The following is a review of developments affecting health care in CanadaThe information is updated the first week of every month - so ... make this a regular stop in your information gathering activities.
The following information has been compiled from publicly available sources, StratCom does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or the authenticity of the information and StratCom cannot be held liable for errors.
Healthcare in Canada - February 2002
The New Brunswick government is introducing changes that it claims are designed to make the delivery of health-care services more community based. Eight regional health authorities (RHAs) will replace the current eight regional hospital corporations in April 2002. Under the new system, RHAs will be responsible for delivery and administration of health services in their geographic area. Each RHA will consist of a board of directors with 15 voting members appointed by the minister of health. The New Brunswick health and wellness minister will be responsible for the administration of the Regional Health Authorities Act and the chief executive officer of each regional health authority will report directly to the deputy minister of health rather than the RHA.
Telehealth in Canada is going through some significant growing pains related to infrastructure and reimbursement barriers. The provinces and federal government do not use the same definition of telehealth. The provinces consider telehealth as the use of communications and information technology in delivering health-care services and information over distances. This includes teletriage offered by phone, telenursing provided by allied health professionals as well as telemedicine and its specialty subcategories. Industry Canada defines telemedicine in terms of clinical functions and includes all forms of remote medical services such as specialty consultations, pathology, radiology, psychiatry and cardiology.
Further the federal government has canceled its commitment to build a national broadband Internet network via high-capacity links capable of delivering two-way video by 2004. Medical professionals consider the broadband infrastructure as essential to providing remote communities with greater access to medical specialists and increasing services telehealth can deliver. In 2001, only four provinces—Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia, are broadband equipped.
On the reimbursement side, Ontario is now the only province not offering doctors fee-for-service reimbursement for telemedicine duties in any of the 23 specialties. Laurentian University in Sudbury has published its Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research. The report shows that the number of provinces and territories providing payment in each specialty ranges from a low of three, for a handful of clinical areas, to a high of nine for psychiatry, and eight for dermatology and radiology. The three Prairie provinces provide almost blanket coverage in the 23 listed specialties. Eight jurisdictions even allow fee-for-service reimbursement for telemedicine provided outside their borders. British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario do not.
Healthcare in Canada - January 2002
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Last modified: March 01, 2002