OHIP still not funding out of-country eye treatment for Liam Reid

Liam Reid & parents Dave & Kristina

As  I wrote on this blog a few months ago (found here and here), bureaucrats within the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) still have not approved out-of-country funding for 3-year-old Liam Reid to get the specialized eye treatments he needs to slow down or halt his blindness.

As those who have been following this travesty know, Liam is suffering from Norrie’s disease — officially called Persistent Fetal Vasculature Syndrome. The symptoms of the genetic condition is blindness at birth or soon after, as well as possible hearing loss and developmental delays.

In Liam’s case, his parents are trying desperately to slow down or stop total blindness, as well as the possible physical deformities that can result from the disease.

What is particularly disgraceful is that one other Ontario child with the same disorder is receiving out-of-country funding.  Yet, the Ontario government is causing unnecessary stress and financial pain to the Reid’s (including having to hire a lawyer). Why? Why fund the one and not the other? Why such favouritism?

Well, whatever the reasons for the OHIP unfairness, as Christina Blizzard writes today, Liam’s parents, Dave and Kristina have been able to pay for another desperately needed treatment because strangers came through with donations. While Blizzard thanks Sun readers for donating, I would also like to thank those who donated via Crux of the Matter.

However, in spite of the unhelpful way OHIP officials are behaving, Blizzard reports excellent news following the most recent treatment. According to Dr. Trese, the Michigan eye surgeon who is working with Liam, he has seen eyes like Liam’s left eye be able to read large print. And, without a doubt, some sight is better than no sight.  

So, let’s continue to keep the pressure on OHIP, as well as Premier Dalton McGuinty and Health Minister Deb Matthews. The crux of the matter is that if out-of-province OHIP funding was found for another child with the same condition as Liam, it should be provided for him as well.  As I have said before, if the Ontario government has money to waste on e-Health and Ornge Ambulance boondoggles, they have more than enough to pay $5,000 once a year or so for sight saving treatment.

In the meantime, people can donate or to get involved in the discussion at either Liam’s blog page, Facebook page, or Twitter page.

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.

McGuinty gov’t refuses OHIP for blind 2-yr-old Liam Reid US treatment

Credit Globe and Mail.

Of course, officials at the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) say they can’t talk about an individual case due to privacy laws.

Well, fortunately I have no such limitations, given the family has already spoken to reporter Caroline Alphonso at the Globe and Mail.  

As Alphonso reports, Liam Reid is two years old and will be fully blind by the time he is four if he doesn’t continue to get treatment by a world renowned surgeon in Michigan — treatment that is not available in Ontario.  And, indeed, Alphonso provides plenty of evidence that the treatment really is not available in Ontario. (H/T NNW)

Anyway, the family has been attending the Michigan clinic for nearly three years now but has run out of money because OHIP refuses to contribute anything towards their costs. Why? Because the McGuinty government is cutting expenses.

Now, normally, one could understand the cut backs, given the size of the Ontario deficit. But, why is the McGuinty government cutting back on health care — be it the out-of-province funding the Reid family needs, or the closure of the Thistletown Regional Centre — when they continue to spend billions of dollars on subsides for wind energy that are costing us far more than we take in? 

Plus, as my fellow blogger Joanne wrote at Blue Like You last month, the McGuinty Liberals are spending millions paying for energy we can’t even use.

How very sad.

In the final analysis, however, whether OHIP comes through or not, I hope that some way is found that Liam Reid’s family gets the funding they need to stop the progression of Liam’s condition. And, if they have a fundraiser, perhaps someone could let me know via my Contact Form and I’ll add that information as an update to this post.

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Update: I have heard from one of Liam’s aunts. The blog where people can donate for Liam’s care is: liamseyes.blogspot.com.  A facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/LiamsFight and the twitter handle is: http://www.twitter.com/liamsfight.

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Endnote: For further information on how much money the McGuinty government waste’s on wind energy, check out the archives at ontario-wind-resistance.org and quixoteslaststand.com.