In light of the recent release of the Nova Scotia budget that shows that our annual budget requires 34.1% in federal transfer payments, and with the Alberta United Conservative party and New Brunswick premier announcing that if elected they’ll fight to reduce these transfers to provinces that don’t develop their own resources, the Atlantica Party again calls for a lifting on moratoriums and bans and allowing responsible resource development in Nova Scotia.
Our recent healthcare policy, “Alleviating the Healthcare Crisis Through Positive Incentives”, delivered a way to get more “doctor hours” to help with the failing healthcare system. But it’s not the only option. There are more.
Another way to increase available doctor hours is to allow pharmacists to participate in that same insurance ticket system, described in “Alleviating the Healthcare Crisis Through Positive Incentives”, for medical services that they are capable of delivering, such as immunizations.
“But Bodnar explained that the real issue is that pharmacists are not included as part of the public system so for those patients who want to utilize these services, they will have to pay cash as it's not something covered by health care services in the province.”
Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia CEO Allison Bodnar has an excellent point.
Why not allow pharmacists to bill for these services in the same way that general practitioners do? Is it not our common goal to provide medical services to those who need them? Does it matter exactly “who” provides those services?
We don’t believe that it matters who provides the service as long as they’re competent to do so.
Including pharmacists in the healthcare system for procedures that they are qualified to administer, and that otherwise would be provided by a family doctor, would help alleviate the pressure on family doctors and shorten our lengthy wait queues. This is just common sense.
However, at a minimum, allowing pharmacists to bill through insurance tickets would be one tiny step towards our common goal of improving the health of Nova Scotians.
There can be multiple solutions to problems, and sometimes multiple solutions can complement each other.
So we ask you, can you think of any reasons why pharmacists should not be able to bill for those services, or why they shouldn’t be allowed to accept insurance tickets for payment?
Considering the current situations unfolding in Ottawa and here in Nova Scotia, the Atlantica Party wishes to reiterate our dedication to transparency and accountability in government. The people of Nova Scotia must be empowered to hold government to account.
The following are some ways to strengthen our democracy and make that happen:
- Recall Legislation: Make elected MLAs accountable to the people in their riding
- Public Allowance of Laws/Acts: Because good ideas can come from anywhere
- Strengthen the Lobbying Act: Make lobbying open and transparent and punish those who violate the law
- Allow Free Voting in the Legislature: Allow MLAs to support their ridings and not necessarily their party
- Recorded Voting and Attendance: MLAs are hired by Nova Scotians, and as such, Nova Scotians have a right to know what their employees are doing
- Restoring Power to the People: The offices that ostensibly are tasked with holding government to account should have the power to do so
Would you like to see greater democratic power in the hands of everyday Nova Scotians?
It’s a long journey, but together we can make it down the path to common sense.
About 10% of Nova Scotians don’t have a family doctor. Our healthcare system is in crisis.
This can easily be fixed with a single tweak to the billing system: Allow doctors working overtime hours to bill through insurance tickets at a 2/3rds redemption rate. (That is, patients could use their existing insurance tickets for other medical services to see their family doctor faster in overtime.) In addition to patients seeing doctors faster, this would mean about a 3x earnings compared to regular patients for doctors, and a savings of 1/3rd for insurance companies. This would create clear positive incentives for patients, doctors and insurance companies.
But what about other patients?
Simple. There are more “doctor hours” available to treat patients. More doctor hours means better healthcare. Better healthcare means improved health outcomes. Improved health outcomes means less stress on the healthcare system, which means more doctor hours.
Patients with insurance could see doctors in overtime hours, which would reduce the patient load in doctors’ regular hours. Those patients would receive faster access when needed, and this would lead to better health outcomes for them.
With more regular doctor hours available, queue times would be shortened for everyone. Instead of waiting 3 weeks, a patient may need to only wait 2 weeks.
But the benefits of more doctor hours would cascade throughout the healthcare system.
If a patient can see their doctor quickly, they can avoid hospital visits for an “aspirin and bandage”, i.e. treatment that should be provided by family doctors in their offices.
Better health outcomes would also mean fewer hospitalizations. This would save money and free up further doctor hours to treat patients.
Summary: More doctor hours means improved health which means less requirement by people to see doctors which means more doctor hours to alleviate the current healthcare system crisis.
We could list many more benefits here, but you can read the Atlantica Party’s Alleviating the Healthcare Crisis Through Positive Incentives policy paper for more information.
Halifax, NS: It is the position of the Atlantica Party that the sale of alcohol and cannabis should be the role of the private market. Provinces like Alberta and Quebec have successfully proven that the government does not need to be involved in retail.