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Health Care Speaker Jeffrey Simpson Explains The Business of Medicine [VIDEO]
Health | October 29, 2012

Health Care Speaker Jeffrey Simpson Explains The Business of Medicine [VIDEO]

Most people don't think of a hospital as a business. As health care speaker Jeffrey Simpson explains, the number of people who are treated in our hospitals and the quality of care they receive is largely impacted by budgetary constraints, just like any other business. Each year, Canadian hospitals receive a budget that's determined by how much money was allocated to them in years past, and adjusted to amend any shortfalls. "It's a top-down, command-and-control kind of system based on a global budget," he explains in an interview at Lavin's Toronto office.

However, as of late, Canada has begun to rethink its health care system, opting for a more incentive-based, business-like model where increased efficiency can earn the hospital more funding. Instead of relying on the global budget alone, hospitals would be given more funding as they passed more patients through and completed more procedures—something that other countries have been doing for years. While this system is designed to help ease wait times and ensure that more patients to get the care they deserve, health care critics like Shannon Brownlee strongly disagrees with this formula. She argues that this leads to unnecessary procedures being completed, leading to patients becoming overtreated rather than undertreated.

Fractured health care budgeting and other issues crippling the medical system are addressed in Simpson's new book, Chronic Condition. Simpson has worked as The Globe and Mail's National Affairs columnist for nearly two decades, where he was able to travel to several different countries and assess the different ways that their health care systems operate. Drawing intriguing parallels between different health care systems, he addresses the most pressing issues with today's system in his talks and his columns. His insights both open your eyes to the issues at hand, and provide practical and informed solutions on what we need to do to fix them.
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