Don’t read this, it’s none of your business

In comments on the preceding article, a subject emerged that was apart from the beginning one but is worthy of separate examination. This is another iceberg type situation: much does not meet the eye and we can expect it will melt away with little trace and be replaced by another with similar attributes.

Why would the British Columbia Ambulance Service/PHSA withhold the results of a costly legal investigation into the conduct of two very public figures: their CEO and COO, who have just resigned under a shroud of “mystery” after 3 months on paid administrative leave? This whole situation is highly unprecedented.

Apparently, there is at least one other person involved. The issue of “privacy” has been used by government spokespersons as the reason for this withholding of information to the general public.

Alex G Tsakumis revealed the troublesome details of this “situation” before his blog went down. I doubt there is one paramedic who doesn’t know the “intimate” details.

Carl Roy, newly appointed President and CEO of the Provincial Health Services Authority hired and oversaw both Michael McDougall CEO,and Les Fisher COO. In paramedic circles, Fisher’s lack of management experience was seen as a glaring deficit. Roy’s seeming lack of due diligence empowered these senior managers to conduct their “private business” with questionable supervision, as witnessed in the separate issue of AG’s Doyle’s audit which revealed a shocking lack of quality control, finances, and outcomes re the Air Ambulance.

Marcella Bernardo of CKNW has called this “mystery” a scandal:

The chair of the Provincial Health Services Authority says he can’t disclose exactly why Les Fisher and Michael MacDougall quit, but Wynne Powell admits the investigation into questionable behaviour continues.

He says, “Well, the investigation is closed in regards to those two individuals, but the aftermath of the investigation is still under way…. It was a personnel matter that individuals had a choice in how they acted.”

My response to the comment:

There are more scandals hidden in the province’s administration of health services. The government action on Therapeutics Initiave was not fully explained nor was the mistreatment of numerous health researchers who were suspended or terminated.

Pharmacare discovered it and large private insurers like Pacific Blue Cross could save millions by refusing coverage to numerous medicines prescribed by doctors, unless the province granted “special authorities” on a case by case basis. To get one of those, a doctor must negotiate with Victoria and many requests are turned down. Doctors may charge patients for making requests for special authorities or, more likely, they’ll turn to second, third or fourth drug choices that are covered or the patient pays 100% of cost, despite having prescription insurance.

This is in addition to the name brand vs generic issue. Insurance companies are relieved of millions while patients pay extra without any reduction in premiums. At the root of these situation, as it is with air ambulance service, is the Liberal policy of pandering to a handful of companies that contribute big dollars to politicians and expect large payments from the public treasury in return.

Categories: Accountability, Health

8 replies »

  1. Yes. And, funny how often the London Drugs connection pops up…in the air and…everywhere!

    Les Fisher, BCAS's hand-selected, almost freshly-untried-golden-boy-manager-Dauphin unceremoniously terminated several influential change-maker managers, to turn his attention to renewal/deck chair charades, and then what do you know? the Royal Roads “leadership” guru found a glaring vacuum of brain-power.

    So what to do? Epiphany, cough — so, using brilliant leadership techniques, he learned at numerous “enrichment” tax-payer bank-rolled group massager pow-wows, he miraculously filled the much-mourned and empty seats with suitable friendly co-crony whanabees, and a bonus extra-friendly non-non-exclusive ambitious groupie. So, how did that work for you Leslie?

    Muted paramedics find their voice here:

    …If you don't want to get really, really depressed about what the mental state of the first responder you might need is, then don't read the pages for previous years.


  2. My Doctor has sent in authorization for one of my prescriptions, more than once. My plan keeps denying, they have ever received that authorization.

    However, BC is foul with corruption and nothing is ever done about the BC Liberals corruption, lies and deceit. When have they ever?


  3. If government denies an authorization for a drug, they do it for financial, not medical reasons. Can't do the latter becuase they never see the patient.

    Also, they don't notify the patient nor the insurer if they do issue a special authority. A person has to request a copy be mailed to them so he/she can mail it to the insurer. This is necessary despite everyone but the patient having access to individual pharmacy records within the government system.

    Each step in dealing with special authority may take weeks. The system is designed to cause maximum inconvenience because they find they save money doing it this way. Some user give up in frustration and either don't get the medicine or pay for it outside their insurance “coverage.”

    I recently reviewed Pacific Blue Cross statements sent to older friends who are living on fixed income. They couldn't understand why a number of prescription reimbursements had been refused in the last year and didn't know what if anything to do. Those same drugs had been covered previously and they made no change to their coverage nor had they received premium reductions.

    In 2013, this couple was out of pocket hundreds for necessary pharmaceuticals, in addition to the steady increases in other healthcare costs they've faced.

    It's not all bad news though. In January, they each got a 55 cent increase in Old Age Pension.


  4. Hydro rate hike #1 tomorrow. We all get to pay a lot more for electricity. IPPs will get their $50 billion, they don't care.


  5. Ambulance mismanagement and non-consultation in the news again: fire-fighters left out of the loop with respect to changes in emergency response procedures.

    This is nothing new for the great diva deciders: COO Les Fisher (now resigned), Peter Thorpe former Executive Director Metro Ambulance Services (BCAS Vancouver) now Acting BCAS COO, and Carl Roy President and CEO of the Provincial Health Authority who have a history of managing in a power-bubble.

    CKNW April 2 Bill Good Show:


    “Changes made to the BC Ambulance service last year have resulted in major stretches to the wait times for British Columbians in emergencies. That’s what Vancouver Fire Chief John McKearney told city council yesterday. He says changes were made without consulting Fire and Rescue…and that means emergency calls are getting de-prioritized and wait times are rising significantly. His fire crews, he said, are sometimes with patients in distress for up to 2 hours before an ambulance arrives that can transport them. What changes were made to our ambulance service? If you call 9-1-1, how long will it take for them to get to you? Is this overloading our firefighters?”


  6. BCAS union President Bronwyn Barter says that slow ambulance response times, both in metro and rural areas in BC, are an issue with respect to patient care. More ambulances are needed, but that costs money doesn't it?

    Funny how a town with no people or roads like the phantom town:Jumbo Resort is gifted a million dollars a year for administration etc. from the BC government.


  7. Do others find it passing strange that today's revelations about bad behavior by some in the ranks of BC police is subject to public scrutiny, yet the deposed prima donnas who led BCAS are allowed to take their secrets with them to their next port of call?


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