British Columbia's Health Minister says he's found a way to cut waiting times and make hospitals more efficient ... just by changing the way his ministry hands out money. But critics say the cure could be worse than the disease.
Hospital Funding - Kevin Falcon
We started this segment with a clip from Amy Taylor. She was suffering from chronic pain in her heels. And at one point, it looked as if she was going to be suffering with it for a while. But then something changed.
What happened is a new pilot program arrived at the foot and ankle clinic at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver... a pilot program designed to test a new way of funding health-care. Officials call it "pay-for-performance" or "patient-focused" funding. Basically, the province pays hospitals a certain amount for each procedure they perform. So the more patients they see, the more money they get. It's meant to reward efficiency and drive down wait times. And in Amy Taylor's case, it seems to have done exactly that.
"Pay-for-performance" has its critics too. But based on the results of the pilot project, the BC Government is now rolling out this new way of funding on a wider basis. It will pay out a total of $250 million over the next two years. And by 2013, officials expect this kind of funding to account for 20 per cent of the province's acute care spending.
Articles: Performance Based Funding / B.C. set to prescribe health contracts pegged on performance / Surgeries, scans get pay-for-performance cash / B.C. Experiments with a Controversial Health Care Plan
Hospital Funding - Danielle Martin
As we heard, not everyone is optimistic about this new way of paying for health care. Danielle Martin is a family physician and the Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. She was in Toronto.