Leftwords reported last week that some Ontario doctors got a big raise through the McGuinty government's 'wait times' strategy (a funding system that CUPE has long opposed as it opens the door to privatization and contracting out work from hospitals).
This brings to mind that ANOTHER McGuinty government initiative that has ALSO driven up doctor incomes.
The government has been pushing "Family Health Teams" (FHTs) since 2004. While doctors run the FHTs, the FHTs employ a range of health care employees and take on a broad range of health care services, some well beyond family doctor services, including services until now done in hospitals.
As usual, this government is trying to take more work out of our hospitals.
With last month's announcement of another 30 new Family Health Teams the total number of FHTs is now 200. When these new FHTs become operational, 3,000,000 people will receive health services through them (an average of 15,000 patients per FHT).
So it is interesting to note that a study in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year indicated that doctors that joined Ontario Family Health Teams saw their net income increase about 40 per cent, from $180,000 in 2004 to $250,000 in 2009.
The study adds that an FHT "reduces overload for individual physicians.''
Both the increases achieved through wait times funding and by the creation of FHTs have occurred outside of the normal wage (or fee) increases bargained by the doctors. That has made it hard to uncover these increases in doctor income.
OCHU reported earlier that government funding for doctors went up a whopping 57.6% between 2004/5 and 2009/10, so there may well be other ways that governmen has found to give money to the doctors on the QT.
The McGuinty government has blessed business with billions in corporate tax cuts recently; so there is no doubt it can find ways to send money to the favored few.