There is no doubt in my mind that socializing medical care will be the death of medical care. Government may have good intentions, but government has a track record of exploding budgets and a terrible track record for implementation.
This is a follow up to my post about my family health team clinic and the doctor who is now under investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The College responded to my concerns quickly. But trying to discover who oversaw the actions of the Family Health Team Clinic; well that took on a long life of its own because of government bureaucracy and the socialization of medical care.
A reminder. I told my doctor I didn’t trust him and then I received a registered letter September 30 telling me that he would no longer be my doctor and no other doctor in the clinic would see me based on Best Practice standards of the clinic. There are no Best Practice standards. The clinic lied; well Kim Bell, the administrator. But I was without a doctor the middle of Covid and I am a senior. To put this in perspective, there are at least 10 people looking for a doctor at any time.
This is the story of my crusade of almost two months trying to find out who oversaw these 184 family health team clinics serving 3,000,000 people in 200 communities in Ontario with a population of 14 million citizens.
I finally found out when I received an email November 17, from Fernando Tavares A/Program Manager, Interprofessional Programs Unit from PCOInquiries Interprofessional Programs Primary Health Care Branch,OHIP, Pharmaceuticals and Devices Division,Ministry of Health (what a title!)
Family Health Teams (FHTs) are independent, not-for-profit corporations governed by boards of directors and funded by the ministry through a funding and accountability agreement. The Primary Health Care Branch provides oversight on behalf of the ministry and manages the accountability relationship with Ontario’s 184 FHTs. You have raised a concern about the actions of the East Wellington FHT because they did not agree to transfer you to another FHT physician after the termination of your enrollment with your previous doctor. The ministry has been in touch with the FHT about the issues you raised in your correspondence. However, the terms and conditions of the ministry-FHT accountability agreement do not extend to the considerations on which the FHT based their decision. These policies and considerations are related to clinical decisions, the termination of a physician-patient relationship, and the practices of the affiliated FHT physicians.
You will note that in the bafflegab, he mentioned that he had been in touch with the clinic. Aha. But he was never in touch with me. So how does he know what went on? Hmmm. Socialized medicine where non-medical people make the decisions. And so many. All of whom have received a pay cheque throughout the pandemic.
I reached out to Mr. Fernandes asking for the “ministry-FHT accountability agreement.” Hasn’t arrived yet.
What was most fascinating is that I heard from him after I sent an official complaint to HSARB firstname.lastname@example.org (love those acronyms)as directed by my Member of the Provincial Parliament, Sylvia Jones.
Hassan Badreddine, Manager and Deputy Registrar, Health Boards Secretariat replied:
Thank you for your email correspondence to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board (“Board”) received November 8, 2021.
Under section 40(1) of the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994, (the Act) the Board can only consider appeals if an individual has first formally complained to the approved agency about certain matters specified in section 39(1) of the Act and the approved agency has provided its decision on the complaint, or the person has not received a decision within 60 days after making the complaint.
If you have a copy of a decision in writing from the LHIN/CCAC, please submit it to the Board and clearly state that you wish to appeal that decision. If you do not have a decision from the LHIN/CCAC, we ask that you request a written decision from the LHIN/CCAC on your complaint. Upon receipt of a decision of the LHIN/CCAC, if you remain unsatisfied with the decision, you may submit a new request for appeal to the Board.
What a surprise! The LHIN/CCAC has no jurisdiction. Does Hassan Badreddine not know that? And why does he not know that? I sent him an email asking for the email address for the bureau I should contact. Guess what? No response.
He asked me to advise him regarding my complaint. I did. He didn’t respond.
I believe Kim Bell, the administrator of this clinic, knew all along who oversaw the clinics and never said a word until notified by HSARB of my formal complaint. Then she went into action. Her website had shared the wrong oversite department, Long Term Care, which relinquished oversite in 2019 and she knew that. I chased my tail discovering that fact. There is a certain arrogance that allows someone to act this way. I have to assume that the Board members and the doctors agree with her actions because I assume they are all included in these decisions. And if not, why not?
The board members: Ms. Bell, Dr. Rabia Khan, Doreen Alexandris, Barb Thomas, John Wilson,Mary Cunningham, Rachel Ingram, Carolyn Scott, Sandra Boyd, Terri Lynn Hansen, Morag Stewart and the medical people: Dr. Meredith Barakat, Dr. Duncan Bull, Dr. Blair Cappel, Dr. Lucille Chan, Dr. Laura Daly, Dr. Nancie Parent, and Dr. Roxanne Trangmar.
