Doctor Derangement Syndrome

Some people hate cows.

Cow haters often have good reasons for feeling so.

Perhaps they had a bad experience with a scary cow. Now they tell everyone that cows are smelly and bad for your health.

Occasionally, cow haters pretend to support the dairy industry, but only if it leads to increased regulation of cows in general:

Cows are such a precious resource that we need government to control them.

Other people love cows above all else and put them centre stage at every state fair. They push for more pasture, just for cattle. They re-write food guides to support the dairy industry.


Some people hate doctors.

No doubt, doctor-haters have deep reasons for feeling so. Perhaps they had a bad experience with a scary doctor.

Now, they write nasty columns in the Toronto Star about doctors.  All the inspiration they need is a tweet, by a famously unpopular Premier from the 1990s. Continue reading “Doctor Derangement Syndrome”

Share this:

Lame Duck Leadership

“The term lame duck generally refers to one who holds power when that power is certain to end in the near future.” (Legal Dictionary)

Lame duck leaders do not face the consequences of their actions; they will soon be gone.

Other politicians do not worry about what a lame duck does or says, as long as the lame duck leaves them alone.

Lame ducks can do great harm, but for the most part, everyone sits back and waits for new management.

Vote of Non-Confidence

On Sunday, the OMA Council, Ontario Doctors’ governing body, debated the following motion:

“That OMA council express to the OMA Executive Committee that Council has lost confidence in the leadership provided by the Executive”

Council voted 55% in favour.

Usually, 25 Board members and 7 student representatives vote, en bloc, in support of whatever the Board advises [Correction: Past Presidents don’t vote]. Considering that, the non-confidence motion had the support of an overwhelming majority of working doctors.

For the first time ever, Council said that it did not trust the current Executive to lead doctors in Ontario. Continue reading “Lame Duck Leadership”

Share this:

Something New? Special Council Meeting

In a year of unprecedented events, doctors look forward to another historic weekend.

OMA Council, the governing body for 42,000 doctors in Ontario, meets to debate the first ever vote of non-confidence in the Executive Committee of the Ontario Medical Association.

Six motions follow: one for each member of the Exec asking that each one resigns immediately.

First ever. Unprecedented. Unheard of. 

Speakers at the OMA often quote Einstein,“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Will OMA Council do something new?

Special Council Meeting

Council meets to debate the performance of the Executive Committee.

But people will twist it into a debate about individuals and personal integrity. Others will shame their colleagues for being divisive and petty. Still others will focus on forensics designed to assign blame.

Council needs to focus on one thing: Based on performance to date, do the doctors of Ontario believe that the leaders of the OMA can effectively serve the membership? Continue reading “Something New? Special Council Meeting”

Share this:

Relax, the OMA Will Never Strike

Doctors believe patient stories. We think we catch liars. But we can’t. How could we?

If someone cries about final exams and talks about death, I believe her. If someone describes excruciating pain and grimaces when no one is looking, I believe him.

Doctors, for the most part, believe patients.

Wired for credulity, doctors want to believe. When the Ontario Medical Association talks about possible job action and strikes a working group to explore job action, doctors believe the OMA is thinking about job action. But is it? Continue reading “Relax, the OMA Will Never Strike”

Share this:

How to Earn Respect – OMA

a-little-r-e-s-p-e-c-t-09-17-2012Doctors received renewal notices from their ersatz union this week. The OMA collects almost $60 million in dues.

Doctors who refuse to pay lose their membership and have dues deducted from their OHIP billings: taxation without citizenship.

The OMA negotiated the last, successful contract in 2008. The biggest gains, roughly 4%, were set for 2011. Government asked the OMA to forgo the raise. The OMA said no. Government took it all back with unilateral action and has attacked, slandered and cut doctors ever since.

This summer, the Liberal Government of Ontario eviscerated their negotiating partner, and the OMA played along.

Government really wanted labor peace with doctors before September. Government pushed too hard with the OMA, and the OMA pushed even harder with doctors.

Doctors voted 63% No against the OMA Board’s new deal. Many saw the unprecedented rebellion as a vote of non-confidence.

Now the OMA must find a way to prove to doctors that it deserves the right to exist.

How to Earn Respect

Respect takes years to earn and moments to lose. Here are 4 essentials to earn it back:

A. Stand For Something

Support for fads never wins respect. Popular opinion only shields from abuse until the topic changes. Continue reading “How to Earn Respect – OMA”

Share this:

Manage Doctors for Patient Benefit

knead-breadParents can try to control everything their children do, or let them run completely wild. Neither extreme works well.

Politicians can try to control everything in medicine, or let doctors run wild.

Just like parents, politicians tend towards one extreme or another. If we listen closely, most pundits assume doctors should be controlled.

How to Manage Doctors

I spend hours listening to healthcare opinionists: politicians, candidates running for office, administrators, consultants, bureaucrats, journalists, talk show hosts and concerned citizens. They all have different ideas on how to manage doctors. But none of them questions the need for management. Continue reading “Manage Doctors for Patient Benefit”

Share this:

Doctors Need a Champion

superhero-kidMost people are too polite to tell you what they think. Even when it feels like someone was courageously honest, they still held back their strongest opinions.

This week, several dozen doctors met just west of Toronto to tell the OMA what they thought. It was one of many meetings booked across the province. Dr. Virginia Walley, OMA President, handled the questions and feedback.

Most docs pulled their punches and were polite. Even so, they offered bitter medicine. Continue reading “Doctors Need a Champion”

Share this:

Healthcare System vs Patients – Stewardship Part II

fork_in_the_road_-_geograph-org-uk_-_1355424Canadian healthcare stands paralyzed in a Robert Frost poem:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

– The Road Not Taken

Wooly-minded people pretend binary choices do not exist. They think we can choose both roads. Or they think one road will always be clearly wrong, as long as we use logic, facts and good will in choosing.

Doctors face two roads every day:

Do we do what’s best for the patient and prescribe an expensive treatment, or do we do what’s best for society and save the money for something else?

Until recently, doctors just prescribed what patients needed. Continue reading “Healthcare System vs Patients – Stewardship Part II”

Share this:

Not About the Money

Hand holding fanned out Canadian money.The Canadian Press Images-Mario Beauregard
The Canadian Press Images-Mario Beauregar

Almost 50% of couples divorce, but 90% never fight about money, according to a new study.

Government has fought with doctors for almost 50 years now, and it looks like all they do is argue over money. This assumption is reasonable, and wrong.

Money is a Distraction

Most grownups pay attention to their accounts. They limit debt and make payments on time. They know that money runs out.

Government takes a different approach. In part, government does not need to worry; it can always raise taxes. But voters will not tolerate anything. Taxes run out, too.

When doctors and government fight about money, observers often miss an important point: Government does not really need to worry about the money it spends on doctors. Continue reading “Not About the Money”

Share this:

Distract Doctors, Gain Control

distracted-parentSmart kids learn to distract and stay out of trouble. They know Mom won’t bother about overdue homework, as long as she stays stressed about something else.

Politicians do the same. They distract voters with new handouts, or even better, stoke anxiety about Zika, Global Warming or some other ominous event.

Just do not let voters ask about things that government can impact, like patient wait times.

How to Gain Control

If government wants to shape society, instead of just serving it, politicians need the power to tell people what to do. Continue reading “Distract Doctors, Gain Control”

Share this: