Scotia; and a rural palliative home care project which will test the use of rural primary care teams in the delivery of palliative home care services.

Ormed Information Systems recently appointed LYNNE FALCONER as Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President, Administration and Support. Her responsibilities will include all financial, accounting and administrative operations.


CIHI has also released its report, NATIONAL HEALTH EXPENDITURE TRENDS 1975- 1998, which projects that spending on Canada's healthcare system would reach $80 billion in 1998, an increase of 3.8% from the $77.1 billion for 1997. According to CIHI, this figure largely reflects anticipated increases in provincial government spending.


On January 1 1999, AGFA, formerly the imaging division of Bayer Inc., became independent from its corporate parent. As a separate entity, Agfa will have the opportunity to develop newer technologies and business alliances.


Hewlett-Packard Company has announced that Microsoft Corporation as well as Glaxo Wellcome, Hartfort Hospital and Quinton Instrument Company have joined the core membership of the ANDOVER WORKING GROUP (AWG). The AWG was formed in 1996 to accelerate commercial use of standards in healthcare.


KAREN MOSHER was named Executive Director of the Medical Research Council of Canada in November replacing Carol Clemenhagen. Ms. Mosher formerly served on the Treasury Board Secretariat and as Director General, Strategic Policy and Planning with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.


The Laboratory Centre for Disease Control (LCDC) recently added a DISEASE SURVEILLANCE ONLINE capability to its website. This on-line tool allows users to access data on cancer, cardiovascular disease and notifiable diseases over a range of years, and to customize the data for their specific needs. The application is designed to generate statistics according to user specified parameters, i.e., disease type, geographic area, period of time, etc. and presentation mode, i.e., tables, maps or charts. It will also allow for data on particular diseases to be compared by geographic location and over time. The website can be found at https://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb/lcdc/webmap


Bonnie Adamson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer for the newly created HURON PERTH HOSPITALS PARTNERSHIP; a formal partnership of eight Ontario hospitals which will have a common administration as well as some support and planning functions. However, each of the eight partners will retain its own board and medical staff.


The New Brunswick government recently won a national award from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships for the new CENTRACARE PSYCHIATRIC CARE FACILITY in Saint John. The citation called the facility "an innovative model ... providing an alternative to traditional government ownership and financing of such facilities," and notes that the province received economic benefit in the areas of construction, more efficient operating costs of a new, modern facility and the closure of an old and inefficient facility.


The government of MANITOBA recently announced that it will pay facility fees for all medically insured services, ensuring that all Manitobans have access to surgical procedures at private clinics.


According to a study released in the December 16, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, physician guidelines developed by the ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAL LABORATORIES were an important factor in encouraging more judicious use of laboratory tests. The study suggests that the use of guidelines and removing tests from requisition forms may help to reduce lab costs in the province - by as much as $25,000,000 per year.


Health Canada in partnership with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Secretaria de Salud of Mexico will wage war on phony healthrelated products, services and devices. The MEXICO-USA-CANADA HEALTH FRAUD TASK FORCE will target fraudulent health products which originate in one country and are sold in another.


In December, the ONTARIO MINISTRY OF HEALTH announced almost $400,000,000 in additional financial support for the provinces' hospitals. Money is designated to addressing Year 2000 compliance issues and short-term financial pressures during restructuring.


Dr. Ian Smith has been appointed chair of the MANITOBA HEALTH RESEARCH COUNCIL (MHRC). Well-known for his developmental work in biomedical diagnostics, he served as director general of the Institute for Biodiagnostics at the National Research Council from 1992.


The government of NOVA SCOTIA has set up a task force of healthcare providers and consumers to examine the current approach to delivering healthcare in the province and, most specifically, the impact of regionalization.


The BRITISH COLUMBIA MINISTRY OF HEALTH is leading a national effort to assist the Canadian healthcare sector in battling the Year 2000 computer bug. In October of 1998, Canada's provincial governments agreed to create the Canadian Year 2000 National Clearing House for Health (CYNCH), a co-ordinating body that will collect and share information on healthcare-related Year 2000 issues and solutions. All medical equipment will be assessed including baby incubators, kidney dialysis machines and chemotherapy equipment to determine if it is at risk. As the lead province, B.C. awarded the contract to operate CYNCH to LGS Group Inc of Montreal. Through CYNCH, timely information on Year 2000 compliance for healthcare products and services will be shared across the country.


In Saskatchewan, Health Minister Pat Atkinson has created a three-person task force to study and make recommendations for IMPROVING WAIT TIMES FOR ELECTIVE SURGERY, including cataract which have increased 306% in the past ten years, and hip and knee replacements which have increased by 87% since 1987- 88. The task force recommendations are due in February 1999. Saskatchewan is also a participant in the Western Canadian Waiting List Project which is focused on identifying reasonable waiting times and ongoing planning with districts, physicians and department officials.


In other news from SASKATCHEWAN, 70% of the province's 1998 medical school graduates have elected to practice in the province - a sharp increase from the 52% in 1997 and 44 percent in 1996. This increase is believed to be a result of combined efforts of the provincial government, the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the College of Medicine and the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations to encourage new medical graduates to begin their practices in rural locations.

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