Channelling the Minister of Health

Was working on this yesterday and planned to post this morning:

I see via Twitter and Rob Fraser that Toronto East General Hospital is about to whack 120 nursing positions in an effort to control costs, and Peterborough Regional is similarly eliminating 121 positions to rein its whopping $26.8 million deficit. Under provincial law, hospitals are not permitted to run deficits.

Is it relevant to point out that (for example) Robert Devitt, President and CEO of Toronto East General pulled down a salary of $441,347.40 in 2009? Which was increased from 425,001.20 in 2008?

Some, I guess, would argue no. Salaries have to be high to compete with the private sector. They work hard, and earn their cheese. And so on. Very well. Why don’t we mimic the private sector and tie salaries of senior hospital management to performance? Make some simple metrics, related to mortality and morbidity, fiscal accountability and patient satisfaction, and base salaries on these?

You can plainly see I was working myself up to a snarkfest on bloated upper management salaries, general wastefulness, sloth, meetings to plan meetings, catered lunches and so forth — all at the cost of patient care. But the wind was taken out of my snippy sail when I saw this in the Globe and Mail this morning:

Ontario to link hospital CEOs’ pay to quality of care

Minister calls move a ‘vote of confidence’ in local governance of hospital


[The] government is beginning by targeting hospital CEOs, 14 of whom made more than $500,000 last year. While the so-called Excellent Care for All Bill is not expressly designed to lower salaries and bonuses for top executives of the province’s 154 hospitals, compensation could go up or down depending on performance, Health Minister Deb Matthews told reporters Monday.

“I am concerned about compensation generally in the health-care sector,” she said, “but this bill does not address those concerns.”

Rather, Ms. Matthews said, the new rules would make executives accountable not just for the fiscal health of their hospital but also for how effectively they put patients’ needs first. This includes reducing rates of infection among patients and the number of patients who are discharged from hospital and then re-admitted. Medical errors would be reported directly to patients and hospital executives – a practice already in place in large teaching hospitals.


Clearly there is an explanation for this bizarre and eerie coincidence. Either the Ministry of Health has gained access to my WordPress account, and is secretly developing government health care policy based on my absurd and incoherent ramblings, or else the she is reading my thoughts.

I prefer the latter scenario.

We're psychically linked!

I can now place my fingers to my forehead and start channelling: “Deb Matthews, Deb Matthews, cull 20% of hospital managers. They won’t be missed.” Or “Deb Matthews, Deb Matthews, legislate a 4:1 nurse to patient ratio.” Or “Deb Matthews, Deb Matthews, ban the pig slop that passes as food in Ontario hospitals and make them serve proper nutritious meals.” Or “Deb Matthews, Deb Matthews, amend the Registered Health Professions Act to give nurses the authority to do their jobs properly.”

Anyway, I have go. Tin foils hats are on sale at Canadian Tire. I don’t want her reading my mind all the time.


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  1. #1 by Lisa b on Tuesday 04 May 2010 - 2111

    Amen to your last point. If I had a good nurse for every time a dr dropped the ball in my care you would have your 4:1 ratio :)

  2. #2 by Art Doctor on Tuesday 04 May 2010 - 2137

    hahaha~ Deb Matthews channeling.

    I heard about this on CP24 this morning and almost brought up my Special K. In the name of “Patient care”!?! Whatever. Why does health divide and rank patients, with hospital staff? It should be more socialist- haha…maybe not like that. I think patients deserve quality care, but this “quality care” is not recognized as it should be already. Nurses in-particular go above and beyond- at least in Toronto. St. Mike’s was excellent when my mom had surgery two years ago.

    If patients and doctors and nurses and support staff etc., were not ranked in an authoritarian scale, and were rather linked in a circle of care, I think a lot of positive changes could occur.

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