8/26/10

A goofy idea goes down. The Liberals (and the LHIN) retreat.

As reported here a week and a half ago, the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN --  the guys charged with funding and restructuring Ontario health care) was planning to bring in Disney speakers for an hour or two at an upcoming LHIN conference. 

Well (following a lot of public criticism), it now appears that even the LHIN finds this idea too goofy (or, perhaps, just a little mickey mouse).  So they've pulled the Disney speakers. 

But the Erie St. Clair LHIN CEO, Gary Switzer, is not backing down graciously.  Here's his response to Tory leader,Tim Hudak, who had criticised the plan:  “Let’s be very clear — this guy is making this crap up and it’s false. I don’t think the public is stupid enough to believe him.”

The Windsor Star notes that Switzer countered Hudak, claiming the LHIN was not going to spend $10,900 for Disney speakers to lead the 90 minute chat, but rather only $9,500.

(At this point I might note that I'd be more than willing to talk all day for $9,500 dollars -- and I have actually worked, a little bit, on Ontario health care.)

Interestingly, the Toronto Star reports that the government called the LHIN last week telling them to scrap the idea, with a follow-up call on Tuesday.  Switzer, the LHIN CEO, says a “team decision” was made to cancel the Disney contract late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

That, I think, is a pretty good indication of the true independence of the LHINs from the Liberal government.

By the way, the two speakers still on the LHIN conference agenda are Michael Decter, a former Deputy Minister of Health and LTC and Saad Rafi, the current Deputy Minister of Health and LTC. Decter is a dedicated advocate of the failed experiment with competitive bidding in home care in Ontario, while Rafi has long advocated privatized P3 hospitals.

Finally, the Erie St. Clair LHIN has just contracted out an overall review of the five hospitals in the LHIN to the private consulting firm Deloitte. (Who will take a cool $1.5 million from the LHIN for their trouble.  Switzer says the review is beyond the resources of the LHIN itself.  Despte the 'e-health' fiasco, the  fascination with contracting out continues, apparently.)  The Deloitte review is supposed to be completed  in  December.

I'm expecting more goofy ideas.   With at least a few from Cruella Da Ville.

dallan@cupe.ca

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