More Money or More Problems?

November 4, 2015 by | 7 comments

Which WayWhat do we want? A reversal of the unilateral cuts, sure, but what is the end goal? Back to ‘business as usual’? Even more money for physician services? What would that look like to you and your patients? How would that change or improve your practice? How would it impact the system?

As a profession we are tasked with being stewards of healthcare; anticipating areas of potential need, adjusting and adapting to an ever changing health landscape. We hurl disgust at politicians for thinking in four year cycles, when as a profession we don’t seem to plan for much longer than a few months. The first set of (recent) cuts was enacted in January of 2015. The OMA sent out numerous emails, held sessions, and asked why members weren’t outraged. September and a new round of cuts roll around and all of the outrage has been found, but it is directed at mixed targets: Lots of disgust with government, but also OMA inaction. Truth be told, the writing was on the wall back in 2012 or even earlier, but it wasn’t until the problem was on our front porch that we started to react. Where was the forward planning?

The result of our own inaction is that we are left treating a diseased system with dysfunctional negotiations, opaque or outdated funding models, and limited avenues for collaborative work. We all know that prevention is a critical part of overall wellness, so where is the preventative planning? It is no mystery that our population is getting older and more complex, so why wait until a crisis point of funding cuts to start looking for solutions. I remember back in driving school as a teenager that the smoothest drivers weren’t the ones looking at the road right in front of the hood, but the ones that looked farther ahead to see  what was coming up – obstructions, potholes, traffic, etc. so that they were able to anticipate their next move. It feels like we are wildly swerving to avoid last minute potholes, while being blind to the fact that we may be driving in the wrong direction.

Next steps?
I would urge us to demand not just negotiations and binding arbitration, but a series of conferences, seminars, and forums, where we can build on forward thinking collaboration and anticipate and plan for challenges instead of a perpetual cycle of reactive cuts. Political terms may be four years, but our commitment to our patients and the system is lifelong. Let’s look for the horizon, sit down with system stakeholders, and chart a smoother course.


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Photo credit: oatsy40 (flickr)

About the Author

Taylor Lougheed is a physician in Family and Emergency Medicine, and passionate about sustainable public healthcare, quality improvement and patient safety, medical education, and global health.


  1. teelaj


    • Taylor Lougheed

      Thanks for taking the time to read it, Teela! Glad it struck a chord.

  2. Stephen

    Great point, Taylor. Wondering how we can change the focus from just dollars and cents to more idea sharing and innovation.

    • Taylor Lougheed

      I think, in part, there has to be a culture shift with the OMA. They are our professional representative organization, and if there is enough demand and interest for seminars and workshops focused on generating big ideas and bringing together stakeholders, they can help make it happen. If we just expect them to negotiate for us, then that is probably all we will see.

  3. Mag

    Very well put! I know the current situation is super frustrating, but we need to always be looking down the road at the long term goals.

    • Taylor Lougheed

      I agree with you, Mag. Thanks for taking the time to read & comment.

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