Thursday, March 29, 2007

Right here waiting

In case there weren't enough reasons to doubt the effectiveness of the Cons' wait-times funding, the CP reports that Saskatchewan's share of it will demonstrably do nothing to reduce the wait times which the Cons are supposedly trying to target. Instead, the allocation will be based on goals which the province was going to meet anyway:
The Saskatchewan government has become the latest province to sign up for the federal government's health wait-time guarantees, taking in nearly $25 million in exchange for putting a cap on the length of time a patient waits for heart surgery.

By 2010, a Saskatchewan resident needing a coronary artery bypass graft will wait no longer than 26 weeks under the new guarantee announced Thursday. The province is already very close to meeting that target, meaning most of the money will go to the bottom line of the health-care system...

Saskatchewan Health Minister Len Taylor said the province chose the area of cardiac bypass because it is already doing quite well at meeting national wait-time benchmarks.

"We have chosen an area that we know we can be successful," Taylor said. "We've built capacity to this point."

There are three levels of urgency when it comes to coronary artery bypass.

Under the new guarantees, Level 1 patients will get the procedure within two weeks, Level 2 within six weeks and Level 3 within 26 weeks.

Right now, according to provincial health officials, almost every Level 1 and Level 2 patient and about 98 per cent of Level 3 patients get the care they need in that time frame.
Contrary to the whining of the Sask Party, it's entirely understandable why the province would want to make sure its funding is based on targets which the system was set to reach rather that otherwise distorting the system. And indeed it's probably the ideal result for the Cons' funding to go into the health care system generally rather than being singularly targeted toward a narrow range of procedures (or worse yet a single one).

But that only serves to highlight the pointless of the Cons' plan to begin with. And if the best one can say for the Cons is that their policy may accidentally have some positive effects by failing to meet its own goals, that surely speaks volumes about just how ill-advised the plan was to begin with.

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