Leaked Ornge budget document vs Liam Reid’s OHIP for US treatment

Click Liam’s image to donate.

Today, the Ontario PCs have released information from a leaked Ornge Ambulance budget document and it’s mind-boggling! Read it and weep.

As MPP Frank Klees writes in the PC news release: “$20 million in taxpayer dollars are flowing out the door to investors instead of being put towards patient care.”

Of course, all Ontarians want an air ambulance service that is safe and reliable.  So, if we thought that the $20 million was being spent on more pilots or the service itself, we wouldn’t mind. But investors? When we now know that at least two patients have died due to Ornge delays.

So, we need to think about that alleged mismanagement and disregard for human life and limb at Ornge in relation to what Caroline Alphonso wrote in yesterday’s Globe and Mail (and also reported on here at CotM and at Quixote’s Last Stand), regarding two-year-old Liam Reid’s family trying to getting OHIP to fund out-of-province treatment that is not available in Ontario.

 As Alphonso explained, the McGuinty government hopes to save $28.5 million by cancelling out-of-province OHIP funding. Meaning, that not only is $20 million not going towards patient care at Ornge,  it is also not going for out-of-province patient care at OHIP. 

What exactly ” is” the Ornge money going for? Well, according to the PC link, it is going toward investors indirectly via interest on an Ornge debt that the McGuinty government says they are not responsible for. So, if the Ontario government is not responsible for the Ornge debt, why are Ontarians paying the interest on that debt — particularly when health care dollars are being cut elsewhere?

Now, is there a direct correlation between the Ornge $20 million and the OHIP $28.5 million? Perhaps not. But, the two decisions do represent McGuinty government priorities and how the money is actually allocated.

Austerity? Paying down the deficit? I think not!

And to think that Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Ontario Liberal caucus, not only want a majority government, they probably think they deserve one, otherwise they wouldn’t have arranged for there to be a by-election in Kitchener Waterloo.

Well, CotM readers can let Premier Dalton McGuinty know exactly what they think. 

Twitter: @Dalton_McGuinty

Email: dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

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Endnote: To donate towards Liam Reid’s U.S. treatment, just click on the photo above.

Were 2 Ontario deaths due to Ornge & McGuinty gov’t incompetence?

Ornge, Ontario’s “non” air ambulance service.

Thursday, May 17, 2012:  Here is a CBC update on this story from Yahoo. Turns out it was actually 8 hours before Orgne transported Judy Dearman, not six, and that it was Orgne who directed the hospital to cancel the land ambulance. That is just inexcusable. It is one thing to be delayed but quite another to stop an alternative arrangement.   

And, Health Minister Deb Matthews has the nerve to suggest no one jump to conclusions. If it had been her loved one who had waited that long, with fatal results, I am sure she would not have been so flippant.

Also, I find some of the comments at the bottom of the update very strange given they are condemning PC MPP Frank Klees for telling everyone about this incompetence rather than condemning the McGuinty government for allowing it to happen.

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For the most part, the Ontario McGuinty Liberal government is not held to account by the national media like the federal Conservative government in Ottawa — although, the latest two deaths due to alleged Ornge incompetence may be the exception to that rule.

Mind you, the outrage about the two Ontario deaths does not seem to compare to the outrage over Conservative government estimates for the future purchase of F-35 fighter jets.

Here, for example is a Toronto Star article. And, here is a Google search page on the Ornge topic. I will let readers judge if those sources are as demanding of accountability and transparency of the Ontario Liberal government as the fighter jets estimates are of the federal Conservative federal government. In all, there are 22 million entries on the F35s and 307,000 on Ornge.  

In any event, regarding Ornge, would the latest two patients — one following a car accident and one with a serious infection following a colonoscopy — have died anyway? No one will ever know for sure, but in the end, it took six hours to transport Judy Dearman to Ottawa, which should have been a two hour drive. In other words, it would have been much better to simply transfer both patients via land ambulance.

Whatever the causes of the air ambulance delays, the arrogance in the McGuinty Cabinet is breathtaking. I mean, all the Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews can say about the latest incident is not to jump to conclusions and to ensure Ontarians that safety is of the utmost importance to Ornge.

Pardon me?  Not jump to conclusions? Safety is of the utmost importance? Two people are dead and in both cases, time was of the essence. I mean, not jump to conclusions when the staff at the Barry’s Bay hospital say they were calling Ornge for help every fifteen minutes.   

Plus, the Star article tells us that Dearman’s husband was told to drive to Ottawa, once there to turn around and go back to Barry’s Bay, then once almost back in Barry’s Bay, told to turn around again and return to Ottawa. If that is not incompetence, I don’t know what is. 

However, unlike the F-35 estimates, when the money has not even been spent yet, nor any lives lost, why is the media outrage not the same or worse about the Ornge alleged incompetence? I guess we’ll never know for sure but we can certainly question.

Whatever the case, I hope the voters who live in the Kitchener-Waterloo former riding of Ontario PC MPP Elizabeth Witmer, are paying attention. There will soon be a by-election there. And, the last thing they and Ontario needs right now is another Liberal MPP, particularly since the McGuinty caucus is just one seat short of a majority.

That said, and putting politics completely aside, the crux of the matter is that two deaths occurred in the last week and alleged Ornge incompetence may have contributed to those deaths. Whatever the reasons,  the McGuinty government has to intervene, rather than spin and make excuses, to make sure the reasons for the delays do not occur ever again?