And it’s impossible not to imagine the many better ways that money could have been spent on.
Case in point:
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care started developing provincial technology infrastructure in 2002 toward the creation of the Smart Systems for Health Agency. That was later amalgamated into eHealth Ontario in 2008.
Its mandate — among other things — was to implement a data network to make patient info quickly and securely available to health-care providers.
No need to bore you with all the details here.
Suffice to say the efforts to create a digital record of an individual’s health and health-care history has been time-consuming and mind-bogglingly expensive.
While some individual systems have been developed to collect and provide some patient health information, those do not have complete information — there is still no integrated system that allows easy and timely access to all this information.
This means it is still not possible for health-care professionals to access complete health information about a patient regardless of where in Ontario the patient received health care.
According to the AG, to date it’s cost taxpayers about $8 billion and still isn’t complete.
Seriously, when you think about the number of people who are turned away because OHIP doesn’t cover their treatment, it’s gut wrenching.
There are so many in need, and money is being thrown about.
Worse yet, there’s no idea of how much more public funding might be needed. According to the AG report, that’s in part because there’s no current plan to help determine future costs.
Keep in mind that’s just one of the best examples, but sadly not the only one.
While nowhere near as startling, there’s a sad taxpayer story when you read about the attempts to implement the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s modernization plan, which was to take place over six years ending March 31, 2018.
Turned out municipalities, Ottawa included, weren’t as keen on some elements of the plan as the province was.
No surprise there.
Some balked, turning the province down outright, and some — like Ottawa — waffled for a while before rejecting the province’s invitation for a more grandiose casino in their city.
But between the invite and the city’s final decision, the lives of Ottawans were absolutely disrupted.
That’s not right. In fact, it’s just so wrong and there’s no indication the province gets that.
Just ask Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who used his time and money coming up with a plan for a brand new casino, only to be shut out.
Look no further than the strong local horse racing industry, which was threatened by this idea of scaling back on their business.
In September, the OLG cancelled the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the lottery network in favour of a revised modernization approach.
Money wasted, lives disrupted, again.
The new plan is suggesting the OLG will increase its lottery revenues.
That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Does anyone out there believe that will be the end result of this new venture?
According to the AG’s report, as of September 2016, OLG’s latest projection of net profit to the province for the six-year period from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2018, was an estimated $11.8 billion, down $3.5 billion from the 2012 projection of $15.3 billion.
Yes, that’s $3.5 billion.
Easy come. Easy go.
Why can’t politicians of all stripes and levels of service remember this money they’re frittering away isn’t theirs?
And when they come up with some new grandiose plan, why don’t they think twice about the lives and livelihoods they are disrupting?
Susan Sherring of the Ottawa Sun
November 30th 2016