Our provincial government is no doubt having second thoughts regarding new regulations that are allowing health foundations to directly contact former hospital patients by using snippets of information received from the patients' confidential health records.
Saying that the patients still have an opt out alternative is not good enough.
The fact that foundations can pick up names and addresses from medical files is not a great situation. It is the door opener act that should not be allowed. Once the foundations gain access, then the precedent is set for other health-related agencies such as the cancer, diabetes, heart and stroke and mental health to demand access to the information. All well intentioned, but still invasive.
Giving the patient the opt in choice would serve the situation well enough. And we are all well aware that any and all health foundations are very easy to access in all communities.
In fact, we wonder if some of these foundations might be a little embarrassed to use this "guilt trip" method of soliciting funds? The thinking among the patients could easily turn to the fact that they were being approached shortly after they found themselves in a vulnerable situation and what are the implications if they don't donate?
So we prefer the opt in choice, the one that suggests to patients that if they are grateful for the care they received, the local hospital foundation is easy to find and wonderfully accessible.
We understand government's desire to see the foundations gain even more access to patients post-care since it allows them to off-load their financial responsibilities to health care. We pay taxes for health care. We shouldn't be subjected to having to look at donations as being guilt trips.
We just hope that pride doesn't get in the way of government giving this subject a second look.
Pride did not get in their way when they were asked to reconsider a minor Dutch elm monitoring program. They went back, restored a modicum of financial support that will allow the Dutch elm fight to stay on track.
On the other side of the minor financial support spectrum though, it appeared as if false pride got in the way for a reconsideration of funding for the Saskatchewan Community Network (SCN) television system. It was a network that was uniquely ours and one that fed a burgeoning industry that is now in danger of falling into oblivion with the first signs of global reductions.
So that suggests we don't know exactly where our government stands on the health foundation issue. We'll just have to wait and see if they're going to follow the votes or the pocket book.