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Thursday, 23 August, 2007

CMA's resolution-mad meeting: the digested read

The CMA's had a busy week, at its .

How busy? Well, they passed 108 resolutions in just three days.

To save you the trouble of having to read through all three days'-worth (see , , , if you really want to), we here at NRM did the hard work and whittled them down to a nice concise Top 15.

A quick glance at some of these issues can give you a good idea of what are likely to be some of the newsworthy issues in Canadian health politics over the next year (aside, of course, from the ). We've also provided some suggestions for further reading, in italics.

Top 15 CMA resolutions of 2007:

  • Home ops The Canadian Medical Association will develop a policy framework and design principles for access to publicly funded medically necessary services in the home and community setting that can become the basis for urging governments to develop a Canada Extended Health Services Act.
  • Pharmacare The Canadian Medical Association urges governments, in consultation with the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and the public, to establish a Catastrophic Prescription Drug Program to be administered through reimbursement of provincial/territorial and private prescription drug plans to ensure that all Canadians have access to medically necessary drug therapies. [PEI's Dr Scott Cameron pushed this issue ahead, and .]
  • Rare diseases The Canadian Medical Association urges the federal government to establish a program for access to expensive drugs for rare diseases that are either part of the Special Access Program or have been approved by Health Canada.
  • Home care The Canadian Medical Association and its provincial/territorial medical associations and affiliates recommend that governments undertake pilot studies to support informal caregivers and long-term care patients, including those that:
    A) explore tax credits and/or direct compensation to compensate informal caregivers for their work;
    B) expand relief programs for informal caregivers that provide guaranteed access to respite services in emergency situations;
    C) expand income and asset testing for residents requiring assisted living and long-term care; and
    D) promote information on advanced directives and representation agreements for patients. [Crowded hospitals mean patients get tossed out earlier than they used to be, so home care is becoming .]
  • Pharmacist prescribing The Canadian Medical Association recommends that pharmacists not be given independent prescribing authority. [Pharmacists were .]
  • Chronic illness The Canadian Medical Association calls on governments to implement organizational and financial incentives for better management of patients with chronic diseases.
  • Pay for performance The Canadian Medical Association will prepare for presentation to General Council in 2008 a research paper that compares health outcomes in physician payment models in the delivery of primary and specialty care. [P4P, ()?]
  • Hospital funding The Canadian Medical Association will work with the federal government to commission a strategic peer-reviewed research competition to assess the international experience with service-based funding for hospital services through the use of case-mix groups or diagnosis-related groups. [For more on this, check out NRM's reporting on and .]
  • Going green The Canadian Medical Association calls on the federal government to provide funding and/or tax incentives to assist the health care sector and health care professionals to adopt more environmentally sensitive practices. [Conservative cuts to enviro-friendly programs last year.]
  • Support for GPs The Canadian Medical Association will study the "gap in generalism" and collaborate with other stakeholders to identify proactive measures that will help to fill the gap and enable generalists to thrive in our health care system. [The FP shortage was one of the reasons .]
  • Drug ads The Canadian Medical Association urges the federal government to strengthen laws that ban direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs to prohibit the "disguised" advertisements that promote drugs without naming them. [This item, underreported in the press lately, may be coming to a head soon. CanWest is suing the government to , according to the Globe and Mail.]
  • IMGs The Canadian Medical Association supports a national standardized assessment protocol to evaluate international medical graduates. [Remember from earlier in 2007? It's not going away anytime soon.]
  • Smoke tax for health The Canadian Medical Association and its provincial/territorial medical associations urge governments to allocate all taxes collected from tobacco products toward health care for Canadians.
  • Butt out in cars The Canadian Medical Association urges all levels of government to implement a Canada-wide ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children. [George Smitherman who smoke with kids in the car.]
  • Whistleblower protection The Canadian Medical Association will develop and advocate strongly for the implementation of policy to safeguard physicians from fear of reprisal and retaliation when speaking out as advocates for their patients and communities. [A pressing matter, considering one Alberta doctor who was this past year for speaking out about cancers caused by oilsands development.]

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