I am sharing some of the correspondence, well I sent emails. This is the quagmire of government medical care. Yes, you won’t go bankrupt.
It is important to note that my government Representative Sylvia Jones, a Conservative (this I important to know because the Conservatives are in power in my province); chose to do absolutely nothing for me. She is the one who told me to send a complaint to HSARB after I lodged an “OFFICIAL” complaint with the clinic. OFFICIAL. My original complaint to the clinic was not considered “Official” as I had not labeled it “Official.” Kim Bell then knew that I was trying to lodge a complaint.
My MPP should have known whom to call. All she had to do was call the Minister of Health; after all they are on the same team. Nope. I sent an email to the Health Minister and received a “thank you for contacting us” reply. Ms. Jones’ secretary, Tricia, suggested, and Ms. Jones agreed, that because the clinic is not in her district, despite the fact that I am, she would not, or could not, help and walked away. Seems she is not interested in the possibility that clinics in her district are misbehaving. That required work.
Here we go; in no particular order.
I lost track of the number emails that went back and forth between Infoline and me.
I was told:
“Your inquiry was forwarded to our Primary Health care branch department which handles Family Health Team inquiries for their review and consideration.
If you wish to follow up with them directly, we have provided you with their contact info below: Family Health Teams (FHT) Inquiries Primary Health Care Branch;Toll Free: 1-866-766-0266
When you dial the number there are multiple instructions in English and French – we are a bilingual province, and then finally after pressing a few buttons I arrived at FHT clinics. And surprise – this number is no longer in service. Need I say more?
Then there is ServiceOntario which apparently provides general information and referrals concerning Ministry of Health (MOH) programs and services.
We have forwarded your email to the program area for assistance. Once the information is available, you will receive correspondence from our office or from the program area directly.
email@example.com the Minister of Health – I never heard from her or anyone at the ministry, firstname.lastname@example.org, Jones-co, Sylvia email@example.com, INFOline (MGCS) Infoline.MOH@ontario.ca firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Manager, Interprofessional Programs and Policy.
I reached out to the Ontario Senior Secretariat. Useless.
email@example.com ; Rod.Phillips@ontario.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, Vanessa.deMatteis@ontario.ca @MOH-G-Independent Health Facilities Program IHFP@ontario.ca, email@example.com. firstname.lastname@example.org, Amber.email@example.com, Patient.Relations.WW@lhins.on.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org Marilyn Robbins, Executive Assistant,Home and Community Care Support Services,South West www.healthcareathome.ca/southwest/en
In looking at the website for the Ontario Ministry of Health (linked below) it states that applications are made to the Ministry for Family Health Teams. They are not accepting applications at this time and there is a listing of all 100+ FHTs in the province along with phone numbers to contact for more information. In looking at some of those listed it appears oversight is provided by their respective board of directors. We’d be pleased to answer any questions you have about Home and Community Care Support Services including long-term care home placement in the South West.
Really. The clinics oversee themselves? Anyone know of any other medical establishment overseeing itself?
I reached out to local media and national media – no one cared. I contacted the town council. No one cares, there. Is it any wonder that our elderly were abused during Covid or that our elderly are not treated with respect in care homes? I mean, really?
But, bless that Kim Bell. In her letter of November 5 in which she referred to my email of October 27, wrote “I know this is not the answer you wanted. We recommend you connect with Health Care Connect to find a new physician or primary care giver.” Oh the arrogance, again.
But just to add one more act to the play. Insult to injury.
I found a doctor. A real doctor who does not hide behind bubble wrap and two masks. He asked for my medical records. Kim Bell was told that they wanted the records via paper, USB stick of Fax. And they received a CD. Then they received the password to the CD. As if that fixed it. I contacted Ms. Bell and informed her that they do not have a CD reader and that she was to forward my documents as they asked. She finally sent what was requested.
This is socialized medicine. Millions of dollars spent on administrators in too many departments with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Typical of government. And you still want government getting involved in your health care?
I do want to thank Kim Bell for removing me from the clinic. I knew that the health care I had been receiving there was not optimum, but the idea of finding a new doctor was daunting. She forced me to do that. In the middle of Covid.
A blessing in disguise.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”