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Maybe the recession was good for healthcare, after all

There's been no shortage of criticism of the way the federal government has handled the economic stimulus and deficit-spending strategies, but here's an example of really a healthful stimulus: Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq just announced $135 million in new funding for construction and renovation of healthcare infrastructure in First Nations communities.

"This critical investment means new and refurbished health centres and nurses' residences for many of the remote and isolated First Nations communities served by Health Canada, and will provide immediate economic benefit by creating employment opportunities in those areas," she said in a release.

Health Canada's funding to its First Nations and Inuit Health branch was $2.2 billion at last count (accounting for nearly 52% of Health Canada's budget), which means that an extra $135 million for infrastructure is not an inconsequential amount. To give you a sense of how it compares to the department's other programs, $135 million is around half of a typical year's expenses on Health Products and Food for the entire country.

Photo: Government of Canada

Publishing Rorschach info lands SK doc in hot water


Most complaints against rural Saskatchewan doctors go unremarked upon in the pages of the United States's paper of record, the New York Times. But not the ones just recently filed with the provincial regulatory college against Moose Jaw emergency physician James Heilman.

According to , two psychologists have filed complaints against Dr Heilman because the ten famous Rorschach inkblots and common responses and interpretations of those responses -- images and information which some think should have been kept secret from patients to preserve the test's viability. (It should be noted that the images are in the public domain, and Dr Heilman has done nothing illegal.)

It's a fascinating situation. Can the test really be rendered impotent by the publication of the images online? Is Dr Heilman's decision to expand public understanding unethical because of the consequences some psychologists allege it may have? Are those allegations reasonable? Is this Rorschach matter somehow distinguishable from, say, the publication of DSM diagnostic criteria, particularly the criteria that could conceivably garner patients prescriptions to powerful drugs?

None of these are easy questions to answer, but they may be important ones to address as patients increasingly consult the internet about medical questions, and other privileged professional information makes its way online.

For those who are interested, is the Wikipedia page where the inkblots and information bout them appear. An entire page at Wikipedia is devoted to , and itself some interesting material to think about.